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Climbing Patagonia's Cerro Torre
Photos from the ultralight climb that finally retraced Cesare Maestri's  controversial alleged first-ascent route   Text and photograph by Rolando Garibotti
Photo: Cerro Torre's Mushroom Snow Cap
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This last pitch on the north face was a great worry for us because we did not know if we would find a way through the mushroom cap of snow and ice, pictured right above me. These peculiar formations consist of unconsolidated frost that grows due to the moisture in the westerly wind. The mushroom cap is particularly difficult to climb because its airy consistency doesn't provide good traction and it can be very fragile.

This photo of me was taken on the last pitch (rope length) we climbed on the north face before we exited onto the west ridge of Cerro Torre, where we joined the Ragni di Lecco route, first climbed in 1974 by Italians Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari, and Pino Negri, which I believe was the true first ascent of the mountain. Along this route we ascended four more pitches (about 150 meters or 492 feet) to reach the summit. We named our new route El Arca de los Vientos (the Ark of the Winds).

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