Patagonia

A great start for climbing season in Patagonia, with the feat of the French Martín Elías, Jérome Sullivan and François Poncet who have opened a new path, “La Mariposa” (1200 mt, A3, M7, 6a) between 18 and 19 October on the inviolate spire of the South Pillar of Cerro San Lorenzo, called “El Faro” (3150 mt)

South Pillar Cerro San Lorenzo

 

“We started climbing at 10 in the morning, the forecast gave good conditions of high pressure until the next night, so we had 48 hours. First a part of technical climbing on mixed terrain and good rock, after we reached a ramp of snow and ice that we had identified during the previous exploration. From here, untied we quickly climbed the ramp of over 500 meters, with access to the steepest part of the wall. We climbed quickly and this made us hope to be able to sleep on the hill – but when we reached the end of the ramp, we realized that the bad conditions of the snow, the rock and the lack of ice would have created many problems and slowed down. When the night reached us I was climbing the first 30 meters of what would become the key section of the whole street: a vertical 80-meter chimney covered in snow, which I miss the words to describe the ugly quality of the rock. “Loose” is not suitable. “An asco” as the locals say! “

At this point the team rappelled down 30 meters, grading the ice for an uncomfortable bivouac. The next morning they started climbing rock and ice of extremely poor quality. Finally, a transit on the north wall, where they completed the three final shots of brine rock up to the summit, reached at dusk.

on the route , ph Martin Elias

“We constantly questioned about chance of summit, with all that snow, the horrible rock and the adverse weather – in our experience, the weather at San Lorenzo range is always worse than expected – being on top was really a magical moment”

                                   Route La Milagrosa – South Pillar Cerro San Lorenzo / Patagonia Vertical 

 

Patagonia / Upcoming

 

Denis Urubko, the strong russian Himalayst (Polish naturalized, living in Italy), will be in Patagonia to try Cerro Torre – and perhaps Fitz Roy – in duo with the strong Maria “Pipi” Cardell, with whom he has shown excellent harmony already in 2017 (Pik Chapaev in Kyrgyzstan, nomination at Piolet D’Or) and last 2018 Summer in Georgia (long route up Mt Ushba, 4710mt). After 2 months that they will spend in Patagonia, starting from the end of November, they aim to try a new route on Gasherbrum II , during Summer 2019.

Also coming soon in El Chalten,  two more “light” expeditions from Italy: Hervè Barmasse, arriving in the next days and in January the President of famed “Ragni di Lecco” climbing team, as well patagonia “champion”, Matteo Della Bordella. Their climbing goals remains unknown as today.

Kelly Cordes (c) Cerro Torre
                                                                                                                                                           Kelly Cordes (c) Cerro Torre

 

“with full respect to the current rate of progression and the next-level skills of today’s top climbers, I think it’s fair to say that the single biggest change in the history of Patagonian climbing occurred far from the mountains, circa 2005.”

continue reading the original Kelly Cordes article on his website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cerro Torre rock falls (c) Lauri Hmlinen,2016 Cerro Torre rockfall  (c) Lauri Hmlinen

“The extreme heat of the last few summers, and the heat of the five summer weeks we had this year, without a doubt have an impact on the permafrost, making the mountains more unstable”

Rolando Garibotti (c) Black Diamond
Rolando Garibotti 

THE LONG AND HOT PATAGONIC SUMMER

The amazing series of ascents along the Patagonic granite towers, a continuous flow of lines repeated in speed, in free climb for the first time, the traverse crossing record achieved by “Captain Safety” Colin Haley along with Alex Honnold – btw we’ll must talk about what this duo, a perfect merge of very different styles, had been able to show : the vitality and the purest form of alpinism  – seems to have no end, because of a long good weather window  that lasted a month and a half of good and hot weather. Rolando Garibotti, guardian, mentor and singer of all Patagonic ascents and sensitive, ethical and environment “guru”, writes the downside of this extraordinary hot patagonic summer, caused by increasing climate changes , on his Facebook page Patagonia Vertical.

 

 

Cerro Torre flake fall (c) Gabi Fava  Cerro Torre flake fall (c) Gabi Fava

Contacted by montagnamagica, with his usual courtesy kindlyallowed us to translate his note of alarm, not coincidentally entitled “Achtung” (danger in german language):

“On January 20th, when Iaki (Coussirat ndR) died on the east face of Fitz, the result of rockfall, Gabi Fava and Martin Lopez Abad witnessed the fall of an enormous flake on the headwall of Cerro Torre. That day the freezing level was at 3800m, and there was rockand ice fall everywhere. Gabi relays that when t hey returned sometime later, with the freezing level at 3100m, everything was quite still. Although one could conclude that the freezing level is the key, the problem is rather more complex. The extreme heat of the last few summers, and the heat of the five summer weeks we had this year, without a doubt have an impact on the permafrost, making the mountains more unstable. Freezing level should be a consideration when choosing an objective but also perhaps it is time to start considering off-limits certain objectives during particularly warm summers, such as this one, regardless of the freezing level of one particular day. This learning has occurred in the Alps in the last couple of decades, it may be time to follow their example down here.”

 In the same post, a comment confirms Rolo analysis : the Finnish climber Lauri Hmlinen publishes a beautiful and at the same time impressive pic of the South Wall Cerro Torre, viewed from Polacos (base camp) where we can observe the rock fall that raises huge dust in the central part of the wall, right upon the huge vertical plate photographed and showed above by Gabi Fava, just below the summit mushroom , which is also seems getting smaller year after year.