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South America, Argentina and Chile, Southern Patagonia, Argentina, Chalten Massif, Desmochada, Golden Eagle

Desmochada, Golden Eagle. On January 29 German Alexander Huber and I went from Bridwell Camp to Campo de los Polacos, directly below the west face of Aguja Desmochada. The next morning at 6 a.m. we started up the lower slab to the beginning of the actual climbing, at the base of the prominent southwest buttress of Desmochada.

At 9 a.m. we started climbing and reached the end of the vertical, central part. We fixed our two climbing ropes and rappelled back to the “Eagle’s Nest,” a perfect bivy platform. After a beautiful and exposed bivy, we started again at first light and, despite the chill and wind, made the summit at 11 a.m. We descended via the fully equipped The Sound and the Fury [see above] and made it back to Campo de los Polacos at 6 p.m. The next morning saw us, with all our equipment, walking back to Campo Bridwell.

Our new route, Golden Eagle, more or less follows the line of the prominent southwest buttress. We climbed the lower, less-than-vertical part just left of the buttress, while the dead- vertical central part of the route follows the obvious continuous crack system just right of the buttress. Above the “Eagle’s Nest” the route joins The Sound and the Fury. The rest of the route follows the low-angle line of the buttress.

We made the first ascent of Golden Eagle without any prior exploring or preparation: fully alpine style from Campo Bridwell to Campo Bridwell. Because of snowfall in the days just before our ascent, the cracks of the first three pitches of the vertical, central part of the wall were iced up and made the climbing difficult. Thus, we had to aid two short sections of the first of these pitches, but under better conditions this pitch should go free at 5.11. The rest of the route went free, even though, due to the cold, we had to rest several times on several pitches (French free, difficulties up to 5.11).

The central part of the route offers mostly steep climbing in hand and fist cracks. The granite is typically very rough, and tape might be helpful. The rest of the 25-pitch route is moderate and not-too-steep face climbing.

We recommend bringing Camalots 0-4, with doubles in the midrange sizes, plus a full set of stoppers. Though not necessary, a small set of pitons might be sensible. Except for one piton in pitch nine and one stopper at the belay after that pitch, there is no gear in place.

Stephan Siegrist, Switzerland