News Link: The Belgian-American team of Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva, and Ben Ditto have completed a 13-day, all-free ascent of the South African Route on the east face of the Central Tower of Paine in Chilean Patagonia. This is the first free climb on the 4,000-foot-plus east face.
The South African Route was established during the winter of 1973-74 at 5.10 A4, and is believed to have been repeated only once before.
In 2006, Favresse and his brother Olivier, along with Villanueva and Mike Lecomte, repeated Riders on the Storm (VI 5.12d A3, 36 pitches) on the east face of the Central Tower, free-climbing all but three pitches.
See a brief account of the free climb and more photos at www.xpedition.be.
Dates of Ascent: January-February 2009
Sources:Xpedition.be, American Alpine Journal