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South America, Argentina, Argentine Patagonia, Chalten Massif, Torre Egger, Italian Route/Titanic Variation

Torre Egger, Italian Route/Titanic Variation. On December 31, Michael Mayr (“Much”) and I made our first trip to Norwegian Camp. We originally intended to attempt an alpine-style ascent of Badlands, but after inspecting it decided to look at the nearby and Italian routes. Since the lower portion of was not formed, and the upper portion of the Italian route looked wet and dangerous, Much and I decided to try to combine the two. After 16 days of bad weather we finally began climbing. Although we had looked for the driest option on the face, we still got really wet. On this short attempt we climbed about 200 meters. On January 18 the weather was good again. Leaving bivi gear behind we continued for one more pitch up the Italian route. Much then led two new pitches to the top of the buttress. One more pitch, and we were 10 meters from Titanic. Titanic follows a right-facing dihedral that was streaming with water, so we climbed a considerably drier left-facing dihedral. We climbed this dihedral for three pitches, to where Titanic tends to the left. We continued up the dihedral for one more pitch. Here Much first tried climbing right but ended in a cul-de-sac, before finding a solution to the left. The next pitch followed a perfect open-book crack for about 25 meters and then exited around a sharp arête. From here it was short and easy to the snowfield. The weather looked nasty, and it was time to descend again, but we had completed a new variation and learned that climbing Torre Egger alpine style was possible. The rest of Titanic looked like it wouldn’t present too much of a problem. Now we needed weather that would allow another attempt.

Back in Norwegian Camp we told Timmy O’Neill and Nathan Martin that they should have a go at our line. We gave them a topo of our variation.

I doubted that we would get another go at the mountain before the end of our trip, but two days later the clouds broke again. Much and I were still really tired, so we spent one more day resting, but then were at the base of Torre Egger again. In 12 hours we climbed to just above the snowfield and the Bivi del Canto.

And once again the clouds came rolling in. Earlier we had seen Timmy and Nathan just above us. They were trying a similar line to ours and started a day earlier. It looked pretty certain that they would make the summit. Much and I decided to bivy, although we had not intended to. It was a bitterly cold night without bivy-gear, and the next morning the weather became worse—snow, spindrift, and wind. We started to descend and at the snowfield saw Timmy and Nathan three pitches above us. Good to see that they were okay, because that night had been really tough. Timmy and Nathan had reached the summit. Much and I decided to return next year and try to reach the summit.

We free climbed every pitch, and we intend to climb the entire route free and alpine style. Much and I believe that the style in which a mountain is climbed is the most important thing. Torre Egger has had six ascents, and progress is only possible regarding style.

Peter Janschek, Austria