Austrian alpinist Markus Pucher has made “one of the most harrowing ascent in Patagonian climbing history,” according to Rolando Garibotti.
Pucher soloed the Ragni Route, the classic west face, in a full-on white out. In January 2013, he soloed the route in a stunning three hours and 15 minutes. On Dec. 27, while all other climbers stayed off the mountain, Pucher reached the summit.
Pucher said after his climb, “I stood on the Summit of Cerro Torre. It was the second time for me that I free soloed the Torre. I have to admit that I was quite puzzled, as I stood up there in the snow storm. For me, the incredible experience was one of my toughest climbs ever.”
Garibotti wrote an extensive trip report on Pata Climb about Pucher’s ascent: “Upon reaching the last pitch he was unsure where to go. He tried to go straight up but desisted after five meters, realizing that the unconsolidated rime could give way any minute. His goggles were completely iced up, as were his gloves and his face. He could hardly see. He considered retreating but then decided that the unknown above held more sway that the certainties that lay below. By now he noticed that there was a half-pipe further right, so he down-climbed and traversed to it. The half-pipe led to the start of a tunnel. Here the wind picked up and ice crystals blew upwards hitting his face and making it virtually impossible to see. The tunnel was too narrow for his wide chest, so he clenched his teeth tightly and pushed on, muscling his way upward. Now he was in full on survival mode. He was in the wolf’s mouth and the only way out was up.”
Pucher is well-known for his role in David Lama’s recent film about free climbing Cerro Torre.