Alison Kruetzen nearing the top of the Central Tower of Paine (2460m), Patagonia, Chile, in 2002. Kruetzen's then-husband Mike Pennings had just completed the first individual free ascent of the Tower via the Bonington-Whillans route (ED: IV 5.11 A2, 700m, Bonington-Whillans, 1963); Kruetzen jumared the first pitch, then followed the rest of the pitches free to make the second female ascent overall. Their success came only a few days after Sean Leary and Zack Smith had made the Tower's first team-free ascent. These climbs remain the only free ascents of the formation. [Photo] Mike Pennings
The Central Tower of Paine
Posted on: November 27, 2006
Home of the world's first Grade VII, this centerpiece of Chilean Patagonia has a bold future still ahead of it. Steve "Shipoopi" Schneider recounts the history thus far, while Sir Chris Bonington, Paul Fatti, Alan Kearney, Mario Manica and Ramiro Calvo regale us with their adventures on one of the planet's proudest blades of stone.