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Cerro Torre
Mountain/Rock

Cerro Torre

 
Cerro Torre

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina, South America

Lat/Lon: 49.19°S / 73.1°W

Object Title: Cerro Torre

Elevation: 10278 ft / 3133 m

 

Page By: Erik Beeler

Created/Edited: Nov 26, 2003 / Mar 6, 2008

Object ID: 152103

Hits: 87004 

Page Score: 97.57%  - 74 Votes 

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Overview

Cerro Torre is located in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in the Patagonia Region of Argentina. The Cerro Torre is located in a four mountain chain; Cerro Torre, Torre Egger, Punta Herron, and Cerro Standhart. Cerro Torre is the tallest of these four mountains. Cerro Torre rises in Argentine territory at the eastern edge of the Patagonian Ice Cap 50 miles north of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Cerro Torre is one of the worlds most coveted peaks because of its difficulty.

Cerro Torre is famous not for its height but rather its foul weather, its very long pointed shape and difficult technical climbs. Because the Patagonian Ice Cap is located near it Pacific storms are lifted and focused through a geographic effect that drops lots of precipitation and adds power to the winds making them fearsome. Even the toughest of climbers have to take a hard long look deep inside before climbing in the conditions that Cerro Torre can dish out. Climbs usually take three to eight days however it has been climbed in a day and a half. The weather on Cerro Torre is very bad with the 7000 foot south face seeming to have the worst weather. Often the top of Cerro Torre is covered in a crown of rime ice and some climbers have been known to call it a day just below this crown because of the difficulty of climbing the often over hanging ice.

Climbing Magazine says "Having an epic in Patagonia is like being mauled by a rabid dog - unpredictably violent and outrageously inevitable." Climbing No. 224, page 47.

In 1959, C. Maestri and T. Egger set out to reach the summit of Cerro Torre. After some time, Maestri was found half buried in the snow. He said they had reached the top, but Egger had been caught in an avalanche in the decent from the summit and buried. Maestri would later attempt the summit again in 1970 establishing the Compressor Route and smashing 70 bolts on his descent. (Egger's 1959 summit is disputed see the additions to this section for more info.)

First attempts- 1950.
North Face- Maestri and Egger- 1959 (Disputed)
The Lequeses- 1969
Compressor Route- Egger- 1970
Ragni Route, West Face- 1974
First alpine ascent- 1977
First alpine ascent of the Compressor Route- 1979
First winter ascent- Salvaterra, Giarolli, Sarchi, Caruso- 1985
First solo climb- Pedrini Frame- 1985
(Dates From Climbing Patagonia)

Getting There

One of the best ways to get the Cerro Torre is through the city of El Calafate and then to El Chalten.

There are two air transportation routes; one goes directly to the new El Calafate airport, but may not fly from Buenos Aires daily. The second route would be to fly first to the city of Rio Gallegos and then drive from there, along National Route Number 5 (asphalt) 316 km to El Calafate. There are several regular and tour bus services that go this way, taking about 5 hours to arrive.

To get to El Chalten from El Calafate head west on Rt 11, turn left (north) on Rt. 40. Drive past Lago Veidma to Rt. 23 and turn left (west). 23 will take you right into El Chalten. All roads between the two cities are "consolidated" and should be very passable.

El Calafate
There are many lodging options in El Calafate. The range of choices covers everything from complete five-stars hotels, small inns, renting cabins or, during the summer, camping. Also, going a few kilometers outside the village, you can stay in some of the traditional Patagonia Estancias that offer lodging.

As with any popular tourist destination it is important to plan ahead during the peak summer season if you want to make reservations in the city or you might find fully booked hotels so make those reservations in advance. The guided tourist trips also fill up fast so you might want to make those revervations early as well. In the off season, during winter, some hotels close so it is also a good practice to find out in advance if there is availability.

El Calafate is the gateway town to the Glaciers National Park however it did not have its own airport until December 2000. The brand new airport, named "El Calafate" is equipped with all the modern facilities and security equipment such as those found in international airports. The track is 2550 meters long, allowing big planes to land normally.

According to Santa Cruz Province's Tourist authorities, "with the new airport the tourist villa (El Calafate) will become the center of distribution for the Southern Andes area. It will enable seamless connection with nearby spots, like El Chaltén (National Capital of Trekking and gateway to Mount Fitz Roy) and will allow visitors to make the most of their stay, saving them many hours until now wasted in bus transfers".

El Chaltén
The town of El Chalten will serve as your gateway to Cerro Torre. El Chalten is the "National Capital of Trekking" for Arentina and offers many of the services you will need before making the approach trek to Cerro Torre. The National Parks Service has an office located at the entrance of El Chalten where climbers will need to register and get permits. Listed below are some numbers that may help when planning a trip to El Chalten and Cerro Torre.

The trail head is at the edge of El Chalten. D'Agostini campsite, near the base of Cerro Torre, is your most likely destination for any climbs on Cerro Torre but check with local guides for more specific information.

How To dial Argentina:
( Phone #= country prefix 54 + El Chalten area code 2962 + phone/fax)

Travel agencies
Alta Montaña
Lionel Terray 501 1° piso
493018

Chaltén Travel
Av. San Martín s/n local 1
492212
491833

Tourist information:
Comisión de Fomento El Chaltén
Av. Güemes 45
493011

Parques Nacionales
Seccional Lago Viedma
493004

Mountaineering guides:
Cottescu Pablo
493018

Del Castillo Alberto
493017

Tarditti Jorge
493013

(Check out the great web site for El Chalten)

{It may also be possible to access the park from Chile and Puerto Natales. I will do more research on this.}

Here is a page about Argentina: Culture, Travel etc.
The Country of Argentina

Red Tape

"Climbing permits are required in the National Park Office at the entrance of El Chalten. The permits are free, with the only requirement for the climbers to provide their full names and the peaks they are attempting to ascend." Contributed by Flearretta.

There is a $5.75 fee to enter the park which can be paid at the Park Service's information center located at the entrance to town. There are maps, pamphlets, and interpretive displays about the region's ecology. Hours of operation are 8am to 8pm.

From US Consulate:
"ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism and business."

U.S. Consulate Page On Argentina

When To Climb

Cerro Torre is usually climbed in January, November and December. Many of the ranches and other lodgings close out of season making the trip much more expensive. Also the already legendary weather gets worse during the off season.

Weather

Weather conditions during the summer season:
You should expect all kind of climate: sun, rain, perhaps some snow, and a lot of wind. Patagonia is famous for its tempestuous weather. You should expect conditions ranging from mild, warm days to stormy and windy, even in the same day.

Here is the Weather page for the area but remember the weather here often has nothing to do with the weather in the mountains.
Area Weather

Health

From the CDC website about Argentina. There is other good travel information located on the site so check it out before you go.

"The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Temperate South America. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
Hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
Malaria: if you are traveling to a malaria-risk area in this region, see your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see Malaria Information for Travelers to Temperate South America.
Rabies, pre-exposure vaccination, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
Typhoid vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors .
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended if you are traveling to northeastern forest areas in Argentina.
As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles."

Sources Of Information

The majority of the information found in this page was located in the many web pages linked to in the text or located in the links page.

The pictures posted by me were taken by Mark Horrell Mark Horrell.com

External Links

  • El Calafate
    City of El Calafate page with good info.
  • El Chalten
    Another good page about El Chalten with good pictures.
  • El Chalten
    El Chalten web page with great resources for planning a trip to this area.
  • Climbing Patagonia
    Nice page about climbing in Patagonia. Contains history and route information. In spanish.
  • CDC on Argentina

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-7 of 7    
flearretaUntitled Comment

flearreta

Voted 10/10

The first successful ascent (still debated today) was accomplished by Italian climber Cesare Maestri and Austrian climber Toni Egger on January 31, 1959 through Cerro Torre's north face. Egger died in an avalanche during their descent and Maestri barely survived to tell the story. Some members of the climbing community disregard Maestri assertion of having reached the summit of the Torre in 1959 and consider as the first ascent the one performed by Italian climbers Casimiro Ferrari, Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti and Guissepe Negri on the west face on January 13, 1974 (Ragni Route, 1200m., VI, A2, WI 6, 95º).





In May 1970, Maestri went back to the Torre in the middle of the violent Patagonian winter to shut up the disbelievers. With the help of a 180 kg. air compressor he drills 350 bolts in the southeast wall of the Torre in what is now famously known as the "Compressor Route". As a finishing touch and to make a statement, he smashes the last seven bolts and leaves the compressor hanging from the face of the granite wall.





Cerro Torre is mostly attempted by high caliber climbers from all around the world and is usually considered as the pinnacle of mixed rock/ice climbing. There is no "easy" route up the Torre, as most of the climbs are very technical and with large objective dangers.
Posted Nov 29, 2003 10:37 am
flearretaUntitled Comment

flearreta

Voted 10/10

Climbing permits are required in the National Park Office at the entrance of El Chalten. The permits are free, with the only requirement for the climbers to provide their full names and the peaks they are attempting to ascend.
Posted Nov 29, 2003 10:38 am
Erik BeelerUntitled Comment

Erik Beeler

Hasn't voted

{I have been taking some notes on altitude and its effects on the body and how to avoid AMS. I will flush out this section as I organize my notes. I will also post some studies on Ginko and how it helps with aclimitization to altitude. While Cerro Torre is not exceptionally high there have been recorded cases of severe AMS, HACE and HAPE at much lower altitudes.}





Altitude Notes:


Definition of High Altitude


High Altitude: 5000 - 11500 ft


Very High Altitude: 11500 - 18000 ft


Extreme Altitude: above 18000 ft








The Body’s reaction to altitude:


Certain normal physiological changes occur in every person who goes to altitude:





- Hyperventilation (breathing faster, deeper, or both)


- Shortness of breath during exertion


- Changed breathing pattern at night


- Awakening frequently at night


- Increased urination





As a climber ascends through the atmosphere, every breath contains fewer molecules of oxygen. A person must work harder to obtain oxygen, by breathing faster and deeper. This is noticed more with exertion, such as walking uphill. Being out of breath with exertion is normal, as long as the sensation of shortness of breath dissipates with rest. Despite the increased breathing, attaining normal blood levels of oxygen, blood saturation, is not possible at high altitude.





Preventing AMS:


The single most important factor in avoiding AMS is a gradual ascent. There is no way to tell how different people will acclimatize and even very well conditioned athletes can get AMS. In general try to do the following.





- If possible, you should spend at least one night at an intermediate elevation below 10,000 feet.


- Above 10,000 feet your sleeping elevation should not increase more than 1000-1500 feet per night.


- Every 3000 feet you should spend a second night at the same elevation.





What seems to really count is how high you sleep so climbers have followed the general guide line of climb high and sleep low. Exposing yourself to higher elevations helps begin your acclimatization to that altitude but also allows your body to sleep at a safer altitude.





Preventing Severe AMS:


Once you have AMS what can you do to avoid severe AMS? DON’T go up! Ascending any higher can be dangerous. Stay at the same altitude if you don’t improve then go down. Going down is the best way to treat AMS. Failure to do so could lead to HACE or HAPE.





Things To Avoid:


The following medications can slow breathing and should never be used by someone who has symptoms of altitude illness.





- Alcohol


- Sleeping pills except Acetazolamide


- Narcotic pain medications in more than modest doses





Sleeping pills:


Many people seem to have trouble sleeping at high altitudes and some develop disturbing breathing patters while sleeping. This leads some to look to sleeping pills for help however this can be actually make it easier to get altitude sickness





There are a few things you can do to help with periodic breathing. While acclimatizing the drug Acetazolamide can help. Also Melatonin is a over the counter aid that has no contradictions while at altitude but does not help everyone. The only sleep aid that I can find that has been shown to not disturb breathing while asleep is Zoldipem however as with any medication you need to speak with a physician.





Hydration:


Perhaps the most important thing you can do while at altitude is drink, a lot. As far as I can tell drinking is the single most important factor in terms of performance and general health while at high altitudes. You probably have heard it before but drink, drink, drink. Drinking helps fight off stuff like hypothermia, frostbite, diarrhea and constipation. You should plan on at least 3 liters of water per day but many swear by 5. If you are working really hard and sweating a lot 8 might be needed. One good way to tell if you are hydrated enough is that your urine will be clear. Yellow or orange urine indicates some level of dehydration. Over 50 percent of U.S. citizens are dehydrated! One reason for this is caffeine that is in coffee, tea, and most pops so you should either avoid these or drink more water. Doctors really like water hydration systems because they tend to encourage drinking fluids so think hard about getting one.
Posted Dec 9, 2003 9:56 am
wuedesauUntitled Comment

wuedesau

Hasn't voted

I have never heard about yellow fever in Argentina!
Posted May 10, 2004 5:26 am
dabriUntitled Comment

dabri

Hasn't voted

The first was Maestri with his disputed ascent in 1959, when he returned in 1970 he told he did not climb the final Ice-mushroom (about 40m. tall).





The final Ice-mushroom is part of the mountain so the summit of Cerro Torre is atop on it.





By that time many climbers and national teams claimed the ascent of Cerro Torre without having summited the final Ice-mushroom.


It seems that, more or less, half of the ascents of Cerro Torre are without summit.





From 1996 to 2001 no one has managed to climb to the true summit on top of the overhanging ice mushroom (see also: Cerro Torre - home of the icy Patagonian wind ).
Posted Feb 8, 2005 5:09 pm
dabriLat/Lon coordinates of Cerro Torre

dabri

Hasn't voted

The right coordinates of Cerro Torre are:





Lat. -49°17'34.43" S

Lon. -73° 5'53.63" W


Or:


Lat. -49.292897° S

Lon. -73.098231° W





and not 49.19°S / 73.1°W as indicated in the introductory note
Posted Mar 29, 2006 8:39 pm
BergrotRe: Lat/Lon coordinates of Cerro Torre

Bergrot

Hasn't voted

Unfortunately the former coordinates were correct. As one can check in Google Maps or Google Earth 49.29°S is the latitude of Cerro Torre.

Please return to the old corrdinates and the point in the map will be at the right place again.
Posted Sep 11, 2006 6:03 pm

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