Aguja Desmochada - West face
1. El Condor
550m 7b+ A2 (6c A2)
Jim Bridwell, Greg Dunmire and Jay Smith (USA), 9-12/2/1988.
Description. Follows a natural but not so obvious looking line up the west face. Much scrambling, some of which may require belaying, is involved in reaching the base of the route, up a right leaning ramp with lots of unstable rock. This ramps allows the route avoid the lower step of Desmochada’s SW face. The route itself is on clean solid rock. The second pitch is probably one of the most aesthetic bits of climbing in the entire valley. A rope was left fixed across the horizontal traverse on the forth pitch to allow retreat in case of a storm. 15 pitches total.
History. The route was completed over five days; two were devoted to fixing the first four pitches in unstable weather; on day three the first ascentionists climbed to the top of pitch 9 where they bivied (ledge for two and a half people) reaching the summit the following day and bivying one more time during the descent. This line was first attempted by Italians Cesare and Vincenzo Ravaschietto in 1986, who were forced to retreat after climbing two pitches (the two bolts in the lower pitches were placed during this attempt).
In 2007 American Bean Bowers and Argentine Ramiro Calvo climbed the first three pitches of El Condor and traversed right to Golden Eagle along which they continued to reach the Eagle's Nest, a big ledge where Golden Eagle joins The Sound and the Fury. From here they attempted to keep climbing straight, hoping to establish an independet more direct finish, up a impressive undercling flake, but bad weather forced them to retreat. In 2010 Americans Whit Magro and Josh Wharton attempted the same line, climbing a little higher than Bowers and Calvo but they were also forced to retreat. In 2011 Magro and Wharton, together with Nate Opp climbed this link up to the top calling it the Brass Parrot variant. Magro redpointed every pitch with difficulties to 7b+, the crux being a V6 boulder problem in the second pitch of El Condor. This ascent took place during the first ascent of the Wave Effect traverse.
The bits of fixed rope in the lower and upper ledges are from the Ravaschiettos, along with a long piece of water hose which likely they brought up to protect their fixed lines from the wind. Really sad to see all this wall-garbage left there.
The “condor” was considered by the Incas the king of the skies and adored as the God of the air under the name “Kuntur”.
Descent. Descend to the notch just to the north of the summit (3 rappels), then traverse 50 meters (3) towards the north to reach a shoulder from where two more rappels lead to the notch and ramp at the base of Aguja De La Silla. Downclimb and rappel (just one) a few hundred meters towards the west, from where three more rappels lead to the ramp used to access the base of the route. It could be easier to descend down El Facon or any of the other SW face routes.
First ascent. AAJ 1989 p. 56-65; Rock and Ice magazine 32 p. 18-27; Bridwell J. (1992) Climbing Adventures, ICS Books, Merrillville - IN, USA (p.160-170).
Ravaschietto: Pareti Magazine 3 p. 20.