Our expedition is finished, reports Simone Moro from El Chaltel, his dreams of climbing Cerro Torres Compressor route in winter, buried under two meters of fresh snow.
We gave it our best shot and waited for good weather. Weather reports announced good conditions coming ahead, so we started again on Saturday (September 10th) at 3:30 a.m. We approached the Cerro Torre face but the snow was deep. It was the first time we didnt cross the frozen lake because it was not completely frozen. We heard some cracks suggesting us to avoid the place
Deeper and deeper
We skied and climbed for twelve hours in nice weather but with massive amounts of snow. When we took off the skis and started to climb the sections before Cerro Torres shoulder, fresh snow got deeper and deeper. The ropes we had placed the week before were unrecoverable. Massive avalanches came down whilst we tried to swim in the snow, hoping to reach our equipment cached at 2,450m.
Finally, exhausted, we realized that it was impossible to advance higher. We climbed for one more hour but understood that we had no equipment to make a bivy. We had no option but to be realistic and to assume it is winter here in Patagonia...
Being realistic theres simply no way
By the afternoon, we made the decision to abort the climb. We had been climbing non-stop for 16 hours, without eating or drinking. Cerro Torre, this amazing mountain, remains unclimbed this winter season.
About us, we will return to make our dream come true. 2005 season has been intense for me Ive been involved in three expeditions: Shisha Pangma in winter, Batura II in Pakistan, and Cerro Torre during the southern hemispheres winter. Now it is time to rest, spend some time with my family, and make plans for 2006. There is also a lot of ground work to do (slideshows, articles, a new book, meetings with sponsors, training, etc.).
PS: Warning to upcoming Cerro Torre expeditions
Due to the snow conditions we were unable to reach our equipment cached at the base of the route. In our depot, located five meters below the big crevasse at the base of the route, there is plenty of gear, more than enough to climb the peak. If any of you attempting Cerro Torre find this equipment you can certainly use it, but we hope that you will leave it there for us, as we plan to return to the route and climb as well. Cheers!!
Simone Moro and Bruno Camos Tassi were attempting Cerro Torre (Patagonia) in winter through Maestris Compressor route. American Joby Ogwyn was filming some stages of the approach and the climb. Last year Simone and Camos, along with Kazakh Denis Urubko, opened a new route on the North face of Baruntse, reaching the Khali Himal (Baruntse North summit).
Simone Moro, 37, has summited Mount Everest (twice), Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Shisha Pangma (winter), Lhotse (twice) and 5 peaks over 7000 meters. He has accomplished the first winter climb of Marble Wall 6400m (Tien Shan), a 24-hour climb on Fitz Roys West Face (Patagonia), and many other climbs around the world. Simone and Piotr Morawski summited Shisha Pangma Friday January 14, 2005 at 1:15 pm (local) after a fast 5 hour climb in very strong winds. It was the first (real) winter ascent on a 8000er since 1988, and the first winter climb on Shisha Pangma.
Patagonia is located in the southern end of South America, territory of Argentina and Chile, stretching South to the island of Tierra del Fuego and up to the South of the Colorado river, between the Andes and the Atlantic Ocean. One of Patagonias most outstanding peaks is Cerro Torre (Mount Tower).
Maestris compressor route was actually climbed during the winter of 1970. Out of supplies, exhausted and frostbitten, the team abandoned their climb 400m short of the summit. The climbers would return some months later in summer to complete the task, but never received any media or fame. Maestris idea of hauling a 70 kg air compressor was heavily criticized by contemporary climbers. However, it was a bold attempt, a long struggle in very tough conditions, and a remarkable climb.
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