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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Ascencio Valley, Cerro Escudo, The Dream, Attempt

Cerro Escudo, The Dream, Attempt. At the end of January, our party arrived at the Japanese camp. There was nobody else there, except a group of three Basques and two Chileans. Our plan was to climb a new route on Fortaleza. After a typical few-day wait for better weather, we started carrying our stuff to the base of Fortaleza. Once over the glacier, we dug a cave just below the wall. We spent an entire week waiting for improvement, but it never came. Because time was getting short, we decided to climb the American route The Dream (VII 5.10 A4+) on Escudo.

By February 6, we had carried all the equipment to the foot of Escudo, and we started climbing the following day. We decided to climb capsule-style. We set up our first hanging camp at the fifth belay, from which point the only possible route was upward. Beginning February 12, we did not return to the ground anymore. On February 18, we reached Camp II at the ninth belay. The weather during this week forced us to stay in the portaledges for two days, waiting. The climbing on this part of the wall was great, with beautiful technical pitches (A4 to A4+). The following section over the Red Tower was a little more relaxing, the difficulty decreasing a little; there was even a perfect ledge where we could stand on our feet again.

After four pitches, we set up CIII at pitch 13. There was a small ledge with snow, so we could save up a little water for cooking. The following day, we got over one of the most serious pitches using loose skyhooks. On February 25, we moved all our stuff to CIV at pitch 16. The next day, we got through the last difficult A4+ pitch and fixed the ropes to pitch 19. The weather the following morning was nasty again, so we spent the whole day in our portaledges, planning the “final attack.” We were freezing more and more, and our psyches were getting tired. We got up at 4 a.m. and tried to climb as far as we could. We climbed the whole day; the weather was totally bad. At 11 p.m. we reached the 22nd belay, and all agreed that we had had enough. At night we rappelled down to CIV.

We spent the following two days rappelling down and praying for better weather. But nothing changed. In the end we stood on solid ground. We did not reach the summit but were happy enough with having climbed the route.

Apart from three falls “for better judgement” and one upside-down wake-up call, our quest went well. Marek Holecek, Tomas Rinn, and Tomas Sobotka woke up from their dream in Puerto Natales. We would like to thank the guys from Big Foot Expediciones and give our compliments to the gentlemen Brad Jarrett, Chris Breemer, and Christian Santelices who made the first ascent of the route.

Tomas Rinn, Czech Republic