Patagonia: Amazing O’Driscoll Completes Skyline Traverse of the 4 Torres del Paine

Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll continues to raise the standards of difficulty in Patagonia. Shortly after free-climbing Riders on the Storm, he returned to the Torres del Paine massif for a world’s first: the traverse of the four spires following the skyline in the shape of a double “M”.

O’Driscoll climbed solo from Feb. 22-25, making the best of a short weather window and overcoming the tiredness of 18 days freeing the legendary Riders on the Storm on the Central Torre del Paine. He accomplished that feat with Nico Favresse, Siebe Vanhee, and photographer Drew Smith.

Followed the skyline

“While several traverses have been done of the Towers, none had followed the entire skyline or included the fourth tower, known as La Peineta,” Patagonia Vertical reported. “[O’Driscoll] concluded that a southwest to northeast traverse is what made the most geographic sense, starting via the west ridge of the South Tower, to tackle the south faces of Central & North Towers, plus the Peineta.”

The routes on the traverse were: Il Lungo Sogno (900m 60˚ 5.10 A2) up the west ridge of the south tower, with a first bivy; then down to Col Concor where he spent a second night; then the Kearney-Knight route (850m 5.10 A2) to the summit of Torre Central and down the Bonington-Whillans route, “reaching Col Bich when it was already dark,” wrote Patagonia Vertical.

O’Driscoll didn’t stop there. Instead, he pushed up the Monzino route (200m 5.10b) on Torre Norte through the night, snatching just two hours of sleep below the summit. Finally, he descended via the Spirito Libero route and immediately got to work on the last and fourth tower, La Peineta.

O’Driscoll climbed La Peineta via the Puro Filete route (300m 5.11 A1)  on the south face. He summited, traversed under the summit ridge, and rappeled down the opposite side of the spire via the Agordino route.

Read more on Patagonia Vertical.

Torres del Paine with red line showing route.

The Double ‘M’ on Torres del Paine. Photo: Shutterstock/Explorersweb

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.