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South America, Argentine—Chilean Patagonia, Punta Herron Attempt via West Buttress

Punta Herron Attempt via West Buttress. Andrea Sarchi, Odoardo Ravizza and I arrived at Base Camp at Piedra del Fraile on October 25. Despite bad weather between October 28 and November 2, we managed two carries to the Paso Marconi at 1500 meters. When the weather cleared on November 5, we made a third carry to the pass and headed south with sleds for 13 kilometers along the Southern Patagonian Icecap to just below the west buttress of Punta Herron, a northern foresummit of Torre Egger. There we dug a snow cave, which served as Advance Base. On November 8, we climbed 150 meters of difficult rock, fixed rope and descended. On the 9th, we climbed another 50 meters higher but could find no bivouac site. We did discover the pack of Paolo Crippa and Eliana Zordo, who were killed on this route in 1990 and to whom we dedicated our climb. On November 10, we climbed three more pitches to reach the large ledge that cuts across the buttress. After climbing a little higher, we returned to bivouac on the ledge, where we could stretch out and eat amply. We spent a fatiguing day on the 11th, ascending 200 meters. Rather than to descend, we spent a miserably cold bivouac there. On November 12, we climbed three more pitches to reach the top of the buttress and a col, which gave access to the final north face of Punta Herron. However, fatigue and uncertain weather suggested caution and we gave up the climb and descended.

Maurizio Giarolli, Club Alpino Italiano