Wild Times in Patagonia

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The husband-and-wife team of Dean Potter and Steph Davis climbed several peaks in Patagonia, including a one-day ascent of the mighty Torre Egger, and Potter made the first BASE jump in the range. Potter had hoped to jump from the summit of Cerro Torre earlier but could not find the right combination of conditions. When Davis arrived, the two climbed Cerro Stanhardt via a possible new route adjacent to Motivaciones Mixtas on Stanhardt’s East Face. They then attempted Torre Egger but were driven back just half a rope length from the top by a summit ice mushroom that was disintegrating in exceptionally warm temperatures. (This may have been the same warm spell in which Bean Bowers, attempting Torre Egger with Jonny Copp and Josh Wharton via a different route, took a 90-foot whipper from Egger’s overhanging snow mushroom and ripped out Copp’s belay anchor; fortunately his other pro held and he suffered only minor injuries. Wharton and Copp went on to make a stylish, 51-hour traverse of three Patagonian needles: St. Exupery, Innominata, and Poincenot.) Once colder conditions returned, Potter and Davis raced up Titanic on Torre Egger’s east side—their 23-hour ascent may have been the peak’s first one-day climb and is the first time a woman has reached Torre Egger’s summit. Still keen to try BASE jumping in Patagonia, Potter climbed El Mocho’s East Pillar with Davis via the Bridwell-Staszewski Route and jumped off, reaching the glacier in one minute and leaving his wife to rappel alone.

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