Cerro Pollone East, first ascent in Patagonia by Kauffman and Toman
At the start of January 2011 the American alpinists Neil Kauffman and Jim Toman carried out the first ascent of Cerro Pollone East (Patagonia) by climbing Re Puesto! (V 800m 5.10 A1).
A few weeks ago we reported about Night Terror, the magnificent new route up Nepal's Lobuche East first ascended by the Americans Jared Vilhauer and Joel Kauffman.
Establishing new routes is obviously something which lies in the Kauffman family because right at the start of the New Year Joel's brother Neil managed to carry out the first ascent of Cerro Pollone East, just west of Fitz Roy in Patagonia, together with Jim Toman via the new route Re Puesto! (V 800m 5.10 A1)
Making the most of a beautiful two-day stint of stable weather the duo set off in the light of the moon on 1 January and spent the rest of the day climbing up a mixture of pristine granite cracks, delicate mixed terrain and exposed ridges. When a smooth slab blanked out higher up the wall they were forced into placing a peg and pendulum into a new crack system, and the difficulties were compounded by a general lack of water on the route which contributed to their fatigue.
They finally reached the summit late in the evening and in his blog Kauffman states: "It was around 8pm and the light was beginning to get really magical. The views were surreal and the moment even more so. To the west, the entire Fitz Roy group in all its splendour; a little to the south, the Torres, with Cerro Torre totally dominating the scene. We could see the castle of Cerro Murallon way south on the icefield. Vast expanses of white and blue ice, mountains of dark black rock, and winding glacial paths twisting to oblivion. To the north, the vibrant green beech forests, deep blue lakes, and dry brown pampas of Argentina, rage on against the cold desolation of the Hielo Continental.
After savouring the moment they made three abseils down the east face, found a suitable shelter and bivied, and then descended safely to the base of the mountain the next morning. Their return to civilisation proved taxing due to dehydration and extreme fatigue.
V 800m 5.10 A1
First Ascent of Cerro Pollone East
January 1-2 2011
Neil Kauffman and Jim Toman