Cerro Torre, the Ragni Route and an increasingly popular Patagonia
News from Patagonia: 48 alpinists summited Cerro Torre via the Ragni Route, while a variation finish was added called Directa Huarpe. The Cerro Pollone group was traversed by Japanese climbers Jumbo Jokoyama e Ryo Masumoto.
Patagonia has evidently lost none of its draw. On the contrary, this might well become a record season, above all for Cerro Torre where possibly also because of the bolt removal of Compressor route the most "popular" way to the summit now leads via the West Face and the famous Ragni Route. That masterpiece first ascended by the historic Ragni di Lecco expedition which, on 13 January 1974, resulted in Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari and Pino Negri reaching the summit. According to the site pataclimb directed by Rolando Garibotti, in its almost 40 year history circa 80 alpinists ascended this beautiful route. That is, until a few days ago. Yes, because between Christmas and New Year, a staggering 48 alpinists climbed this route!
Between the 24th and 25th of December 28 alpinists made the most of a short weather window and reached the summit via the Ragni Route. A record... provisional though, seing that another 20 celebrated the first day of 2013 on the summit of the Torre having ascended the same route. Practically all the names of these climbers from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Spain, USA are listed on pataclimb.
Why this shift in trend? According to pataclimb it may in part be due to the excellent conditions and "largely to the many ascents in the last few years that have demystified the climb, exalting its quality and beauty." It's worth underlining that during this period the Argentines Gabriel Fava, Wenny Sánchez and Roberto Treu established Directa Huarpe, a finishing variation to the Ragni Route which leads off from the Elmo (the first ice mushroom) via 350m of new climbing to the right of the Ragni Route up to the summit, with similar difficulties except for a slightly harder 15m section of 95° rime ice.
Those who opted for something completely different were the two Japanese mountaineers Jumbo Jokoyama and Ryo Masumoto who made a long traverse in the Pollone group: starting at Aguja Pollone they climbed the ridge all the way to Cerro Pollone, via 2 bivies and 29 pitches, climbed free and with difficulties up to 7a. According to pataclimb, were this ridge line to be in the Alps, it would most certainly be a complete classic!
- 04/11/2004: Cerro Torre West Face 30th anniversary