Cerro Ñato South-East Ridge Luce de Leche (Milky Light)
TD inf. / 70º 900 mt.
First ascent: Alberto Rampini CAAI and Davide Brighenti AGAI (Patagonia '87 Italian Expedition) 4/11/1987
Cerro Ñato is an
attractive peak in Cerro Torre-Fitz Roy Group, situated South to Cerro Torre between Cerro Adela Sur and Cerro Doblado.
Luce de Leche (Milky Light) rises along its mighty iced spur facing South-East.
The approach trek to Cerro Ñato starts from El Chalten, a small mountain village in Argentina, Santa Cruz Province, on the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas. The village offers some basic shops, phone, internet facilities and accomodations such as camping and beds.
At the entrance of the village there is a Park Office, where trekkers and climbers have to register and obtain permits (they are free: the only cost is the Park entrance fee). From El Chalten starts the trail to Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, so during the peak summer season there is a lot of tourists, trekkers and alpinists.
The village is located about 230 Km North of El Calafate , the real gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park, and the tour requires about 4 hours, on paved rote (daily buses).
El Calafate provides all modern facilities and all price accomodations (hotels, estancias, cabins, camping).
The town is situated on the south side of Lake Argentino, about 320 km Northwest from Río Gallegos (5 hours drive on good paved route; daily regular bus services).
One can fly directly to the new Calafate Airport or, alternatively, fly to the most important Rio Gallegos Airport (daily flies from Buenos Aires) and then drive for about 300 Km (5 hours) to Calafate along National Route Nr. 5.
From El Chalten a good path, following Rio Fitz Roy valley, leads to Bridwell Camp and Maestri Camp at Laguna Torre (camping place), from where a “mirador” can be reached: you can enjoy a spectacular view on the impressive glaciers and peaks (Cerro Torre, Cerro Adela, Cerro Ñato). The trail requires about 2,5 hours.
From the “mirador” a thin trail leads down on Glaciar Grande, which is crossed diagonally leftwards to gain the base of the impressive Cerro Ñato iced Southeast Ridge. The best choice is edificating an igloo or making a cave at the base of the wall: a tent may be not a good idea in case of wind, due to the absence of repairs.
CERRO ÑATO SOUTH EAST RIDGE
Luce de Leche (Milky Light)
TD inf. / 70º 900 mt.
Alberto Rampini CAAI and Davide Brighenti AGAI - (Patagonia '87 Italian Expedition) 4/11/1987.
From the bivouac hole at the base of the mountain climb gently angled snow slopes reaching the beginning of the ridge. Follow it, sometimes a little on the left, sometimes on the sharp ice ridge. The ridge rises up more and more steep and offers a technical climb because of ice quality, similar to icefall one.
In the upper part of the ridge a main bergschrund provides vertical-overhanging climb and then steep gullies avoiding rocks. A pair of technical axes is required.
The final wall is easier on good snow.
First ascent was realized in about 6 hours.
The descent route follows South West Ridge to Paso Doblado, a long classic route (Castiglioni, Dubosc, Gilberti 1937 route, the peak's first route to be climbed and the normal one to the summit). From Paso Doblado the bivouac hole at the base of SE ridge is reached along the glacier between Cerro Ñato and Cerro Doblado.
Essential GearRope, crampons, two technical tools each climber, ice screws. Helmet is a good choice.
"Patagonia Terra Magica per alpinisti e viaggiatori" Gino Buscaini and Silvia Metzeltin, Dall'Oglio Editore
"CAI CLUB ALPINO ITALIANO - Rivista Mensile 1988/4" pag.76