North Tower, Spirito Libero. On February 2, 1998, the team of Fabio Leoni and Elio Orlandi from Trento, Italy, put up a new route on the north spur of the North Tower of Paine. The route, Spirito Libero (V 5.11a, 500m), was put up in alpine style. They climbed the 12-pitch route in 18 hours, leaving their bivouac at 7 a.m., summiting at 8 p.m. and returning to their bivouac at 1 a.m. Fabio and Elio took advantage of the only day of good weather in one month at base camp. El Niño conditioned the expedition of the two Trento climbers as it did the majority of the teams in the Towers of Paine National Park. The wave of bad weather, with torrential rain, was particularly bad in the middle of February.
Mario Maica, Italy