Message from Patagonia
February 14, 2011
On the top
At our second try this year, my partner Peter Ortner and I finally succeeded to climb the top of the Cerro Torre. Starting from the shoulder we got up to the ice-covered peak after 10 hours of technical climbing. At about 10.00 p.m. and catching the last evening light we lastly reached the top. Our Cerro Torre-marathon (El Chalten shoulder – Cerro Torre – shoulder El Chalten) lasted all in all 46 hours.
Accordingly to the last days we’re quite knocked up now, but it was amazing to stand on the top of the Cerro Torre! More news coming soon!
January 28, 2011
First try on Cerro Torre!
We hiked up to Cerro Torre with high expectations for our first attempt this year. Unfortunately we achieved no progress. We made it up to last year’s highpoint, but no further.
The night in the Bergschrund on the Col was short and cold, but first when we started climbing it got really shitty. There was a thin layer of ice in most cracks and also on parts of the rock. Enough ice to make climbing with the hands really slippery, not enough ice to make good use of the ice gear. In hard laboured climbing we made it up to the bolt traverse, there the weather forced us to quit our attempt.
So I’m still stuck in the same situation as last year, not having seen the upper part of the route and still lacking information on the headwall, such as rock quality or features for freeclimbing… I hope we will soon get a share of good weather and conditions to be able to make it to the summit. First then I’ll be able to see if there is a possibility to try out for a free attempt. As far as possible I would like to stick to the compressor route; I’ll refrain from bolting in rap-style. Should variations from the original compressor route be necessary for a free climbing attempt I will have to do that on lead, a quiet time intense venture for the short periods of good weather on Cerro Torre.
At the moment I’m frustrated that we were not able to achieve progress on the mountain. But we’ll take comfort in drinking some Patagonian beer and do, what most people are doing here: Waiting.
January 24, 2011
Now I’ve been back to Patagonia for nearly a week. And there have been no big changes – the weather is still inconsistent and the mountains are fascinating. Shortly after our arrival my partner Peter an I made a tour to the "Aguja de la S", a comparatively small butte at the beginning of the Fitz Roy mountain chain. As my luggage got caught in Bueno Aires, I had to climb in far too big shoes, which was of course quite challenging… Peter and I can hardly wait for appropriate weather to climb the Cerro Torre.
Although due to our experience we can handle things more easily, there is still a big question mark left. We still don’t know if it’s really possible to climb the compressor route in free ascent… So our first aim is to get to the top, to have a look at the route and to see in which passages we might have to step aside.
But meanwhile the weather god has to be gracious to us; as long as it’s blowing and snowing our plans are just wishful thinking. So I while away the time here in El Chalten with bouldering, fishing and a difficult trad-route project at a big boulder near Chalten. Last year I just failed, so we’ll see… The weather forecast for the next few days isn’t that bad! More (hopefully good) news will be following…