For Christmas Papa Noel brought yet another weather window to El Chalten, and on Dec. 24th Jorge Ackermann and I hiked into the Torre valley again, intent on trying the east pillar of Torre Egger, which we had previously attempted a few weeks earlier. We spent Christmas Eve at the Norwegos bivouac, and on Christmas morning hiked up the glacier to the base of Torre Egger’s east pillar.
We climbed the O’Neil-Martin variation of the Titanic route, bivying a bit more than half-way up, reaching the summit in the evening of the second day, and then rappelling through the second night. I thought it was a long, difficult climb, and certainly one of the harder routes I have climbed in Patagonia.
Colin on Christmas morning, starting the first pitch of the O’Neil-Martin variation of Titanic. Photo by Jorge.
Looking down the second pitch of the O’Neil-Martin variation. Photo by Colin.
Colin leading up a basalt dike a few pitches up the O’Neil-Martin variation. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge starting up a pitch on the O’Neil-Martin variation, with the hanging glacier between Egger and Punta Herron behind. Photo by Colin.
Colin jumaring on the O’Neil-Martin variation. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge leading on the O’Neil-Martin variation, with Fitz Roy, Poincenot, Innominata and St. Exupery behind. Photo by Colin.
Jorge leading a steep pitch on the O’Neil-Martin variation, with old fixed ropes visible to the side. Photo by Colin.
Jorge nearing the snow-shoulder half-way up Torre Egger, at the junction with the Titanic route. The upper east pillar of Torre Egger is visible straight above, with Cerro Torre on the left and Punta Herron on the right. Photo by Colin.
Colin starting up the snow-shoulder, with the upper east pillar above, and Cerro Torre to the left. Photo by Jorge.
We bivied at the top of the snow-shoulder. Jorge chilling at the bivy ledge while we melted snow. Photo by Colin.
Colin starting the first pitch of the upper pillar on the morning of our second day. Photo by Jorge.
Colin starting the second pitch of the upper pillar, with the upper south face of Cerro Standhard visible to the right. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge coming up the second pitch of the upper pillar. Photo by Colin.
Jorge coming up the third pitch of the upper pillar. Photo by Colin.
The upper pillar is climbed via two large ramp systems, and the lower ramp and upper ramp are joined by a pitch of 6a, A2. Colin leading the connecting pitch. Photo by Jorge.
Colin re-hydrating at a belay, with the south face of Cerro Standhardt visible behind. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge following a pitch on the upper ramp system, with Innominata, St. Exupery and Aguja de l’S visible behind. Photo by Colin.
After the two ramp systems on the upper pillar, Titanic climbs to the upper snow-shoulder on Torre Egger via a steep chimney system. Unfortunately the ice in the chimney was almost completely melted out, and running with water, so I climbed the steep wall to the left, first on aid up steep (overhanging) cracks, and then free up slabs above. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge coming up the rock to the left of the melting ice chimney. Photo by Colin.
Climbing up to Jorge’s belay at the base of Torre Egger’s summit mushroom. Photo by Colin.
We skirted the worst part of the summit mushroom by traversing to the left. Colin traversing to the left, with Cerro Torre behind. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge climbing a step of rime to reach easier ice slopes above. Photo by Colin.
Colin following an ice traverse onto the upper south face of Torre Egger. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge climbing the last ice pitch to reach the summit. Photo by Colin.
Jorge just below the summit of Torre Egger, pointing out where we need to go next! Photo by Colin.
A party from Bariloche climbed the Ragni Route on the west face of Cerro Torre during the same window, and from the summit of Torre Egger we could see them half-way up the last pitch. Photo by Colin.
Just after we summitted, Bjørn-Eivind Årtun and Ole Lied topped out from climbing a really cool new route/variation on the south face of Torre Egger. Bjørn-Eivind climbing the summit slopes of Torre Egger. Photo by Colin.
Bjørn-Eivind and Ole feeling psyched just below the summit of Torre Egger! Photo by Jorge.
Colin setting up the first rappel off of Torre Egger’s summit mushroom. We rapped off a buried stuff-sack that was left a couple days earlier by Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk, who climbed Torre Egger via the Huber-Schnarf route. During this weather window Torre Egger was climbed three times, by three different parties, by three different, completely-independent routes – which is pretty cool I think! Photo by Jorge.
Colin rappelling the upper east pillar, with many, many rappels still to go… Photo by Jorge.
After rappelling through the night, Colin on one of the last few rappels of the O’Neil-Martin variation, in the morning sunlight. Photo by Jorge.
Jorge and myself back on the glacier in the morning, feeling good! Photo by Jorge.