AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

South America, Argentine and Chilean Patagonia, Fortaleza, Paine Group

Fortaleza, Paine Group. The Fortaleza (Fortress) is a gigantic granite tower crowned by black sedimentary rock covered with ice and snow mushrooms. It was first climbed after a struggle with wind and technical difficulties in 1968 by a British party. (See A.A.J., 1968, pp. 206-7.) In the following years various attempts were unsuccessful, including the one by climbers from the University of Chile in 1978, which came to within 100 meters of completing the climb. (A.A.J., 1979, p. 256.) On January 3 another University of Chile group flew to Punta Arenas and on the 5th drove by military truck to the Paine Towers National Park. Helped by park rangers, we moved with pack animals to the Valle del Francés, where we established Base Camp on January 11. Thirteen long days followed, interrupted by wind and snow storms, while we climbed rock walls and fixed rope. High Camp was established at 6000 feet on January 26. Rope was fixed above to within 650 feet of the top. On February 7 Eduardo Parvex and I moved up to High Camp. We set out with headlamps at midnight on the 8th. Above the fixed rope we had 350 feet of very difficult direct-aid climbing. We reached the summit (c. 2775 meters, 9103 feet) as night came on and in a storm. The descent took all the rest of the night. The other members were Claudio Gálvez, Juan Pardo, Dagoberto Peña, Iván Sepúlveda, Zady Novoa, Esteban Bravo and Patricio Keller.

Gastón Oyarzún, University of Chile