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Cerro Torre East Face new route!


On 13/11/2004 at 21.00 Ermanno Salvaterra, Alessandro Beltrami and Giacomo Rossetti reached the top of Cerro Torre via a new direct route up the East Face of Cerro Torre, Patagonia.

On 13/11/2004 at 21.00 Ermanno Salvaterra, Alessandro Beltrami and Giacomo Rossetti reached the top of Cerro Torre via a new direct route up the East Face of the Torre. Broadcasting live from the summit on Saturday evening, Salvaterra excaimed "Today, 13 November, we had said... "perhaps"... but instead we've succeeded! At roughly 21.00 all three of us reached the top of the Cerro Torre mushroom. We're on the the summit of Cerro Torre. We're happy! Extremely knackered because the weather was terrible, but nevertheless we succeeded. Perhaps we haven't yet realised what we managed to do... Unfortunately it's cold at night. It'll be dark soon and we'll stop here to wait for the morning, eventhough it'll be extremely difficult, with temperatures about -12°C. We'll descend tomorrow morning. The sad thing is we haven't got anything to drink, nor have we got our sleeping bags..."

The ascent
The expedition reached El Chalten on 30 October and immediately began transporting gear to the ice cave beneath the East Face, and equipping the first section of the route. The true journey up the wall, with nights spent on the portaledges, began on 7 November. Matteo Rivadossi, the fourth expedition member , had been forced to return to Italy due to knee problems, and so the trio continued upwards, despite the poor weather. On 9 November they reached the "Lama di Roccia", dubbed "Dalai Lama". One day later they reached the 2001 highpoint, and they then continued climbing up virgin terrain, with 18 hour days. On 12 November the three were 450m short of the summit, while at 21.00 the next day the reached the top. They bivied until 04.15 and then, unable to withstand the biting cold, descended to the portaledge. A patagonian storm forced them to spend another night on the wall, but yesterday morning 16/11/2004 all three safely reached the base of the East Face.

Dream come true
The three Italian mountaineers have climbed a great new 1200m line which, breaching the center of the immense wall, can finally be regarded as the solution to the unresolved East Face. A solution, or rather, a dream come true for Salvaterra, who had attempted the line in 2001 together with Mauro Giovanazzi, Paolo Calzà and Walter Gobbi. Three years ago the four had been forced to abandon their attempt roughly 600m short of the summit due to bad weather.

Magnificent achievement
This new route is without a doubt a great and magnificent achievement, which can now be added to Burke and Proctor's 1981 "East Diedre" (6c/A4) which climbs the large overhanging corner for 300m before moving onto the North Face, and the"Directisima del Infierno", first ascended in 1986 by an expedition comprised of Karo, Knez, Jegli, Podgornik, Kozjek and Fistravec. In its final 150m this Slovenian route joins Cesare Maestri's "Compressor route" up the East Ridge, and is graded ED+ 8+/A3, 90°.

Cerro Torre, Patagonia
Cerro Torre, Patagonia
Photos: Beltrami and Ermanno on the East Face; the East Face of Cerro Torre; photos courtesy of Colmar.





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