Solo on Cerro Torre

By Chris Van Leuven ,

Aaron Martin had a remarkable season in Patagonia, leading an ascent of Fitz Roy and making a rare solo ascent of Cerro Torre. Martin climbed Fitz Roy with fellow American Jacob Schmitz. The two had attempted the Casarotto Route but bailed from the top of the Goretta Pillar in the middle of their second day, after a cold, exhausting bivy. They returned later to make the second ascent of the Canadian Route, a new line that starts left of the Franco-Argentine Route on Fitz Roy's south side. They made the summit in a 36-hour round trip from basecamp, with Martin leading and short-fixing every pitch.

Martin then made the probable fourth solo ascent of Cerro Torre, via the Compressor Route. He roped up only for the headwall aid pitch, finding scary mixed climbing in the dark low on the route with crampons over his Mountain Masters. He climbed within a body length or so of the true summit, finding slushy snow conditions on top. Martin left the Norwegian advanced basecamp below Cerro Torre at 2:30 a.m., reached the top around 1 p.m., and returned to basecamp about 16 hours after leaving.

Jacob Schmitz (left) and Aaron Martin on top of Fitz Roy. Photo courtesy of Aaron Martin.

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