AGUJA DESMOCHADA

Posted on: September 1, 2006


On January 30 at 6 a.m., Stefan Siegrist and I started up the lower slabs to the base of the prominent southwest buttress of Aguja Desmochada (2650m). Jim Bridwell had first scaled this steep peak, and he'd named it "Flattened Spire" after its summit: a hundred meter-long, horizontal, knife-edged ridge of monolithic granite.

Stefan Siegrist descending the American Route on Aguja Desmochada after making the first ascent of Golden Eagle (V 5.11 A1, 800m). Siegrist had shattered his ankle in a climbing accident in the 2005 summer and was told he might never climb again; Golden Eagle, which he climbed with Alex Huber, marked his return to the mountains. [Photo] Alexander Huber

Our new route, Golden Eagle (V 5.11 A1, 800m), follows more or less the line of the prominent southwest buttress. In the lower, less-than-vertical part we climbed a bit left of the buttress, while in the central, dead-vertical section we followed the obvious, continuous crack system just to the right (hands and fists). The previous days' snowfall had iced up the cracks in the first three pitches of the central section. As a result, we aided two short bits, but under better conditions they would go free at no more than 5.11.

The rest of the route did go mostly free (at up to 5.11), even though (because of the cold) we had to rest several times. Two pitches above the Eagle's Nest—a tower that offers a perfect bivy platform—the route got easier, and we face climbed along the now low-angle line of the buttress. At the end of the central part, we fixed our two ropes and rappelled back to the Eagle's Nest. After a beautiful, exposed bivy, we started again at first light and despite chilly and windy conditions reached the summit at about 11 a.m. We descended via the fully equipped rappels of the American Route and returned to Polacos Camp at about 6 p.m. Apart from one piton on Pitch 9 and one Stopper at the next belay, we left no fixed gear on any of the twenty-five pitches of our route.

—Alexander Huber, Berchtesgaden, Germany

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