From the Estancia Cerro Paine, take the trail that leads first south, then west up the Rio Ascencio valley to the base camp used by the Italians in 1963 during their first ascent of the South Tower. From here one must shuttle loads up the valley past the linga trees, and then up a giant moraine to the glacial lake below and to the east of the Towers. Hike up a snow gully to the left of the cliffs at the head of the lake. A long and sometimes steep slog up the glacier leads to campsites on top of a 900' rock outcropping below the East Face of the South Tower.
This route was climbed by Swiss climber Michel Piola and French climber Vincent Sprungli in January 1992. They were awarded the prestigious Piolet d' Or for this climb. This climb involves approximately 2970 feet of climbing with a fair amount of both difficult ( 5.10c ) free climbing and difficult ( A4 ) aid climbing. Described as a " superb big wall " with a steep difficult centeral section. Most of the second half of the climb is on the " magnificent red granite " the Towers are known for. This climb shares pitches 16 - 21 with our East Face / Mala Pata 1984 route attempt. I can certainly attest that this climb would indeed be a superb climb!
See the 1993 American Alpine Journal ( pages 189 - 194 ) for more information.
An A4 big wall rack is undoubtedly needed as the 1st ascent party mentions using numerous hooks, knifeblades and copperheads. I would recommend a pin rack of rurps to 1 1/2" angles, hooks, heads and 2 - 3 each wired stoppers and camming devices. Bring crampons and ice axes.
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