Cerro Torre, West Face, Complete Ascent. Only one ascent was accomplished in the ‘96-’97 season; it was in fact the first complete ascent of the mountain since 1991. Spaniards Simon Elias and Josu Merino climbed the Ferrari route on the west face, summiting on February 18 after spending many hours climbing the 60-foot summit mushroom, which turned out to be the hardest, most dangerous pitch on the route. Parties in the past few years have avoided climbing this last difficult pitch, considering it not important or impossible.*
*The “summit” referred to here means the top of the headwall but below the summit mushroom. See below.
*Several years ago a film crew landed on the highest point of the Torre and dug a huge snow cave, complete with a door that closed off the entrance, in the top of the summit mushroom to accommodate the film crew. Subsequently, the mushroom bulged out, and now overhangs on all four sides, making for a difficult—though obviously possible—summit.