In this video, we see the first free ascent of the South African route on the east face of the Central Tower of Paine, Patagonia, by Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva and Ben Ditto back in 2009.

The Belgians, Favresse and Villanueva, and American Ditto spent 13 days on the route with “some of the most amazing free climbing we have ever encountered.” The route was frist climbed in 1974 by Paul Fatti, Roger Fuggle, Art McGarr, Mervyn Prior, Mike Scott and Richard Smithers, all from South Africa.

“We spent 13 days on the wall accompanied by our trusty mandolin, tin whistle and harmonica,” said Favresse. “We encountered some amazing free climbing pitches with very sustained climbing mostly in the 5.11 range almost never below 5.10+. We estimate the two hardest pitches around 7b+/5.12c. One of them is a very pumpy fingertip enduro corner while the other is a face climbing boulder problem with a spectacular sequence using a crystalline pocket. We added one bolt to protect this free variation (away from the aid line). Another main free crux of the route is a mega sustained steep 5.11+ offwidth which was very run out with the only number 6# Camelot we had. Three of the pitches were redpointed after the summit due to icy conditions.”

The South African Route

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