American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Los Gemelos, the Slash

South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres Del Paine

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Ian Nicholson, AAC
  • Climb Year: 2010
  • Publication Year: 2010

Graham Zimmerman and I left camp at 10:45 a.m. on January 25,2010, just after it stopped raining and snowing. At 2:30 p.m. we stood at the base of the previously unclimbed east face of Cerro Los Gemelos, or the Twins. The first pitch was a 5.9R face, with laybacking up verglassed flakes. Then a 5.8 rising traverse, with a little aid and some 5.10, got us onto the ridge. A few pitches of easier 5.10 brought us to the notch that divides the much higher north peak from the lower south peak. The next two pitches were more complicated than we’d expected, and around 11 p.m. we hit a steep, blank slab, just as it got dark and started snowing hard. Graham tried repeatedly to climb the unprotected slab, to no avail. Then we saw a small seam out to our right, and Graham set off into the darkness. It went! One more pitch, and we topped out at 12:40 a.m. in an increasing storm, becoming the third party to summit the higher of the Gemelos. We descended in a full-on storm, with near 100mph winds that blew us off our stances and pinned us down. At one point 100' of the rope escaped and went horizontal, slithering like a snake into the sky. We finished the last rappel at 4:30 a.m. and trudged down the glacier and out the ultra-shitty moraine, returning to camp after 22 hours on the move. The Slash (1,200', 10 pitches, IV+ 5.10b A2).

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