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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres Del Paine National Park, Cerro Almirante Nieto, Various Attempts, Various Other Ascents

Cerro Almirante Nieto, various attempts; various other ascents. Grega Lacen and I, Slovenes, came to the park on December 1. The next day’s weather was great, so we went up to try the beautiful, unclimbed northwest pillar of Almirante. It was harder than we expected. That day we did 350m of climbing up to 5.11-, on less-than-perfect rock. We then came to a blank section where we would need aid-climbing equipment or bolts. This gear was still in our bags, which had yet to be ferried to base camp, so we were forced to retreat. The weather then turned bad, with constant rain. On December 14 the weather showed a slight improvement, so we started from base camp at 6 a.m. and did the Bonington Route on the Central Tower in 24 hours round trip in bad conditions, cracks full of snow and ice. We climbed in big boots and mostly aided. We next tried the easier-looking southwest ridge of Cerro Almirante Nieto, which is unclimbed. I made nine attempts but was driven back by bad weather every time. After Grega left I tried with Nejc Bevk, also a Slovene. Our highest point was 120m below the top of the ridge. We did 11 long, free rock pitches (up to 5.10d) and around 300m of a snow-and-ice ramp (up to 60°). On our last attempt Nejc injured his hand from stonefall and was unable to climb for a week.

Later in January and in early February I went to the Chalten Massif, where I climbed Aguja De L’S via the Josh Aike Route (450m, 6a) with Slovenes Mojca Zerjav and Nastja Davidov, the Benitiers Route on El Mocho (500m, 6c A2) with Mojca, and the Franco-Argentine route on Fitz Roy with Israeli Jhonatan Ben Noshe. So that was my three-month trip to Patagonia: full of bad luck and not as I expected, but fine anyway.

Tomaz Jakofcic, Slovenia