Patagonia’s Torre Traverse in Under 21 Hours

Haley and  Honnold Complete a Second Ascent for the Ages

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Diagram prepared by Rolando Garibotti after the original Torre Traverse in 2008, which took four days. Photo by Rolando Garibotti.

Colin Haley and Alex Honnold have completed the Torre Traverse—the north-to-south traverse of Cerro Standhardt, Punta Herron, Torre Egger, and Cerro Torre—in 20 hours 40 minutes. The first and only other complete Torre Traverse was in 2008, when Haley and Rolando Garibotti did it over four days. The Haley-Honnold traverse was timed from the col just north of Cerro Standhardt to the summit of Cerro Torre. From there, they rappelled the southeast ridge (the old Compressor Route) to return to the glacier. Adding in the approach and descent, their camp-to-camp time was about 32 hours.

Writing at Patagonia Vertical’s Facebook page, which broke the news, Garibotti said, “Oh boy, how times change. This crazy sport moves forward in giant leaps…. Yes, the Torre Traverse got climbed in a day…. Seems like yesterday when it was a quixotic project that would never see the light of day.”

The Torre Traverse was dreamed up by several Italian climbers, including the Patagonian giant Ermanno Salvaterra, who tried it several times in the late 1980s and early ’90s. In 2005, German Thomas Huber and Swiss Andi Schnarf traversed from Standhardt to Egger, unlocking part of the puzzle, and later that same year Garibotti and Italians Salvaterra and Alessandro Beltrami placed the final piece by climbing Arca de los Vientos, a new route up the north face of Cerro Torre, the last leg of the traverse.

Last season, Haley and Honnold attempted and nearly completed the one-day Torre Traverse, climbing all the way to a stance two pitches below the top of Cerro Torre in just 22 hours. Here, a terrible storm forced them to a halt and eventually into a painful retreat down the west face of Cerro Torre and across the ice cap. By the time they made it back to town they had been going 53 hours straight with no stove or bivy gear.

Last January, Haley and the Canadian Marc-André Leclerc completed the “reverse traverse” of the Torre group, climbing the west face of Cerro Torre, rappelling the huge north face, and then continuing over the other three towers from south to north. Like the original Torre Traverse, this route, which they named La Travesía del Osa Buda, took about four days.

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