American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chile, Mellizo Oeste or Steffan, Patagonia

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1965

Mellizo Oeste or Steffan, Patagonia. Jure and Peter Skvarca have just made the first ascent of the Mellizo Oeste (West Twin), a lovely rock and ice climb of the Paine Principal type but on a larger scale. The third member of this expedition of the Club Andino Eslovena (Buenos Aires) was Gregor Ahcin. They had to cross Lago San Martín (Lago O’Higgins), and this proved difficult; it was ten days before they managed to cross the lake on January 13, 1965 in the only available boat and ascend the western arm to its head. After a rapid ascent of the Huemul Glacier they reached the west face of the Mellizo Oeste (10,027 feet). On January 16 the rope of three reached within 650 feet of the summit but found no way up the vertical and overhanging walls of the final tooth. They decided to attack the east face, which was much higher and also very difficult. Bad weather — this was one of the worst summers ever in the South — made the approach difficult. On January 28 the Skvarca brothers completed the climb, keeping to the northern side of the east face. By the time they reached the top, they were enveloped in clouds and storm. They descended in darkness and storm through new snow. The total climb up and down took 26 hours. A geographical note: The sixth Patagonian Expedition of the Club Andino Bariloche (Joaquín Hardt, Jean Gertis and Ernesto Gebauer) in the winter of 1962 found that de Agostini had committed an error in the naming of the Mellizos (Twins) and that the two mountains he named have little relation to each other. The Chilean maps have called another pair of twin peaks to the northeast Mellizo Norte and de Agostini’s peaks Mellizo Sur. Hardt proposed that the names of German-Chilean explorers be given to de Agostini’s "Twins,” Steffan to the one to the west and Krüger to the lower peak on the east. The peak ascended was de Agostini’s West Twin or Steffan.

Vojslav Arko, Club Andino Bariloche

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.