French-Spanish Team Climbs Striking Patagonian Ridge
12/13/12 - According to Pataclimb.com, a five-person team has completed "the most beautifully striking unclimbed line in all of Patagonia": the towering southeast ridge of Cerro Murallón. French climbers Lise Billon, François Poncet, Jeremy Stagnetto, and Jerome Sullivan, along with Spaniard Pedro Diaz, climbed the Pillar del Sol Naciente (1,000m, 7b A1 WI6 M6) over nine days, using portaledges for bivouacs.
Rolando Garibotti, who runs Pataclimb and just published a comprehensive guidebook to the famous peaks above El Chaltén, said the new line is "remote, completely independent, and darn hard." The south and east sides of Murallón have seen various attempts, dating back to a 1974 effort by the great Argentinean climbers Jose Luis Fonrouge and Rafael Juarez. Garibotti and Silvo Karo approached Murallón hoping to attempt this route in 2003.
Though it stands only about 9,000 feet above sea level, Cerro Murallón is defended by steep walls on most sides and by its isolated position on the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap, exposed to massive storms. The peak was first climbed in 1984 by an Italian team led by Casimiro Ferrari, on his fourth attempt.
Dates of ascent: November-December 2012
Sources: pataclimb.com, American Alpine Journal