La Mascara, Ilusiones and Duncan's Dihedral; Paine Chico, West Face; Cuernos. In early January 2002 Englishmen Andy Cave and Leo Houlding did the second ascent of and free climbed the route Ilusiones on the east face of La Mascara. Ilusiones was first climbed in January 2001 by Spaniards Alonso, Martos, and Pelaez. Cave and Houlding found it not to be extremely hard, managing to free it all at around 7a (5.12a), with some bad loose rock. They fixed 140 meters of rope on a rainy, windy day and came back down, then two days later climbed to the summit in nine and a half hours, descending in four hours.
Also in early January 2002 Dave Hesleden and Simon Nadin (U.K.) did the second ascent of Duncan’s Dihedral (700m, 6b+ Al) on Mascara’s south face. This route was first climbed by J. Copp and J. Merriam (U.S.) in 1998. Hesleden and Nadin found very cold conditions upon turning to the south-southwest side, as well as much loose rock.
Later in January Heslesden and Nadin climbed Paine Chico (also known as Almirante Nieto) via a couloir on the right side of the west face and then a snow ramp leading back to the left. They also did a five-pitch route immediately left of the prominent gap between the Cuernos. They found belays in place for the first three pitches but not beyond.
Rolando Garibotti, AAC, Club Andino Bariloche