South America, Argentine and Chilean Patagonia, Paine Towers, Torre Sur and New Route on the Torre Central, South Face

Publication Year: 1992.

Paine Towers, Torre Sur and New Route on the Torre Central, South Face. On October 26, José Carlos Tamayo and I moved into the Italian Base Camp at 600 meters. Our first objective was to climb the Torre Sur by the north ridge, the first-ascent route. In the next three days we carried supplies to the base and fixed rope on the first 300 meters. On November 1, we jümared the ropes and climbed the remaining 700 meters to the summit, arriving in bad weather (V+ or VI, 21 pitches). We descended in 22 rappels. The rock for the first 300 meters was rotten but was excellent above. We then joined forces with two Californians, Eric Brand and Steve Hayward, to attempt a new route, the south face of the Torre Central. We made a camp at the base of the face and began fixing rope. After three days, we were joined by Argentine Sebastián de la Cruz. The route started in an eight-pitch comer system on the grey rock. The climbing here averaged V+ (5.9) with sections of VI (5.10 b/c) and A2. The free climbing on this initial section was often loose and difficult to protect. At the beginning of the red rock the route ascended a continuously overhanging, 50-meter, thin crack (A3). We continued up steep consistently difficult climbing (V+) for ten more pitches before the angle backed off. After 20 days, the route was ready for the summit attack. On November 24, all five of us jümared 850 meters and climbed 200 meters to reach the summit. We descended the same route and removed all fixed rope. The first part is on mediocre rock, but the upper rock is excellent. The upper part ascends marvelous walls and overhangs. We called the route “The Whale of the Winds.”

Jon Lazkano, Guipuzcoa, Spain