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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).

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CONGRATS!

 

using ropeman ascenders to make the simul-climbing safer.

 

How many did you use? That's a better idea than the tibloc trick.

 

aid moves off of pickets.

 

Sounds.... interesting.

 

 

So when/where is the slideshow?

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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).

 

Huge :tup: :tup: :tup:

 

Rack? Did you take a shovel or shovel head?

 

How cold did it get at night for your open bivy?

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Thanks for all the compliments, guys.

 

We used two ropeman ascenders (the newer ones - MK-2), which I think made simul-climbing all of the Marsigny-Parkin more reasonable. I'm sure this is not a "safe" technique, but I think the ropeman II is better for this purpose than the tibloc (although significantly heavier).

 

OK, here's a few teaser shots, if I can successfully figure out how to include them in a post. All four photos are by Kelly. Please be respectful of his photographic work and don't copy-paste them elsewhere.

 

Routeline2.JPG

 

FirstTunnel2.JPG

 

headwall2.JPG

 

kc_-_tent_post_LR_P1010094-1.jpg

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Nice Colin! You guys kicked ass!

did you bring just one 70m or did you have a zip line too?

you should put that stuff on the cover of Alpinist. beautiful

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