Ultimate Patagonia Torres Traverse Still Elusive

by Erik Lambert Cerro Torre From November 21-23, two teams–one comprised of Patagonia veteran Rolando Garibotti and Hans Johnstone, the other of four strong Italians: Ermanno Salvaterra, Alessandro Beltrami, Mirko Mase and Fabio Salvadei–completed the second and third ascents of a bold Patagonian traverse, from Cerro Standhardt to Punta Herron to Torre Egger. The aim of both teams was also to enchain the fourth, taller peak, Cerro Torre. Connecting the four peaks has never been done and is regarded as “the ultimate uberproject…. Few lines anywhere are as aesthetic, obvious and difficult as this traverse,” wrote Garibotti in Alpinists´s Issue 4´s “Unclimbed.” The traverse works south-southeast along the massif, toward Cerro Torre. The Italian team climbed a single pitch on Cerro Torre before deciding the weather would be too warm to attempt the summit mushrooms at the top without extreme objective hazard. Instead they descended via the long, controversial east face–familiar to Salvaterra and Beltrami from their first ascent of El Arca de los Vientos (ABO: VI 5.11 A1 90 degrees, 1200m) with Rolando Garibotti in 2005. Garibotti and Johnstone went higher, completing about half of El Arca before what the Italians had feared, unstable snow mushrooms on the north face, forced their retreat late on November 23. The first traverse from Cerro Standhardt to Torre Egger, over Punta Herron, was completed in February 2005 by Thomas Huber and Andi Schnarf.Full report by Erik Lambertwith photos at www.alpinist.com and by Dougald MacDonald at www.climbing.com ( Source: Alpinist )