01690 720214

Stu McAleese's thoughts on Cerro Torre

4 Feb 2013

On the 13th January Dave Turnbull, Dan Donovan and myself climbed Cerro Torre in Patagonia. The climb involved a 4.5 day round trip from Chalten, during a great 4-day weather window. We climbed the Ragni route on the West face of Cerro Torre, which was in great condition this year.

Day 1 was a hike into the Torre Valley with a bivouac at Niponeno and Day 2 involved a climb over Col Standhardt then down to the West Face of Cerro Torre above the Patagonian Ice Cap. The team then had to climb up through snow and mixed climbing terrain to another bivouac just under the Col Esperanza.

With an early start we climbed the Ragni route on Day 3, reaching the summit around 2pm. The descent involved abseiling the route on mainly ice threads returning to the bivouac around 7pm.

Day 4 was the trek out via the Ice cap, long and at times with complex route finding down the glaciers toward the end. We decided to stay the fourth night in a little Mountain hut called Piedra de fraile, returning to Chalten in the morning.

The Ragni route on Cerro Torre is known for its difficult rime and ice flutings, however this year there was little rime and we climbed excellent ice for most of the route and the last pitch involved climbing the summit mushroom through an ice tunnel! With afternoon temps rising in the sun a speedy descent was necessary. Amazing climbing on the route with stunning ice formations everywhere, mixed terrain in the middle and 90 degree ice on the Elmo, Headwall and final pitch. We enjoyed the summit for a while in perfect weather with little or no wind, and views all the way over the Ice cap on one side and Fitzroy on the other - totally amazing!

Difficult, long approaches to the West face of Cerro Torre, carrying a minimal amount of food made the adventure a huge undertaking and a serious climb. We all felt it on arrival back in Chalten.
We were all relieved that we had put in plenty of training prior to the trip but were all still totally exhausted (not to mention a little weathered).

Everything seem to fall in place. A strong team, up to date beta on the approach and climb, a great weather forecast and excellent conditions on the climb, all made climbing Cerro Torre amazing!

Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Find out what's going on at the National Mountain Sports Centre between any date range on this handy new search page

Latest News


Environment Symposium For Mountain LeadersThe 2017 Plas y Brenin Environment Symposium for Mountain Leaders and Mountaineering Instructors wil....


Fast Track Instructor Scheme<br/>Open DaysJoin us for a free information day on 18th September and find out how the Fast Track Instructor Sche....


Peak Performance For Plas y Brenin Paddling TeamWe are delighted to announce that we've launched an exciting new partnership with kayak clothing man....


BMC Women Outdoors Week 5-15 Aug 2017Come and get active for the BMC's Women Outdoors Week here at Plas y Brenin. We have talks, activiti....


Scotland Courses 2018The dates for our 2018 Scotland Courses have just been released. So if you are looking to gain more ....

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

Adventure Sport
Summer Camps (Age 12-17)

Summmer Camps For Young People Aged 12-17Young climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mtb riders aged 12-17. Develop your outdoor skills with our top coaches on one of our residential summer camps.

Enhanced Learning Credits

Enhanced Learning CreditsThe Enhanced Learning Credit Administration Service offers funding for armed forces personnel. Plas y Brenin is able to accept ELCAS funding for a few specific non residential courses.

Weather Forecast, Tides and Surf Conditions

Find out what the weather's doing in North Wales over the next five days.

Review your holiday or course here

Review Your Course
Help us by reviewing your holiday or course here

Adventure Map

Working alongside UCLan
to educate
outdoor professionals

University Of Central LancashireFind out how we are working with one of the country's top universities to develop lasting careers in the outdoors.