Urubko and Barnasse Target New Routes in Patagonia

Patagonian spires have beckoned climbers like a nearly-mythical El Dorado since the 1980s. The highly technical climbs on pristine granite and ice mushrooms, the fang-like vistas and unpredictable weather have made of Patagonia a must-go for climbing’s big guns. This year, even a “winter lord” like Denis Urubko is giving this side of the planet a try, with some cool results already.

Urubko and María “Pipi” Cardell have just opened a new variation on Cerro Solo (Cordon Adela in El Chaltén, Chile). The couple seized a windless, sunny day and jumped up the wall, pioneering a section of the upper part via a rocky spur. Cerro Solo was just a preparatory climb, though: Urubko and Cardell will next pursue a new line up Cerro Torre, their main goal. The two roped up earlier this year for a new route on the northwest face of Mount Ushba, in the Caucasus.

Cordon Adela, left, and the unmistakable needle of Cerro Torre. Photo: Patricio Jiménez Barros

Hervè Barmasse is currently on Cerro Pergorgio’s northwest face, where he made a first ascent with Christian Brenna and Giovanni Ongaro 10 years ago. This time, he hopes to open a new line with Mauricio Giordani, Mirco Grasso and Francesco Favilli. “I’m sure it will be not so easy, but of course it will be fun,” he wrote. On Sunday, the team left El Chalten and trekked 22km to the base of the wall, loaded with gear and supplies. Like every expedition to this part of the world, their success will depend largely on Patagonia’s fickle weather, he admitted.

Herve Barmasse on the way to Cerro Piergiorgio, Patagonia

Hervè Barmasse and team approaching Cerro Piergiorgio from El Chalten, in the heart of Patagonian Chile. Photo: Hervè Barmasse