American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentine-Chilean Patagonia, Cerro Torre

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Cerro Torre. Carlos Buhler and I set up Base Camp in the forest below Cerro Torre at the beginning of December. The weather in October and early November had been phenomenal and already over 20 persons had summited in 1987. With only a month in Patagonia, we decided on the Maestri bolt route. After an unsuccessful attempt, Carlos and I set out on December 16. We broke trail through deep, fresh snow up the southwest glacier to the five or six pitches below the col. We reached the col by late afternoon and bivouacked in an ice cave. The next morning we began to climb at three A.M. by headlamp. The climb is mostly ice and rock of only moderate difficulty with abundant fixed protection. The snow of the previous days still plastered the ridge and at times made route-finding difficult. The bolt ladders dominate the middle of the route. To save time, we moved together on those sections. By one A.M. we were one pitch below the summit on Maestri’s compressor. Carlos’ headlamp had died and we were forced to stop until daylight. At six A.M. we stood on the very summit. Later that day, three more teams also made it. Descent to the ice cave took ten hours as high winds on the first rappels played havoc with our ropes.

Mark Richey

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