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Cerro Torre, Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt are three mountain spires in Argentine Patagonia, at the tip of South America.
Undisputed queen of the mountains is Cerro Torre, the Tower Mountain. It rises vertically for 3,128m and is generally regarded as one of the most difficult in the world to climb. That’s not because of the altitude or highly technical climbing, but by virtue of its location: standing sentry for the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Cerro Torre lies right on its edge.
Once described by the South Tyrolean climber Reinhold Messner as “a shriek turned to stone”, Cerro Torre receives the full brunt of the prevailing weather off the Patagonian ice cap. The freezing conditions, coupled with the almost constant high winds, regularly sees it and its adjacent peaks covered in a maelstrom of moisture-laden, boiling storm clouds and coated in a rime of perilous, and at times unclimbable, snow and ice mushrooms.
In 2009, Alpinist Rolando Garibotti, along with climbing partner Colin Haley, completed the ‘Torres traverse’, a long-coveted, continuous climb over all three spires and the sub-peak of Punta Herron in between.
Rolo and Colin Haley approached the peaks via the Torre valley and Torre glacier. To get the view of the mountains above, you need to approach them a different way. From El Chalten, head to the Electrico valley and pass through the Refugio los Troncos campsite at Piedra del Fraile (the Priest’s rock). From there (the owners may charge you), climb steeply uphill to reach a glacier that provides access to a small mountain pass, Paso del Cuadrado. It’s best to get there early morning for the sunrise.
Find out more about travelling around the Torres region, in Los Glaciares National Park, athttp://www.colinhenderson.co.uk/patagonia-trekking.html
For details of Rolo and Colin’s traverse of the Torres, visit http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb-trips/trips/rolo
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