Markus Pucher attempted to solo Cerro Torre this past Patagonia winter and Fitz Roy. Conditions on both of the iconic Patagonia peaks stopped him from summitting, only 200 metres below the top of Torre. Pucher pushed on to make the first solo ascent and first winter ascent of Cerro Pollone up the Cara Sur, which was first climbed in 1949. Last week, Canadian Marc-Andre Leclerc made the first winter solo and second solo ascent of Torre Egger.
Pucher wrote on his Facebook that the last few metres of Pollone were dangerous and run-out. At one point he had to tie his ice tool to his rope and throw it past a blank section to hook rock above. He said, “This climbing was quite hard, the last five metres to the summit was a hard and scary work, but at the end everything was fine. In this special moment up there on the summit I was watching Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy and I thanked the mountains and told them that I would come back in winter.”
Rolando Garibotti broke the news on his Facebook page Patagonia Vertical and noted, “Most of Cerro Pollone’s south face is a mix of low-angle ice climbing and navigation around crevasses and bergschrunds, but the last 30-metre summit tower is quite difficult. In 2011, Colin Haley reached a point around two metres below the summit, but rime over blank rock made him turn around. In 2013, Martin Castrillo and Hervé Barmasse climbed to the same high point as Haley.”
Garibotti added that Pucher, “Started from Piedra Negra at 5 a.m. and reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. He describes this as a perfect end to his trip and promises to come back in full fitness to try both Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in the winter.” Read an interview with Pucher on PlanetMountain.com here.