Argentine Patagonia, Various Ascents. On December 31, 1997, thanks to a three-day spell of good weather, Spanish climbers Manel de la Matta and Hugo Biarge climbed Cerro Torre via the Maesti route. They started from a snow cave in the glacier at the base of Cerro Torre and Torre Egger at 2 a.m on the 30th. That same day they bivouacked at the ice towers, and the next day they completed the climb, reaching the summit at 4 p.m. on the 31st. They didn’t climb the final ice mushroom because of approaching bad weather.
Also on December 30, following the steps of Manel and Hugo, two parties (Nacho Orviz, Francisco Blanco and Mikel Berasaluce from Spain, and Italians Giovanni Ongaro and Lorenzo Lanfranchione) reached the Col of Patience. They fixed some 100 meters of rope that evening. On the 31st, running before the storm, they managed to reach the summit a little before midnight. Caught by the storm on the descent, they bivouacked for two days at the Col of Patience before finally reaching base camp.
The very fine route Claro de Luna on Saint Exupéry was climbed by the Italians Giovanni Ongaro and Lorenzo Lanfranchione in early season. This pair also climbed El Mocho via the Piola-Anker route.
Another good summit, Aguja Bífida, was climbed on January 31 to February 1 by Agustín Rodríguez from Spain and Andorran-based Belgian Fran Van Herreweghe. Van Herreweghe also climbed Cerro Tore via the Maestri route with Spanish big waller Cristobal Díaz in mid-December.
Manel de la Matta, Spain