American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Cerro Dalla Vedova and Cerro Stoppani, First Ascents

Argentina-Chile, Cordillera de Darwin

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Cristian Donoso
  • Climb Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

In October 2018, Chilean mountaineers Harry Brito, Camilo Hornauer, and I made the first ascents of Cerro Dalla Vedova (2,271m) and Cerro Stoppani (2,275m) in the eastern section of the Cordillera de Darwin. Cerro Dalla Vedova is located at the head of the glacier of the same name and is the highest peak of the Cordón Marina. This subrange rises from Kent Pass and Cerro Domo and extends for 25 km to the southwest until reaching Hill 1,286m on the margins of the Cuevas Glacier.

Running parallel and to the east of Cordón Marina, beyond the Stoppani and Cuevas glaciers, is another subrange known as Cordón Janlena, whose main summit is Cerro Stoppani. Cerro Stoppani was identified for the first time from the sea in 1913 by the Italian explorer and priest Alberto de Agostini. Agostini is responsible for naming both of the peaks we climbed, the first after the outstanding Italian geographer José Dalla Vedova and the second after the Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani.

At the time of our Unexplored Darwin expedition in October 2018, the summits of the Cordón Marina had no previous ascents. Within the Cordón Janlena, the only reported ascent was of Cerro Ohi (Hillebrandt, 1988). I had previously attempted to climb both Stoppani and Dalla Vedova in October 2017, without success. During this three-week expedition, Bárbara Donoso, Anaís Puig, and I accessed the east face of Cerro Stoppani from Yendegaia Bay. We first climbed the Stoppani Glacier by its western margin and then continued through the Armada of Chile Glacier to reach the base of the mountain.

On our successful 2018 expedition, we reached the glacial plateau between the two mountains from Cuevas Fjord and by the Cuevas Glacier to the west of the peaks. The lower part of this route was previously explored by two expeditions (New Zealand in 1970 and University of Magallanes in 1980), and the upper part had been visited by a French expedition (GMHM, 2011). From a high camp. we climbed Cerro Stoppani first and Cerro Dalla Vedova the next day.

On the descent from these mountains toward Cuevas Fjord, we traveled an unexplored variant, passing by a large nunatak that stands out from the middle of the lower part of the Cuevas Glacier.

We accessed the Cuevas Glacier by sea kayak, sailing in total autonomy through Almitantazgo Sound and Parry Fjord. The expedition lasted a total of 35 days, with harsh storms in the first days and excellent weather toward the second half of the expedition.

– Cristian Donoso, Chile

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