Cerro Torre west face „Ragni“
After participating at the Petzl Roctrip in la Piedra Parada / Patagonia, Austrian climbers Guido Unterwurzacher and Max Berger decided to make a quick visit to El Chalten trying to climb something down there. Going there for one week trying to climb something is a quite ambitious plan but…you never know.
After our 3 weeks trip in 2011 where we had the chance to climb Fitz Roy, Poincenot and Cerro Standhardt we had a good feeling to be lucky with the weather again. Arriving in El Chalten the mountains presented themselves from their best side and the forecast told one and a half days of good weather. We decided to go for the west face of Cerro Torre, a climb I wanted to do since 15 years.
We knew that we had to walk to the base of the climb in bad weather to arrive when it turns good. November 27th at 3:30 in the morning we left El Chalten in rain and storm to reach the base of the west face 10 hours later.
November 28th we started again very early to reach the “Col of Hope” by daylight. Climbing simultaneous most of the route except the 2 headwall pitches and the last rime pitch we reached the summit of Cerro Torre 7 hours later. Every meter of the climb was just fantastic, we felt like in another world, like climbing on the moon. Those kind of ice and rime formations you find there are unique, you won’t find them on any other place on earth; tunnels, tubes, half pipes and most of the climb is really steep with some pitches of 90° ice and rime.
The view from the summit where we had the chance to spend an hour with no wind at all is just fantastic. You see the continental icecap “Hielo Continental” on one side, the Fitz Roy massive and the big lakes on the other.
After rapelling and down climbing the route we have chosen the long way home traversing the ice cap to Passo del Viento and back to El Chalten which means about 45km or 14 hours walking distance. Even after having climbed this incredible line to the summit of one of the most outstanding mountains on earth the walk is tough; I don’t want to imagine how it would be without having success. Back in El Chalten we had 4 wishes which we thought about all the way back; shower, beer, pizza, bed.
“Having climbed Cerro Torre in 1994 via the Maestri Via Ferrata I am more than happy that I reached the summit again by fair means climbing one of the most outstanding routes of the massive!” The Ragni is the most beautiful line I ever climbed and should be on the wish list of each climber.
Facts: The route was first climbed in 1974 by 4 climbers of the famous “Ragni di Lecco” ( Casimiro Ferrari, Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Pino Negri) being the head of the team. The first ascensionists reached the summit after a 2 month efford on their last available day. The first attempt of the route was made by Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri in 1958 where they reached an ice formation they called “ El Elmo” 120 m above the col of hope.
Up to day the route has only 20 ascents