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Marco Pedrini Made Epic Solos and First Free Ascents

Marco Pedrini (1958-1986) is best known for doing the first solo ascent of Cerro Torre in November of 1985 via the Compressor Route. The ascent was filmed by Fulvio Mariani and the resulting documentary, Cumbre, is one of the best mountain films of all time. Pedrini was one of the leading alpinists of the time who excelled at free climbing.

He competed in Bardonecchia in 1986, the second ever climbing world cup, alongside the likes of Patrick Edlinger. In 1981, he made the first winter alpine style ascent of the Via Cassin on the Piz Badile with Danilo Gianinazzi and Michel Piola. In 1982, he made the first free ascent of the Bonatti Pillar on Petit Dru and in 1983, he made the first free ascent of Panoramix on Grand Capucin.

He was always climbing clean with little to no aid, allowing only for the use of a few cams or nuts. He climbed Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre without the help of a hammer and pitons, free-climbing with the least amount of gear hanging off his harness. He was found dead at the base of the west face of the Dru a few months after his Cerro Torre solo. It is believed he was descending from a solo ascent of the American Direct. He was 28 years old.

Marco Pedrini freeing Panoramix 5.12+ on Grand Capucin

Pedrini wrote about his Corro Torre solo in the 1987 Amercian Alpine Journal. He wrote: “It was very warm—indeed too warm. I climbed in T-shirt, trying to avoid the ice chunks that fell from the wall. Thanks to the rock shoes, I could climb quickly and do the aid pitches without using stirrups, going from bolt to bolt. In a few hours I reached the ice traverse, followed by the gully.

“At four in the afternoon I attacked the final wall and reached Maestri’s compressor. This was certainly the strangest thing I have ever seen in the mountains. Anyone who would throw it off the slope after having climbed up to here solely thanks to the bolts driven by it would be a hypocrite.

“For the next 30 meters Maestri had chopped his bolts while descending. Bridwell replaced them with aluminum dowels, knifeblades and copperheads. I drew out the other rope and belayed myself. After 25 meters of A3 on various rugosities and bits of rotten rope, I reached the snow tongue that descends from the summit mushroom.

“I found the rest of Maestri’s broken bolts, which proves to me that in 1970 he reached the summit of Cerro Torre3. For the umpty-umpth time I put on the outerboots and crampons over my rock shoes. Then everything became soft and I exited onto the snow with crampons and ice axe and climbed onto the frightful ice mushroom which covers the summit of Cerro Torre.” Watch the first solo of Cerro Torre in Cumbre below.


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