Leo Houlding Update

Although there´s not a great deal to report we said that we would follow up Leo´s intial accident report, so here goes: Leo was attempting to free the infamous Maestri Egger route on Cerro Torre in Patagona. The route, climbed in 1959 by Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger, was made infamous when Maestri returned without Egger after what he described as an epic ascent, climbed almost entirely on a thick crust of snow and ice that caked the face. He wrote: "At each step, the whole crust made a dull noise like a low whistle, it cracked and broke and large pieces fell off. The ice pegs went in like butter and gave us only an illusion of security. at each pitch we made a small platform, so wthat we could dig through to the rock, where we found not the slightest trace of a crack; so we had to drill holes for expansion bolts, and each hole needed five hundred hammer blows”. Many doubted the ascent. Around 1,000 feet up the route, Leo came to a point where he knew it would be too dangerous to continue because of the wet rock. However,he spotted a fixed rope that had been left by climbers last year and Leo says it tricked him into progressing. He succeeded, keeping the rope within his grasp in case he fell, but he felthe had cheated so he returned to the belay to climb the pitch again without the rope. He slipped and fell around 40 feet, smashing his ankle against a rock ledge on the way down. He was lucky. The remote area, renowned for its poor and windy weather had enjoyed its best conditions in 25 years when Leo was there which enabled him to get to help more quickly – a long journey by piggy back, stretcher, horse and truck! Following his operation at the Cumberland Infirmary, doctors have said there is a 40 per cent chance the ankle won´t heal properly, butLeo has already said that he is determined to climb again and is desperate to tackle the same ascent at Cerro Torre. Thanks to Cumbrian News