Cordon Adela - Adela Central to Punta Luca.
TS. Travesía del Cordón Adela
Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri (Italy), 7/2/1958.
Description. Starting from the Icecap, from a cirque south of Circo de los Altares named by the first ascentionists Circo de las Cascadas located at the base of Cerro Grande’s west ridge, climb a glacial tongue leading to snow ramps above to reach the summit of Adela Central (see Adela Central West face). From there traverse southwards, to Adela Sur, then climb the north ridge of El Ñato, descend to the Paso Doblado and climb the north ridge of El Doblado to descend to the wide col to the south. Follow the ridge southwards passing a small bump, Cerro Paganella and climb Cerro Grande via its north ridge. Descend to the southwest and climb Punta Luca via its north ridge. Descend the heavily glaciated west face of Grande back to the Circo de las Cascadas. The descents from El Doblado and Punta Luca might require rappels (the first ascentionists rappeled).
History. This impressive traverse took place only two days after the first ascent of Cerro Mariano Moreno, a 48-hour tour-de-force that was carried out with Argentines René Eggmann and Folco Doro Altán. A few days before than they had made an unsuccessful attempt on the west face of Cerro Torre. Hoping to return the following year they left on Cerro Torre most of their technical gear and therefore had only minimal gear to complete this ridge traverse. About this lack of equipment Bonatti wrote, “The only equipment at our disposal during that climb were ropes, ice-axes and crampons, the kit that the old school of mountaineers would have had. It is not only with artificial aids that man can overcome the greatest difficulties but also with something else, greater and within oneself, which is worth far more”. They had only intended to climb Adela, but getting to the summit at an early hour (10:30AM), and impressed by the scenery they decided to keep going, “Affascinati da tanta bellezza restammo lassú per oltre mezza’ora e in quello stato di fervore nacque l’idea di percorrere l’intera e lunga cresta sud del Cordon Adela, passando di cima in cima”.
While descending south from the summit of Adela Sur they were surprised to meet Cesare Maestri and Luciano Eccher coming up. Of this encounter Maestri wrote, “We found the snow all yellow where they had pissed. That was their greeting to us.” Bonatti recalls a very different story, mentioning that they had a snack together, and that Mauri and him pointed them to yet another unclimbed summit. Photos taken by Bonatti of all of them together prove that the encounter was far more cordial than Maestri recalls.
From the col Trento (Adela Sur-Ñato) they climbed the north ridge of El Ñato reaching the summit at 1PM and descended to Paso Doblado and to the north ridge of El Doblado, reaching the summit at 3PM. At 4:15 PM they were in the summit of Cerro Grande and seeing yet another summit to the south they continued on. They reached the top of Punta Luca (first ascent) by 5:15PM and descended west, back to Circo de las Cascadas, reaching their camp 15 hours after starting.
This climb marked the end of their expedition and as Bonatti wrote the end “of a great adventure of a handful of men, who by conquering the mountains had managed to escape from the fangs of life”. This ascent goes to show the incredible skills that these two climbers had at the time. A few months later they completed the first ascent of Gasherbrum IV, a mountain that still today garners a lot of respect.
During this traverse they completed the first ascent of Adela Central, Adela Sur and Punta Luca. They also did the second ascents of El Doblado, El Ñato and Cerro Grande.
In 1994 German climber Robert Jasper repeated part of this traverse. After a five-hour approach from basecamp (via a rocky gully left of the obvious rock pyramid east and below Adela Sur) he soloed a route in the SE face of Adela Sur and then continued south, along the ridge, climbing cerros El Ñato, El Doblado and Grande before descending via Grande’s east ridge back to campo De Agostini 22 hours after departing. Due to bad weather his ascent included a 5-hour bivouac in a snowcave between El Ñato and El Doblado.
Approach. Paso del Viento.
Pro. Bonatti and Mauri used only a rope.
Descent. Back to the west, to the starting point.
Bonatti and Mauri: CAI-Rivista Mensile 1958/3-4 p. 114; CAI- Rivista Mensile 1959/1-2 p. 32-39; AAJ 1959 p. 317; Lo Scarpone 1958/1 p. 1; Lo Scarpone 1958/2 p. 1; Lo Scarpone 1958/5 p. 1; Lo Scarpone 1958/20 p.1; Mundo Argentino 10/9/58 #2480 p. 27-35; Leoplan a.24 #572 1/6/58 p. 1-8; Bonatti W. (1961), Le Mie Montagne, Zanichelli, Bologna (p. 191-214); Bonatti W. (1979) On the Heights, Diadem Books, London (p. 153-169); Rho F. and Mauri F. (1997) Carlo Mauri - Il Viaggiatore dei Sogni, Ferrari Ed., Clusone (p. 48-57); Bonatti W. (year?) Montagne de una vita, Ed? p. 137-152.
Jasper: Alpin magazine 1995/3 p. 8-9; High magazine 152 p. 14; Klettern magazine 1995/6 p. 37; Vertical magazine 78 p. 49; Climber magazine 5/95, p. 7.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Cerro Adela Sur, Cerro El Ñato, Cerro
Doblado y Cerro Grande,- west face
Cerro Grande, Cerro El Ñato, Cerro
Adela Sur, Central y Norte - east face
Cerro Doblado, Cerro El Ñato y Cerro
Adela Sur - east face