Ermanno Salvaterra Returns To Patagonia’s Torre Egger

The “Man of Torre” is back in his beloved Patagonia. Ermanno Salvaterra gained that nickname after his many, many trips to the Southern American spires.

He discovered Patagonia in 1982, thanks to the recommendation of legendary alpinist Renato Casarotto. Thereafter, Salvaterra made numerous climbs to Cerro Torre, where he opened five new routes and achieved the first winter ascent.

Now 67, Salvaterra leaves his mountain hut in the Dolomites for Patagonia one more time for his fifth attempt on the West Face of Torre Egger, Cerro Torre’s neighbor.

Salvaterra is determined to open a new line right up the centre of the face. “It must cross the heart of the wall,” he said.

Three good friends of his, Andrea Sarchi, Lorenzo Nadali, and Pierino Dal Pra first tried the idea back in 1996 but abandoned their attempt after a few pitches.

Ermanno Salvaterra during a previous attempt on Torre Egger’s West Face. Photo: El Correo

A deferred dream

Several times over the years, Sarchi asked Salvaterra to join him for another try, but Salvaterra was focused on other climbs, and the timing never worked out. By the time Salvaterra was ready in 2011, Sarchi had abandoned his long-cherished goal. Too much work, he said.

But not for Salvaterra. The new route project stuck in his mind. With other partners, he tried the climb. And kept trying.

Salvaterra first attempted Torre Egger’s West Face in 2013, but the fierce Patagonian winds eventually forced him down. In 2014 and 2016, too many avalanches. In 2018, together with Alessandro Beltrami, Mirko Povinelli, and Giorgio Roat, he almost made it. They turned around just 200m from the top.

Salvaterra (second from the left) and his Torre Egger team. Photo:


This time, fellow Italians Roberto Pedrotti and Fabrizio Rossi, plus Argentinean Marquino Scallabrine, are joining him. They boarded a flight to Patagonia a couple of days ago.

The West Face of Torre Egger has been a particular magnet for Italian climbers since the 1980s. Yet the first route was only opened in 2013, by Matteo Della Bordella and Luca Schiera.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.