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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Torre Central, Riders on the Storm, Attempt and Third Ascent

Torre Central, Riders on the Storm, attempt and third ascent. In November Frenchmen Jerome Arpin and Sylvain Empereur attempted to climb Riders on the Storm in alpine style. They climbed 18 pitches in four days, but the weather changed, bringing very cold temperatures, and they retreated. From the French report it appears that the Czechs who made the second ascent (see report above) may have added a number of bolts, both at belays and in the middle of pitches. In early December Frenchmen Arnaud Boudet, Martial Dumas, Jean Yves Fredericksen, and Yann Mimet made the third ascent of this route. Over 14 days, eight of which they spent climbing, they fixed 500m of rope on the lower portion. On December 4 they started up on their final attempt, taking portaledges and food for five days. They set up a camp at the top of the fixed ropes and for four days fixed 400m of rope above, using the rope they had used in the lower section. On December 8 they started up the ropes, climbed the last difficult section, a big 50m overhanging dihedral, and continued up easy ground to the summit, which they reached around noon. That same day they retrieved all their ropes, dismantled their camp, and descended all the way to base-camp, reaching it around 11 p.m. Not counting belay bolts, the route apparently has around 46 bolts and drilled holes. The Frenchmen added one drilled hook on pitch 16, where a flake had broken. They climbed free the three main off-width pitches (17, 18, 19), for which the route is notorious, not using the many drilled hooks (whether from the first ascent or drilled by the Czechs is unknown). The French note that their 4.5 and 5 Camalots were not enough, and suggest taking a 6 Camalot or a bigger Big Bro. They also note that many of the bolts do not have hangers, so they recommend taking 8mm Petzl self-drive bolts and hangers.

Rolando Garibotti, Club Andino Bariloche