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Trip: Cerro Torre - Marsigny-Parkin-West-Face Date: 1/5/2007 Trip Report: I'm just recently back in Seattle from a three-week trip to Argentine Patagonia. Kelly Cordes and I based out of Campo Bridwell, and quickly established a gear cache up at the Niponino bivouac below El Mochito. For most the trip the weather was very bad, and we passed the time eating, drinking, bouldering, sport climbing, hiking, and sleeping. Finally, when our return flight was approaching, an excellent weather window arrived at the last moment. There were four days of almost perfect weather. The best weather window I had seen in two previous trips was about 48 hours of good weather. On the first day of the window, Jan. 4, we hiked up to the Niponino bivouac and tried to go to sleep early. We left Niponino at 2:30 am on Jan. 5 and hiked up the glacier below Cerro Torre's South Face to the base of the Marsigny-Parkin route (aka "A la Recherche Des Temps Perdues"). We started up the route at about 5:30 am, and climbed it in 8 hours, with 5 really long simul-leads, using ropeman ascenders to make the simul-climbing safer. The crux of the Marsigny-Parkin was moderate at perhaps M5, but the route was very sustained: consistently WI3-4, with almost no snow-patches on which to rest calves. We divided the climb into two massive lead blocks: Kelly led all 800m of the Marsigny-Parkin to the Col of Hope, and I led all 600m of the West Face from the Col of Hope to the summit. Just above the Col of Hope we stopped to melt snow, rest, eat, and drink. Soon above the col we reached The Helmet, which provided some tricky routefinding and steep unconsolidated snow, but we were able to surmount it on the right side. The mixed pitches beyond, in the dihedral, were moderate and went quickly. I started up the headwall pitch at 9:30pm, and finished just before dark. It was difficult considering how tired I was by then, and because of the angle (sustained vertical ice. Other parties have claimed overhanging, but I don't think it was quite that steep.), but the ice was actually very good. Above the headwall we decided that routefinding in the dark would be too tricky, so we dug/chopped ourselves a little ice-hole to get out of the wind. We spent about six hours melting snow, eating, and "homo-huddling" (we hadn't brought sleeping bags). The first pitch on Jan. 6 climbed up a natural tunnel in the ice to above the first mushroom of the summit ridge. The second pitch wormed into another tunnel to climb the second mushroom. The third pitch of the day was the crux of the route, and involved vertical and then overhanging snow climbing, followed by two aid moves off of pickets. The best peice of pro was a gigantic V-thread that I made by tunneling through the ice for about 3 meters. The final pitch climbed the summit ice mushroom (same as the Compressor Route finish), and was quite easy. We were surprised on top to not see any sign of ascents via the Compressor Route, given the beautiful weather. The view was spectacular, and it was surreal to stand on top of a mountain that I'd been dreaming of for 10 years. We descended by the Compressor Route, using a single 70m rope most of the time (for anyone attempting the Compressor Route, I would reccomend taking just one 70m rope for both the climbing and rappeling), and eventually stumbled back into Niponino at 2:30am on Jan. 7, exactly 2 days after leaving. We believe that we were the first party to succesfully link these two routes together. Also, I believe that our link-up is one of three routes on Cerro Torre that have been finished to the summit without using Maestri's headwall boltladder (the other two being the standard West Face route and Arca de los Vientos).
Climb: Chiwawa Mtn.-NW Face Date of Climb: 3/6/2005 Trip Report: Dave Burdick and I climbed a new route on Chiwawa Mtn this past weekend, after spotting the awesome-looking line in John Scurlock's new pictures. On Saturday we snomobiled up the Chiwawa River Road (with a snowmobile generously lent by Phil), and then skied up the Chiwawa Basin Trail (lot's of dirt skiing involved). We woke up early yesterday and hiked up to the Chiwawa-Fortress col, and then made a descending traverse to the base of the NW Face. Our route climbed the very obvious gully/chimney in the center of the face, starting mostly on ice, and gradually becoming more mixed. The climbing was fantastic although hard, and the route was the best mixed climb I've ever done. Our last pitch bailed out of the chimney onto the face on the right, but if some strong mixed climbers head in there they'll probably do the direct finish. Dave had his digital camera, so I expect we'll see some pictures soon. Chiwawa Mtn, NW Face New Route: "Intravenous" - IV, WI4, M6. Gear Notes: Reccomended Gear: -60m rope -5 knifeblades -a few small nuts -cams up to #1 camalot -2 stubby, 2 17 cm screws Approach Notes: The Chiwawa River Road is starting to get bare, so snowmobiling won't be a good option soon. However, the route sees no sun, so it will probably be in for at least a few more weeks, and perhaps the road will be drivable by then.