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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Torre Central, Golazo, Second Ascent, and First BASE Jump

Torre Central, Golazo, second ascent, and first BASE jump. Tim Akhmedkhanov, Igor Pekhterev, and leader Arkadiy Seregin (all from Russia), with Sergiy Kovalov from the Ukraine, arrived in Puerto Natales on January 9,2007, and five days later started fixing the initial pitches of Golazo (1,200m, VI 5.10 A4+, Schneider, 1999 [with Christian Santelices to pitch 12]).

On January 20 they reached the big ledge atop pitch nine and established two portaledges. After fixing pitch 10 (A3+) the following day, they were forced down by a storm. On January 24 they were back on the wall with 150 liters of water. They also took 12 ropes and fixed them all. It took six days to climb the next three pitches. Pitches 14-21 were A2 or A2+ and were climbed somewhat faster. While the first 15 pitches had two bolts at each belay, above there was only one, so the team added a second bolt to all higher stances. On February 2 Akhed- kahnov and Pekhterev led pitches 20 and 21, and then Kovalov and Seregin joined them and continued to the summit. By 8 p.m. it was snowing but the climbing was relatively straightforward, despite icy rock. At 11:20 p.m. all four stood triumphantly on the summit. By 6 a.m. on February 3 they had regained the portaledges. A big storm began two hours later as they were descending the lower part of the wall, but by 4 p.m. all were safely on the glacier. Seregin feels that this route is definitely harder than Reticent Wall on El Capitan and that Schneider is a real hero. “He did a hard job. I’m going to send him a bottle of our good Russian vodka.”

Other recent activity on the Central Tower includes the area’s first BASE jump, a 1400m flight down the east face (plus some tracking out) by Russian Valery Rozov on February 24. To reach the top he climbed the Bonington-Whillans route (700m, V 5.11 A2) in two days with Russian Big Walls Project hardmen Odintsov, Ruchkin, Provalov, and Kachkov.

Adapted from www.alpinist.com, originally by Lindsay Griffin