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South America, Argentina and Chile, Southern Patagonia, Chile, Torres del Paine National Park, Cuerno Este, First Ascent, Lauchon Este

Cuerno Este, first ascent, Lauchon Este. In early March 2006 Milena Gomez and I, both Argentine, completed the first ascent of Cuerno Este. We approached the peak from the Bader Valley.

Our new route, which we christened Lauchon Este, climbs a line on the east face. We found some traces of passage in the lower part. The first 120m involve easy slabs (5.8), but after the third pitch difficulties increase, with three pitches following perfect cracks (5.10+). We reached the upper basalt formation at the base of an obvious dihedral, which we climbed in one pitch and which is the only feature on the east and north faces that gives access to the upper ridge. We followed the ridge for 120m (easy), climbed a 30m step, then more easy ground, to reach the final summit tower, which required a 45m pitch. At the summit we did not find any traces of passage, and this, combined with Buscaini and Metzeltin’s conclusion from their research that all routes stop at the base of the upper basalt formation, lead us to believe that ours is likely the first ascent to the summit. We climbed 500m in nine pitches, with difficulties to 5.10+. The basalt section involves difficulties to 5.9, with little protection. We left belays equipped with threads, pins, or bolts. Because Cuerno Este is lower than some of the neighboring formations, and because our route faces east and is therefore protected from the wind, it is a good objective for a bad weather day. The climb took us 12 hours.

Ramiro Calvo, Club Andino Bariloche, Argentina