dimanche 23 décembre 2012

Patagonia trip second part
After Torre Egger it seemed a possible window might show up so we got back to Niponino but it was without counting on the amount of precipitations predicted.
It rained a lot and with Colin we basically only waited in the tent for the all day hoping someone would finally come up bringing the latest forecast.
When some friends appeared without any good news about the weather we hiked back to town.
Needless to say the following day was actually pretty good, a mistake due to the modern comfort of
having a weather forecast for a place whose weather is foolish anyway, and the comfort of staying
in town in a place where a couple decades ago years ago there was no town at all.
Up there i  had to learn  to not trust a weather forecast that it's not really clear and fail in his predictions and to be ready always in changing totally my climbing plans. French friends Ben and Fred succeed climbing Fitz Roy at their first week in Patagonia and gave me an urge to climb that mountain as well. I remember a Salvaterra quote saying that there are a few days where the conditions allowed to climb in the Fitz group when at a couple of km away, on Torre or Marconi it's a bad day. Running short of time and with a full week of bad weather ahead i opted to climb Fitz Roy that i haven't climbed yet. Manu is already gone home because of the bad weather lasting until his departure day. I went on to make plans for an eventual climb, with Andrea Di Donato a montain guide from Italy. As usual trying to decide what climbing and when to leave was a stressing task that absorbed me for much of the ten days we waited before we finally go up. A world class ice line, Supercanaleta, haunted my dreams since i was young when i read the book Patagonia from Buscaini-Metzeltin. His obvious straight line his Wind Serpent the many tries they gave it...little problem everybody seemed to say that it was gone, literally melted by the good weather week that we managed to miss before our arrival. With all this nasty weather we reckon it might be in, many of the local activist agreed so, local guides said no way. We were not sure what to do until just a day before we left. We were sitting in front of a coffe. The pinnacle at the top of the route in front of me on the back cover of  the brand new guidebook showed a climber from longtime ago. A climber that travelled trough a entire continent in a van only to surf and climb, lost in frost covered rock on a pinnacle of vertical rock 1400 above the ground with a bunch of pitons. No cams no goretex no guidebook and no weather forecast. Just climbing. We decided to go for Supercanaleta.
Seven hours of approach took us at the base of the route trough Paso del Quadrado. First good news to get there we just walked no swimminng in waist deep snow. Second good news the route was in, as for Cham if someone need to know if a certain route is in conditions better to ask people that climb, not the guides.
Andrea and his fitz roy

We walked in saturday. Sunday we waited during a not too bad day hoping the weather would not play with us a second time then around 1AM  we crossed the bergshrund and climbed the long couloir until daylight saw us partway up bloque empotrado.
Awesome shadow of fitz on Lautaro far on the icecap
 We said hello to Frank a dead solo climber sitting on a ledge. The day was good but bad weather was forecasted for the late afternoon.
The rock was covered with rime and fresh snow so we had to drytool all the way up ,so i reckon it was great conditions!
I was full absorbed on the climb Andrea was following fast and efficiently and after almost 12 h we were on top.
We started rappelling the route in pretty cold conditions then downclimbed the lower part of the couloir and a few hours later we were down.
Definetely great to share this route with Andrea. We had a lot of  fun. Now back to Cham winter is ready.
 On route

Upper bowl

Today is gonna be a good day!

cool mixed

climbing second tower

Lot of rime on second pinnacle
Last pinnacle


vendredi 7 décembre 2012

Aguja Mermoz and Torre EGGER report
Text and Photos Korra Pesce
When I left Chamonix for a trip to Patagonia a few people must have felt a lot of relief, the reason was simple, when five days before my departure I opened the for the first of a number of times the Meteogram for the weather forecast of Cerro Torre it showed a huge weather window , I almost fainted, it was supposed to last approximately until the moment I would  eventually reach El Chalten.

Chances  for another similar chance were slim at best. Landing in the tiny airport of El Calafate three hours of drive away from El Chalten I could finally see  again the fantastic mountains of Fitz Roy and The Torres . I imagined how cool would have been to be up there in perfect weather, but I could do nothing it was too late. The following day Manu Cordova joined me and immediately we went up with all of our gear to made a gear stash at Niponino Camp. After ten days of mainly bad weather we finally had a chance of climbing something on a windy day between two storms. We choosed to try Aguja Mermoz East Face via Andy Parkin route Vol de Nuit.

 It’s a nice line with a lot of mixed climbing and almost no ice. Conditions were not ideal but this type of climbing was one we were both  familiar with. We climbed the route adding a couple of variations that allowed us to reach the top of the mountain. Descending the route we had to cut a stuck rope and it was only after 17 hours  after our departures that we reached our snowcave at Paso Superior.  We descended by night to El Chalten and rested all of the next day. Another day of good weather saw us ready for action at Niponino.
Mixed ground on the lower half
Manu leading a tricky dihedral followed by a tricky tension traverse

Sometime weather end up being better than forecasted 
Manu follow up a awesome corner, with only a rack of cams it was a interesting pitch
The fantastic Goretta Pillar on Fitz Roy
climbed by Casarotto solo in 1979
Cumbre of Mermoz

Herron Egger Traverse

With Manu we choosed to climb Punta Herron and Torre Egger, a wonderful trip that will see us climbing rappelling and traversing for 23 hours. We had a early start and walked to Standhardt Col, we climbed the first two pitches of Exocet than continued all the long of the big ramp that slashed across all of the East face of Aguja Standhardt, climbed a couple more pitches than rappelled directly to the base of the magnificent Spigolo dei Bimbi on Punta Herron a few meters from Col dei Sogni.

 There we swapped ice tools for rock shoes and started climbing up this incredible route. The exposure the climbing and scenery were unreal, with the Hielo Continental behind us the Pampa and the huge lake Viedma on our left, steep compact rock  laden with rime formations and the odd mushroom above,
and off cours several hundred meters of steep mixed terrain below us.

The slabs of Sigolo dei bimbi in great conditions
One of the best climb in Patagonia
The rock was pretty clean of rime only a little wet and we made quick progress on Spigolo dei Bimbi. 
Manu leading the mushroom 

Next step Huber-Schnarf on Egger

A rest to melt water 

On the slabs of Torre Egger
Nice traverse under mushrooms
  The day was really hot and there was no wind at all. We stood atop of Punta Herron rappelled to Col de Lux and finally climbed to the top of Torre Egger via the Huber Schnarf, a route similar to the on we did on Herron supposedly there was an Italian route somewhere up there  by De Dona and Giongo but they left no sign of their passage up the compact slabs, Huber and Schnarf left a very limited amount of not that necessary bolts (not that leaving bolts must became the best option to leave proofs of an ascent, even more in Patagonia were bolts anyway tends to disappear mysteriously, indeed on this route De Dona and Giongo curiously left three bolts under the mushroom as a proof of their ascent no one ever found them...maybe they should have used Pezl anchors as the party  from 2005 did because they are very well visible. In the end is now called Huber Schnarf . Before this last route i managed to drop a rockshoe, Manu was kind enough to lend me his shoe and followed the sleep slabs in big boots!the mushroom was melting but we made it up. It was really a great feeling to be up this difficult mountain but the way down seemed ridiculously tricky. Patagonia it’s a test for anyone rappelling skills and rapping down Torre Egger is certainly one of the most complicated descent.
The caracteristic summit of Torre Egger aside of me

Cerro Torre upper north face upper tier of Ragni Route

Just below the col between Egger and Torre
Descending  the route we did, was simply out of question, descending the East Pillar was the preferred descent so far but we preferred descent the South Face to the col of Conquista then climb up one little pitch and rap down the east side of the col. We were now on one of the most legendary place of Alpine climbing. Like a sanctuary of alpinism. At our left was the Box placed by the British climbers that attempted in the late seventies the huge dihedral and the north face above us, it was destroyed by years of terrible storms.
The English Box at the base of one of the sickest line in Patagonia 

Rapping down the Colle della Conquista
the real conquest will be not to fuck up the descent
All around us were waste of ropes and gear from the many teams that attempted to climb Cerro Torre  from this side but  the most tangible ones were the imaginary footprints of the people that actually succeeded climbing this side of the mountains with a lot of bravery and little gear. I couldn’t avoid thinking about the pioneers of those places . Donini and Bragg , Salvaterra and Garibotti, Burke and Proctor, Ponholzer and Bonapace, the Slovenians…We reached the top of the lower dihedral not far from where, Toni Egger had his deadly accident . I can’t even imagine how badass must have been even trying to get up there in 59,  those people were visionary. All of those lines are from another world. We stood on the glacier below Cerro Torre by full moon. It’s over, but I already would like to get back  up. Descending  I can’t stop turning back and watch up those unreal walls. One hour later at midnight we crawled into our sleeping bags at Niponino. Today was a good weather day on the Torres. Today was a good day.