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Villanueva and Hanssens conquer Cerro Torre via the Ragni route

Villanueva and Hanssens conquer Cerro Torre via the Ragni route

Sean Villanueva and Stéphane Hanssens took advantage of the perfect ice conditions in Patagonia to climb the legendary Cerro Torre, also known as the impossible mountain. The duo reached the top on December 25. They went up via the south flank of the mountain, taking the Ragni Route (600m 90 M4). The route was opened in 1974 when an Italian quartet consisting of Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari and Pino Negri. Experts such as Rolando Gariboti and Collin Haley deem this route the nicest ice climb in the world.
Sean said “It went very well, even with our limited ice climbing experience. We had only climbed on ice for one week in our entire lives. It is also the first time we reached the top of a mountain not using our climbing shoes.” Sean emphasizes that the conditions were exceptional. Every year, several climbers try to summit this mountain, but only 22 of them were successful without using the ladder of the Compressor route (which doesn’t exist anymore).
After this ice climb, Sean and Stephane spent some time bouldering in the valley. Not long after climbing Wasabi two weeks earlier, Stephane is still on a roll, sending two new 8As.


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28 climbers up the Ragni Route.

According to various estimates as many as 28 people climbed the Ragni route on Cerro Torre over Christmas, five people on the 24th, the reminder on the 25th. First on the summit were Germans Markus Brand and Thomas Steber followed by Argentine guide Max Odell, with Agustin Raselli and a client (second guided ascent of the peak and route - German guide Michi Wärthl did the first guided ascent earlier this year). The following morning Fred Degoulet and Ben Guigonnet (France) climbed the last pitch and summited at 7:30AM, followed later in the day by Dante Alegria, Julian Casanova and Pablo Pontoriero (Argentina); Colin Haley (US) and Jon Walsh (Canada) -this was Colin's second ascent of the route in less than a month-; Max Fischer and Cory Hall (Canada) with Luca Vallata (Italy); Alberto (last name?) and Bruno (last name?) (Italy); Sean Villanueva and Stephane Hanssens (Belgium); Sigbjorn Veslegard and Ture Bjornstad (Norway) with Anna Karin Berggren (Sweden) - second female ascent of the route; Ezequiel Manoni and Fideo Molina (Argentina); Victor (last name?) and Pedro Fina (Argentina); two Basque climbers (names?). Doug Shepherd and Jared (last name?) (USA) the 26/12/2012.

Around 80 people had climbed the route since its first ascent, now the number has jumped to well over a hundred.

The climb this season involves mostly well protected ice climbing, with little to no rime climbing. Because of the diminishing rime many old fixed ropes, ladders and other "wall garbage" is surfacing. In the last years we had thought that the route was reasonably clean, but that appears not to be the case. The fixed ropes that go from the bottom to the top were abandoned during the filming of Werner Herzog's "Scream of Stone" in the early 1990s. The cable ladders date back to the early 1970s. The rope fixed in the traverse at the start of the last pitch appears to have been left earlier in the season. It is unclear why.

After a recent ascent of the Ragni route Austrian climber Max Berger wrote "Having climbed Cerro Torre in 1994 via the Maestri Via Ferrata I am more than happy that I reached the summit again by fair means climbing one of the most outstanding routes of the massif! The Ragni is the most beautiful line I ever climbed and should be on the wish list of each climber."

bron: www.pataclimb.com



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