The Fitz Roy chain from Cerro Torre.Photo courtesy of Bean Bowers.
By the end of February 2007, if you had asked any of the international “talent” in Argentinean Patagonia what kind of season it was, they would have said “not so good” or “very unstable” or “too windy and cold.” But two young Swiss climbers, Cyrille Berthod (brother of the crack climbing phenom Didier Berthod) and Simon Anthamatten, both 23, came out of the season with eight major summits and two minor peaks.
The two young Swiss climbed every peak in the Fitz Roy chain: De L’S, Saint Exupery, Innominata, Poincenot, Fitz Roy, Mermoz, and Guillaumet. They also made quick work of the Compressor Route (Southeast Ridge) on Cerro Torre, climbing it in just 11 hours from the high camp Niponino on a day when most climbers did not bother leaving town.
Not only did they dispatch a slew of summits, the two climbed three of them via challenging routes: Saint Exupery via the “Super-Trek” variation (5.11) to Claro De Luna (5.10c); Innominata via Corallo (5.12 A0); and Mermoz via the Red Pillar (5.12a). After summitting Fitz Roy via the often-done Franco-ArgentineanRoute, they later went on to try the peak via the Kearney-Knight Variation (5.11) to the Casarotto Pillar. The team reached the top of the pillar in a raging storm and had to descend. Anthamatten and Berthod also did the two minor summits of El Mocho and Torre de la Media Luna, near the base of Cerro Torre.
The two were joined by Simon Anthamatten’s brother, Samuel, for the climbs of Cerro Torre, El Mocho, De l’S, Saint Exupery, and Innominata. They climbed with Ivan Tresch on both the Franco-Argentinean and Casarotto rotues on Fitz Roy.
More impressive than their summits during their first Patagonian season was the climbers’ humble attitude and their clear enjoyment of being in the mountains and covering terrain. The two took no part in the heated debate this season over the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre and its many bolts, but after their climb they said the bolts degraded the grandeur and demanding nature of the peak. They added that they never would have summited on such a marginal day if not for all the bolts, and that they didn’t take nearly as much pleasure in reaching the top of Cerro Torre as they did on other summits in the area.
Sources: Simon Anthamatten, Cyrille Berthod