Argentine Patagonia, Various Activity. Between October 28, 1999, and January 23, 2000, Laurence Monnoyeur and I had 18 days of good weather overall. From October 28-November 11, we traveled on the Hielo Continental from Marconi Pass to the Refugio Fuerza Aerea and back with skis, pulkas and sails (these were very, very good for heading south). On October 31, we attempted a line of ice on the west face of Cerro Marconi Sur. It started with a long snow couloir, then two pitches of thin ice (max. 85°). The third pitch was too difficult (funky, with rime and ice), and the sun began to warm up the face a bit too much: large chunks of rime detached themselves from it. I had broken two teeth a few hours earlier while crossing a bergschrund. We stopped and returned to the tent in three rappels. On November 6, we climbed Cerro Cristal (2105m) and on the 7th, Cerro Campana (2459m) by the route of first ascent. It was a very beautiful summit, with a 70-meter pitch (90°) in the summit mushrooms. We descended in two rappels, then skied to the Fuerza Aerea. We then spent three windy days horizontal in the tent at the foot of the Cerro Murallon, and on November 17-18 hiked south toward the Refugio Pascal and bivouacked in the forest (how good it was to see the green!).
From November 20-24, we made an attempt at a new route on the east face of Cerro Murallon (2656m). There was a 50-degree snow shoulder, then mixed terrain (90° A2 M5). The wind blew too strongly. There must have remained just 350 meters to the top of the wall. We made seven rappels in the eye of the cyclone! It was a marginal and trying descent: we left ropes, pitons and Friends and, drenched and numb with cold, were happy to find our tent that same evening.
On November 28, we made an ascent of Cerro Mariano Moreno (3536m) from the Nunatak Witte via the route of first ascent. We skied to the summit and had a beautiful descent. On December 4 and 5, we attempted a new route on the north face of the Domo Blanco (2315m) following the pillar west of the obvious serac. The beginning of the route (250m) faces west. We climbed 150 meters of terrain at A2 6a (90 percent aid), and then stumbled: there was too much aid, too much ice in the cracks and we were too slow!
On December 21, I climbed Aguja de l’S from the Polacos Camp with Dean Potter and Rolo Garibotti. Laurence climbed it with Stephanie Davis. On January 8, Laurence climbed Cerro Solo (2248m) with Tommy Bonapace. On January 9, with Bruce Miller (U.S.), I climbed a 120-meter “drip” on Cerro Solo (“Las Lagrimas del Solo”). We encountered an ice waterfall (90°, then 75°, then 80°) at the summit ridge/band of Cerro Solo on the east face. (Two waterfalls form on a steep, black rock wall on the upper tier of the east face of this peak. Las Lagrimas del Solo is the left-most of the two icefalls.) We descended via the regular route.
On January 11, Laurence and I climbed St. Exupery (2680m) via the beautiful Kearney Route. The next day, I climbed Innominata (2501m) via the Corallo Route with Timmy O’Neill and Nathan Martin (U.S.). It was a very beautiful line, but we found bad rock in the central dihedral. On January 13, Laurence and I climbed El Mocho (1980m) via the Voie des
Benitiers. It was a very beautiful route. We accessed the route at pitch 3 via ledges to avoid the bottom. On January 14, I climbed Punta Inti, the smaller tower of “Cordon” Torre, with Laurence in six pitches. We siesta’d beneath the summit on the lichen “lawn”! On January 17, I soloed Aguja Guillaumet via the Amy Couloir on the east face.
Bruno Sourzac, France