First Winter Ascent of Torre Egger

Posted on: August 17, 2010


Dani Arnold and Stephan Siegrist approach Torre Egger (2685m), Cerro Torre Group, Parque Nacional los Glacieres, Argentine Patagonia. The two, along with Thomas Senf, made the first winter ascent of the peak over three days in early August. [Photo] Thomas Senf / visualimpact.ch

Stephan Siegrist and Dani Arnold of Switzerland and Thomas Senf of Germany have made the first calendar-winter ascent of Torre Egger (2685m) in the Cerro Torre Group of Argentine Patagonia. After three days and nights of climbing in alpine style, they summited on August 3 via the Dona-Giongo and Titanic routes.

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On July 27, Arnold, Senf, Siegrist and Austrian Mario Walder arrived in El Chalten, where they found a deep layer of new snow (the team waded up to their waists) and bitter cold (temperatures down to -25 degrees C). They ferried loads to the base of the wall on the last day of July as a weather window began to open. The climbers minus Walder, who was experiencing knee problems, started climbing the next morning, August 1. They bivied on the remains of an ice avalanche between Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt that night, woke up at 5:30 a.m. and pushed up icy cracks for 22 hours to reach the base of the summit mushroom, where they chopped out an ice seat. Siegrist said the team got four hours of poor sleep there, waiting for daylight: "All three of us dozed and entertained dark thoughts about what it would be like, so close to the summit, to find ourselves in a full-blown Patagonian storm." The next morning, August 3, they reached the summit.

Siegrist had experience winter climbing in Patagonia previously. In 1999—with Thomas Ulrich, David Fasel and Greg Crouch—he made the first winter ascent of Cerro Torre's West Face. But it was his summer ascent of the Torre Egger route Titanic that proved most advantageous. Siegrist recalled an ice canal on the south side of the summit mushroom; the team rediscovered the passage, which led them up three pitches to the top.

Sources: Stephan Siegrist, Hans Ambuhl, 2000 AAJ, planetmountain.com

The team caught a rare winter weather window in early August, allowing them to summit Torre Egger just more than a week after leaving Europe. [Photo] Thomas Senf / visualimpact.ch

Siegrist and Arnold atop Torre Egger on August 3. Their ascent of the peak was the first recorded in calendar winter. [Photo] Thomas Senf / visualimpact.ch

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