American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentina and Chile, Torres Del Paine, Cuerno Norte, the Devil Rides Out

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Cuerno Norte, The Devil Rides Out. On the east face of Cuerno Norte (2,400m) Mike “Twid” Turner, Geoff Hibbert, Peter Jones, and I established The Devil Rides Out (700m, 20 pitches, ED 5.10 A4). We climbed on 11 of our 13 days in the Bader Valley, usually in bad weather, but the sheltered east aspect allowed us to knuckle down and still climb. We used two and a half sets of cams, four sets of wires, a full set of pegs, hooks, beaks (very useful), and 700m of rope (200m of which we bought in Puerto Natales at great cost after the airlines lost one of our gear bags).

In early March we established our Advanced Base Camp under the face, and then Geoff and I scouted, climbed, and fixed the first four pitches (160m) of the approach slabs. The next day we started working our way up the wall, climbing in conditions that started mild and progressed to wind and rain, then deteriorated to snow and gale-force winds—not uncommon. After each day’s climbing, we fixed ropes and returned to the ground. Some of the climbing, such as on the igneous dike bisecting the slabs and the upper steep walls, and smaller dikes above, proved loose, broken, and gnarly, and sometimes overhanging. Fortunately the rock quality improved somewhat as we climbed higher, though we still encountered broken, loose flakes. On the final tower we ascended the left arête of the right-hand pillar of the twin pillars, through a scooped overhang and up the summit slabs. We summited late on March 15 and descended into the early morning hours, celebrating in camp with rum and as much chocolate as we could manage. The next day we returned to the wall and removed our bags of equipment and all of our ropes, and began moving out. By the following afternoon we were in sunny and warm Laguna Amarga, where we quickly discovered a bar and a reggae band and commenced the celebration.

Bob Brewer, U.K.

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