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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres del Paine, North Summit of North Tower of Paine, Free Ascent

North summit of North Tower of Paine, free ascent. On February 17,2002, Allison Pennings and I climbed a new route on the west face of the north summit of the North Tower of Paine. Our route follows the route Adrenalina Vertical for two pitches before traversing left 40 feet into the obvious body slot. Above the body slot the route continues straight up. We both free climbed the entire route, which went at 5.11+, and was done in a day without bolts or pitons. On the previous day, February 16, we managed to free climb the Bonington-Whillans route on the Central Tower, with Michael leading all pitches. The crux pitch was a variation to the original route. Instead of climbing out the roof to access the Red Dihedral, we continued up to the left of the roof for about 35 feet before moving right into the dihedral. I believe this is different from the way Sean and Zack went on the first free ascent (it sounds like they traversed right 5 or 10 feet above the roof). Our variation was 5.11.

Mike Pennings

(Editor’s note: Allison Pennings was likely the second woman to summit the Central Paine Tower. Italian Ginella Pagani summited the tower in 1987, with Ermanno Salvaterra.)