American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cerro Murallón, El Pilar del Sol Naciente and history of climbs and attempts

Argentina, Los Glaciares National Park, Central Section

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Rolando Garibotti, Argentina
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

Cerro Murallón (2,656m) rises above the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap, along the Argentina-Chile frontier. Although it has received several new routes in the past decade, including the first ascent of the southeast pillar in 2012, the peak hasn’t been summited since 2003.

In January 1961, Jack Ewer and Eric Shipton (Great Britain), along with Eduardo Garcia and Cedomir Marangunic from Chile, climbed from the northwest to the long summit crest, reaching what they believed to be the highest point in the middle of a storm. The geography of the summit ridge is such that, coming from the west, Shipton and partners likely reached a sub-summit before a wide gap, to the east of which is the highest summit.

In 1974, José Luis Fonrouge and Rafael Juarez (Argentina) made an attempt from the southeast. It is unclear if they attempted the southeast ridge or the east face.

Ten years later, in February 1984, Carlo Aldé, Casimiro Ferrari, and Paolo Vitali (Italy) completed the first ascent of the northeast ridge (1,300m, 5+ A3), and also the first confirmed ascent of the peak. They fixed three ropes in the crux section but otherwise climbed alpine style.

In November 1999, Bruno Sourzac and Laurence Monnoyeur (France) made an alpine-style attempt on the east face. They climbed to within 350 meters of the top of the wall (A2 M5 90º ice). They were caught in a fierce storm and had difficulty descending, leaving most of their equipment on the face as anchors.

In October 2003, Rolando Garibotti (Argentina) and Silvo Karo (Slovenia) climbed the peak from the southwest, following a series of easy glacial tongues. This was likely only the peak’s second ascent.

One month later, Stefan Glowacz, Robert Jasper, and Klaus Fengler (Germany) climbed the Lost World, a line up an obvious pillar on the far west side of the north face (1,100m, 6b M8). They climbed the route in a day and retreated upon reaching the summit ridge.

Two years later, in November 2005, Glowacz and Jasper returned to climb Gone with the Wind (1,000m, 7c+ A2), a steep line in the center of the north face. They spent several weeks working on the route, fixing 500 meters of rope, which were left in place. Their new route ended at the summit plateau.

Finally, in late 2012, Lise Billon, François Poncet, Jeremy Stagnetto, and Jerome Sullivan (France), along with Pedro Angel Galan Diaz (Spain), completed the southeast pillar (El Pilar del Sol Naciente, 1,000m, 7b A1 WI6 M6). They descended from the top of the pillar. [See Sullivan’s feature article about the climb earlier in this AAJ.]

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