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South America, Patagonia, Punta Negra, Tridente and Cerro Norte del Paine

Punta Negra, Tridente and Cerro Norte del Paine.lan Burgess, David Lister, David Tyson and I arrived on September 30 for a six-week stay in the Paine region. We set up Base Camp high in the Río de los Perros valley. On October 19, we all made the first ascent of Punta Negra (2100 meters, 6890 feet), a sedimentary rock peak which lies north of Catedral and southwest of the Mellizos. Starting from the Olguin Glacier, the route followed the northwest face via two long snow gullies onto the hanging glacier. We then climbed a steep mixed gully to a notch in the north ridge, which provided six pitches of very loose rock to the summit. This was our second attempt on the peak. The ascent took nearly 24 hours non-stop. On October 27, from a high camp under the north face of the Escudo, we followed two easy snow gullies and a short rock step to ascend the minor peak, Tridente (1900 meters, 6234 feet) via the apparently previously unclimbed northwest face. This was a fantastic viewpoint for the Towers of Paine. On November 7, we made an ascent of the North Tower of Paine by the normal Col Bich route. We took 22 hours, starting from the Japanese camp in the Río Ascensio valley. We had problems with fresh snow and the cold. The fixed rope on the 100 meters of mixed ground leading to the Col Bich was removed that same day by its American owners.

Stephen Hillen, Loughborough University, England