Trono Blanco, Hoja de Rosa; Cuerno Norte, Dentelle de Roche; Cerro Cat- edral, Escoba de Dios, second ascent. In late February and March 2007 a team from the Equipe National de Jeunes Alpinistes (ENJA) visited the Valle del Frances in the heart of the Paine Massif.
In late February, Julien Dussere, Jehan-Roland Guillot, Rémi Vignon, and I climbed a new route on Trono Blanco (2,170 m), in the northern edge of the cirque. Our route climbs a series of easy slabs (4+) on the west face to reach a col at the base of Trono Blanco’s south face, north of Aleta de Tiburon, from where it tackles a steep granite head- wall (180m, 6c A1), followed by 500m of mixed terrain, to reach the summit (55° M5). On our first attempt we climbed an easy snow couloir (55°) on the east face to reach the col, but this approach, although easier, proved too dangerous (rockfall). Earlier in the season, with more snow, the east couloir should be the approach route of choice. We summited on February 24 and first down- climbed along the west ridge, then rappelled the line of ascent. It should be possible to climb the route in one day from a bivy near the base. The climb took three days: one day to explore the east couloir and fix two ropes on the headwall, a second day to find the alternate access to the col from the west and fix a few more pitches on the headwall, and a third day to climb to the summit and descend. We had fairly unstable weather throughout those days, with strong winds. We named our route Hoja de Rosa (1,000m, ED-).
Between March 1 and 9 Clément Mounier, Jehan-Roland Guillot, Rémi Vignon, Julien Dusserre, and I opened Dentelle de Roche on Cuerno Norte’s northwest face, just right of Caveman, which was the only route on this side of the mountain. We climbed 14 pitches (700m) up to 7a, with a few short sections of A1 and A2. Most of the pitches are enjoyable, with high-quality climbing, except pitch 11, which follows a series of big flakes and is quite runout. The face is directly exposed to the wind, which on some days blew 1 00mph. In light of this we used fixed ropes. We stopped upon reaching the schist band up high and did not continue to the summit.
On the east face of Cerro Catedral, Jean Burgun, Victor Estrangin, Pierre Labbre, Erwan Madoré, and Jérôme Para made the second ascent of La Escoba de Dios (Catto-Fowler-Gallagher-Kendall, 1992). This 24 pitch, 950m route has difficulties up to 6b and A4. It took six days to fix ropes up to pitch 13, after which they rested for six days due to bad weather. After jumaring the 500m of fixed ropes, they installed a portaledge camp, but bad weather forced them to return to the ground after fixing just three more pitches. After two more days of forced rest they regained their high point, and the following day all five climbers climbed the remaining seven pitches and reached the summit. During the descent they spent one more night, taking the time to retrieve the ropes and all other gear. They describe the route as being magnificent, complex, and demanding but with a lot of enjoyable, beautiful climbing.
Frederic Salle, ENJA, Pyrenees, France (translated by Rolando Garibotti)