South America, Chile, Paine Group, Patagonia
Paine Group, Patagonia. An Italian expedition, sponsored by Padre Alberto de Agostini and led by Dr. Guido Monzino, made several first ascents of severe difficulty in the Paine group. Although plagued by the bad weather typical of the region, on December 27, 1957 after 27 days in the field Jean Bich, Leonardo Carrel, Camillo Pelissier, Toni Gobi and Pierino Pession reached the summit of the highest peak of the Paine group (10,007 feet). The Italians believed that the Argentines, Sonntag and Jereb (see above), had turned back considerably below 100 feet from the summit and stated that there were severe climbing difficulties above the Argentine high point. The Italians climbed 6½-hours beyond the point where they found the last Argentine pitons. On January 17, 1958 Jean Bich, Pierino Pession, Camillo Pelissier, and Leonardo Carrel, supported by Toni Gobbi and Gino Barmasse, made the difficult first ascent of the incredibly sheer spire of the Torre Norte del Paine (North Paine Tower) (about 8500 feet). The first 250 feet of the south ridge, which took them four hours, were of extraordinary difficulty, being perpendicular, nearly without holds and with hardly a crack in the rock.