NORTH PILLAR OF MURALLON, THE LOST WORLD

Posted on: June 1, 2004


Robert Jasper and Stefan Glowacz approaching the formidable north side of Cerro Murallón in November, 2003. Routes are as indicated. (1) Ferrari Route (VI 5.10 A2/3 80°, 1500m, Aldè-Ferrari-Vitali, 1984). (2)The Lost World (V 5.10+ M8, 1100m, Glowacz-Jasper-Fengler, 2003). The Italians Carlo Aldè, Casimiro Ferrari and Paolo Vitali fixed the first three pitches of the Ferrari Route, then finished the route in four days alpine style; Fengler, Glowacz and Jasper climbed their route in a one-day push. [Photo] Klaus Fengler

On November 4, Robert Jasper and I departed Germany with photographer Klaus Fengler and cameraman Sebastian Tischler for an expedition to the north face of Murallon on the Continental Icecap. From November 7 to 29, we transported our gear from the Refugio Upsala to a base camp beneath our goal, the 1100-meter north face of Murallon. The north face of Murallon is approximately four kilometers wide; most of the wall is guarded by big seracs. Due to bad weather, we were trapped at the refugio, or on the other side of the glacier, for days at a time. On November 29, we reached base camp and dug a little snow cave, where we waited in poor weather for the next good window.

Because of the persistent bad weather, we decided to try the right-hand side of the north pillar in alpine style. Except for the Ferrari Route (VI 5.10 A2/3 80 degrees, 1500m, Alde-Ferrari-Vitali, 1984), it was the only safe part of the wall.

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On the evening of December 1, the weather was improving but the pressure was still very low. Time was running out so Robert, Klaus and I decided to attempt the north pillar, which is approximately 1100 meters high with two very steep rock sections, the next day. We left base camp at 3 a.m. The weather was still good: cold, clear and no wind. We started climbing a moderate ice gully at 4 a.m., then climbed the first mixed rock section, belaying just two pitches, before starting up the second rock section on the very steep northeast side. The conditions were bad, with a lot of ice and snow in the cracks and difficulties up to M8 and 5.10+. We reached the summit at 6:30 p.m. The plan was to descend the west side, but heavy winds came up and we were covered in a snowstorm. After one hour we decided to rappel our route. We started rappelling at 9 p.m. The rope stuck many times. We arrived at the base of the wall at 4 a.m. and were back at base camp at 5 after an exhausting night, having climbed The Lost World (V 5.10+ M8, 1100m).

— Stefan Glowacz, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany



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