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South America, Chilean Patagonia, Peineta, Duraznos para Don Quijote, and First Canadian Ascent

Peineta, Duraznos para Don Quijote, and First Canadian Ascent. In early January, 1997, Guy Edwards and I (Canada) traveled to the Paine region of Chile for two months of some southern summer. On January 17, the skies cleared for long enough to lure us onto Peineta for a probable new route on its southwest buttress that we dubbed Duraznos para Don Quijote (IV 5.10+ C1 ). The ten-pitch route was established in one day with no fixed rope or bolts and only three points of clean aid. After another week of the most hideous weather I’ve ever witnessed, the barometer began to rise, so we escaped our fetid tent and climbed the Monzino route (IV 5.10) on the North Tower of Paine for the first Canadian ascent of the mountain.

Another three weeks passed with no climbing at all. Guy, deciding that he’d rather check out the beaches of Chile and their abundant wildlife than spend quality time with me at base camp, left all his gear to Steve Normandin, a friend from Canmore who was trekking. Steve and I immediately took advantage of some mediocre weather and began fixing on a new line we scoped out on the west face of the north summit of the North Tower. With five pitches fixed and only about four remaining to the summit, we received a perfect day after a week of gnarly storms only to find most of our rope shredded by the wind. With no gear or time remaining, we called it quits and descended to town for a long-awaited fiesta.

Sean Isaac, unaffiliated

*The climbers were recipients of the John Lauchlan Award