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South America, Tierra del Fuego, Chilean Patagonia, Escudo, North Face, Bukowski Route

Escudo, North Face, Bukowski Route. Our original goal was the striking north pillar of Escudo. In 30 days, Jack Lewis and I managed only seven pitches on the pillar because of continual bad weather. High winds cut through one of our fixed ropes and damaged a second fixed rope. On February 21, 1999, we abandoned the north pillar with the hopes of getting one climbing day in before we had to leave.

On March 1, we climbed a new route in 14 hours round-trip on the north face of Cerro Escudo. Our route ascended 200 feet of low-angle rock slabs at the base of the north face to a large ledge. This ledge was followed up and left on scree and snow to the base of an ice couloir, which we called the Bukowski Couloir. This was climbed for 1,000 feet to the northeast ridge. A 60-foot rock pitch (5.10a A0) put us on easy ground. Scree and snow climbing up the ridge took us to the upper ice slopes. Ice climbing over and around black sedimentary rock towers on the upper ridge took us to the summit. We are sure the Bukowski Couloir (IV 5.10a AI2) is the easiest route up Cerro Escudo. The upper mountain was socked in, but winds were light with occasional snow showers.

Tom Bauman