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JeffreyW

[TR] Patagonia - Torre Egger Smash 'n Grab - Huber-Schnarf 01/21/2022

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Posted (edited)

Trip: Patagonia - Torre Egger Smash 'n Grab - Huber-Schnarf

Trip Date: 01/21/2022

Trip Report:

 

Climbers: Jeff and Priti Wright

 

Location: Patagonia - Chaltén Massif - El Chaltén, Argentina

Traverse of 3 peaks: Aguja Standhardt - Punta Herron - Torre Egger

Climb Date: January 18, 2022 - January 21, 2022

Full Trip Report: https://alpinevagabonds.com/torre-egger-traverse-a-smash-n-grab-story/

Climbs/Rappels 

  1. Aguja Standhardt Climb via the North Ridge route Festerville (400m 90° 6c) in 15 pitches (14 pitches of rock and 1 pitch of rime ice) from Col Standhardt
  2. Aguja Stanhardt Rappel via South Face (7 Rappels)
  3. Punta Herron Climb via North Face route Spigolo dei Bimbi (350m 90° 6b) in 9 pitches (5 pitches of rock and 4 pitches of snow+ice+rime ice)
  4. Punta Herron Rappel via South Face (1 Rappel)
  5. Torre Egger Climb via North Face route Espejo del Viento (200m 80° 6a+, often referred to as the “Huber-Schnarf” route) in 5 pitches (3 pitches of rock and 2 pitches of snow+rime ice)
  6. Torre Egger Rappel via Titanic (countless Rappels, two downclimbing snowfields, and one 30m downclimb from the summit)

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In January of 2022, we completed another Patagonian “Smash ‘n Grab”, summiting three of the four peaks in the Torre Range via previously established routes (11 days Seattle-to-Seattle): Aguja Standhardt, Punta Herron, and Torre Egger.  

Including our ascent of Cerro Torre in 2020, we have now climbed all four summits of the Cerro Torre skyline, making Priti the first female to summit all four peaks.

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2022 marked our fifth climbing trip to El Chaltén.  In 2019, we completed a 10 day Smash ‘n Grab of Cerro Chaltén (Fitz Roy).  In 2020, we spent two months in El Chaltén, during which time we climbed Cerro Torre on the route Via dei Ragni.  Urgency and several parties in line behind compelled us to accept a top-rope on the final pitch of the summit mushroom of Cerro Torre, joining the conga line.

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Pink: The accidental line we took on wet, grimey terrain....oops (not recommended); 
Blue: the original route Festerville on golden granite


Their 2022 traverse from Aguja Standhardt to Torre Egger enchained three distinct climbing routes (all established by different parties), climbing for four days and three nights, bivying twice on Standhardt and climbing through the third night up-and-over Torre Egger. 

After arriving in El Chaltén, we cached a tent at the standard Niponino Base Camp, carrying a tarp and a double sleeping bag for the traverse.  We started on the route Festerville (400m 90° 6c) which follows the spine of the North Ridge of Aguja Standhardt for approximately 13 rock pitches.  Another team of two (Michał Czech from Poland and Agustín de la Cerda from Chile) started up the route ahead of us and the four effectively joined forces, climbing symbiotically, each team helping the other along the way.

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After summiting Cerro Standhardt via 30 meters of 90° ice and rime, Michał and Agustín rappelled the Exocet route back to Base Camp while we (Jeff and Priti) made seven rappels down the South Face of Cerro Standhardt, continuing the traverse.  The South Face rappels end 30 meters below the Col de los Sueños (the col between Standhardt and Punta Herron), requiring climbing the final 30m of the route Tobogán to reach the col.  

The traverse continued up to Punta Herron via the route Spigolo dei Bimbi (350m 90° 6b) climbing 5 pitches of rock and another two pitches of beautiful, vertical ice and rime to the summit.  A single rappel from the summit of Punta Herron led down to Col de la Luz under the North Face of Torre Egger.  Spigolo dei Bimbi included some of the most fantastic rock climbing that we have ever climbed in Patagonia!

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From Col de la Luz, we continued up the route Espejo del Viento (200m 80° 6a+, often referred to as the “Huber-Schnarf” route) in the dark of night for three rock pitches which ends in a long, run-out, wet, technical slab traverse under Torre Egger’s overhanging summit mushroom.   We continued through the night, climbing two more moderate pitches up the mushroom on easier 70 degree snow and ice to the summit of Torre Egger at 2:00AM, the most difficult summit in the Chaltén massif.

We continued through the night without a bivouac, descending 27 rappels and down-climbing along the route Titanic which follows the East Pillar of Torre Egger.  Upon reaching the tent at Niponino in the Torre Valley after 44 hours of constant movement, we collapsed in the tent realizing we were too late to catch their planned flight home.

Unfortunately, we neglected to notify anyone that we were missing our early-morning airport taxi.  When the taxi arrived at our hostel Aylen-Aike, the driver woke up Korra Pesce who was sleeping in the room where we had previously slept.  Korra notified the hostel owner Seba and Rolando “Rolo” Garibotti who were all quite worried and proceeded to notify rescue teams.

Later that morning, Rolo successfully contacted us on our inReach before any rescue efforts began, teaching us a valuable lesson: let people know if you're going to be late! 

A week later, a team of bold volunteers attempted an unsuccessful rescue of Korra Pesce, the legendary French-Italian Alpinist, on the North Face of Cerro Torre who will be sorely missed by his friends, family, companions, and fans.  Being back at home in the US by the time the accident occurred, we wished that we had been present to aid the operations.  The 2021/2022 Patagonia season was marked by several notable deaths and rescues in the mountains as well as several celebrated new climbs.  Patagonia continually demands of its visitors the humility that this place deserves.

We really want to thank Rolando Garibotti and Colin Haley for their beta, support, and encouragement; Agustín and Michał for being a great team to partner with as we shared the same objective on Cerro Standhardt; Aylen-Aike for putting us up at the last minute in El Chaltén; Hector Tito Soto Nieto and Andrew Reed for loaning us your cams (we decided what route to do while on the airplane); our bosses and work colleagues for letting us go for a week with hardly any notice; Ilia Slobodov for the awesome weather updates while on route; and Kelly Cordes for the rad Patagonia gear.

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Priti on the summit of Torre Egger, 2:00AM.  Time to rappel.

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Gear Notes:
2x Camalots to #1, 2x TCUs, 1x Camalots to #3, 6 ice-screws, a set of stoppers, and deadman stuff sack (substitute a jacket instead?) to rappel off of Torre Egger (or a retrievable ice tool anchor or downclimb)

Approach Notes:
Approach as for Col Standhardt

Edited by JeffreyW
  • Snaffled 1
  • Rawk on! 5

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, JeffreyW said:

Including our ascent of Cerro Torre in 2020, we have now climbed all four summits of the Cerro Torre skyline, making Priti the first female to summit all four peaks.

Wow, thanks for posting your TR here and congrats to Priti!  

Edited by Bronco
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Absolutely incredible! Damn, thanks for all the great photos, overlays, and general beauty.  I am at a loss for superlatives, but I will at least elevate this to "best of cc.com"!

And yes, major congratulations are in order to @Priti

@JeffreyW, you're pretty OK too. :wink:

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Posted (edited)

That last photo of you sitting at the table is great! The others are decent too I guess, but that one is my favorite. :wink:

Edited by bedellympian
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Wow!  Just wow!   Good job.   I was down there in the early '90s to climb some of the secondary peaks - not the big boys - don't have that skill set to move at the required speed.  Your pics emphasize just how unique a spot it is.   Thanks for the report

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Owen Wilson: WOW.

 

What a killer TR!

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