American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cerro Pantojo, New Routes

Andes, Northern Patagonia

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Mati Korten
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

In October 2017, Ian Schwer and I completed two new routes on the south face of Cerro Pantojo (2,027m). This mountain is the heart of an extinguished volcano near the Paso Cardenal Antonio Samoré between Argentina and Chile. The normal route runs through the central gutter of the southwest face of the tower and is a moder- ate climb in summer (200m, 5.7). In winter, the same route gets more interesting, about 80° and M4.

We left Bariloche and approached on skis for about three hours to a good bivy close to the south face. There, we met a frustrated soloist, Chilean Jorge Rosas, who ended up joining us for our climb of a spur on the left side of the south face, which was plastered in rime. For the descent we used the normal route, which has recently been retro- bolted (despite existing without these bolts since the 1930s), creating a mess but also a fast and safe way down. We named the route Por Hongos y Por Honguitos (220m climbing distance, M3 80°).

Ten days later, all the rime had fallen when Ian and I returned to tackle the center of the south face via a big couloir that we dubbed Supercanaleta del Pantojo. This time, we crossed the border as soon as the immigration office opened, approached on skis, climbed our route, and made it back to the immigration office about 10 hours later, just before it closed at 6 p.m. Going nonstop is lighter, but you are bound to descend the west side in the afternoon, which becomes a giant waterfall on warm days. This route was about 270m and M4 85°. There is still some virgin space on the right side of the south face: steeper and longer but also more fragile than the routes we climbed.

– Mati Korten, Argentina

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