American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Hielo Continental, Cerro Murallón, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Cerro Murallón, attempt. The following has been condensed from a press release provided by Glowacz’s publicist in response to our request for information:

“Gone with the Wind” Part 1, featuring Stefan Glowacz and Robert Jasper. Top of the Murallón north buttress in sight, but out of reach: a two-man team consisting of Jasper and Glowacz—both part of a small elite of world-class expedition climbers—after an intense nine- week struggle, just barely failed to reach their goal.

Prologue. Stefan Glowacz and Robert Jasper once again [AAJ 2004, pp. 318-320] set out for Argentina in October. Their objective: another first ascent on Mt. Murallón (2,831m), this time on its mighty north face. There are certainly countless better-known goals, for instance in the Himalaya. However, exceptional climbers have been increasingly seeking challenges on peaks so remote that hardly anybody would risk attempting an ascent. Mt. Murallón, for instance, is situated in the middle of the Patagonian ice cap and is exposed to notorious blizzards. Not even the smallest of bushes provides shelter.

The Approach—a Torturous Adventure. Stefan Glowacz and Robert Jasper, with photographer Klaus Fengler, had to carry 200kg of freeze-dried food to the start of the climb. There were an additional 40 liters of petrol, 500m of fixed rope, climbing material, and three tents to carry. In the Himalaya expeditions are accompanied by coolies, porters, cooks, liaison officers, and doctors. On Murallón external help is out of the question. On the trek in, the small team was accompanied by mountain guide Hans Martin Götz, journalist Tobias Hatje, and cameraman Sebastian Tischler. The team set up base camp under overhanging rocks beneath the north buttress.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience. Two days later Glowacz and Jasper started climbing. On the first day they covered 200m, a good start. By day five they had reached the headwall. The following day, climbing two demanding free pitches and two on aid, the team worked its way to a point 200m from the summit. Then luck left with the arrival of a dreaded Patagonian blizzard. Their tents buckled under the wind, and Jasper, Glowacz, and Fengler were forced to retreat for miles to Refugio Pascale, a small tin hut.

Rome Was Not Built in a Day. Precious time elapsed while they waited for better weather. Desperate, but also full of hope, Jasper and Glowacz made another attempt at the summit but found their fixed ropes torn to shreds. Rocks and chunks of ice flew horizontally through the air. Glowacz and Jasper retreated: a brutal trek back to civilization. The projected route on Murallón already has its name: “Vom Winde verweht”—Gone with the Wind. To date it has 21 pitches, 17 of which were climbed free, four with aid. Their rating suggestion is 7c/A?. The team thinks the aid pitches should go free under favorable conditions.

In October 2005 Glowacz and Jasper want to return to Patagonia and to Murallón—to a route they consider the “line of their lives.”

Mayr Nell Public Relations, Germany

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