Cerro Torre Additions and Corrections

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flearreta - Nov 29, 2003 10:37 am - Voted 10/10

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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.


flearreta - Nov 29, 2003 10:38 am - Voted 10/10

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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.

Erik Beeler

Erik Beeler - Dec 9, 2003 9:56 am - Hasn't voted

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{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.


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.


wuedesau - May 10, 2004 5:26 am - Hasn't voted

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I have never heard about yellow fever in Argentina!


dabri - Feb 8, 2005 5:09 pm - Hasn't voted

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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 ).


dabri - Mar 29, 2006 8:39 pm - Hasn't voted

Lat/Lon coordinates of Cerro Torre

The right coordinates of Cerro Torre are:

Lat. -49°17'34.43" S
Lon. -73° 5'53.63" W


Lat. -49.292897° S
Lon. -73.098231° W

and not 49.19°S / 73.1°W as indicated in the introductory note


Bergrot - Sep 11, 2006 6:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Lat/Lon coordinates of Cerro Torre

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.

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