Aguja Saint-Exupery - Southwest face
550m 6b C1 (6c via variation)
Hans Bärnthaler and Ewald Lidl (Austria), 14-15 and 20-23/11/1987.
Description. Follows a series of obvious corners and crack systems up the south buttress. The climbing is very sustained and the rock mostly good, although there is a healthy amount of loose blocks. Best not to climb this route during very dry or warm periods. Fifteen pitches lead to Punta Cristina (the south summit of Saint Exupery, see below). From there a 50-meter rappel and another 3 pitches lead to the main summit.
History. The first ascensionists christened the south summit of Saint Exupery Punta Cristina. The name does not refer to the populist yet über-botoxed Argentine president. They also christened the col at the base of the route, between Saint Exupery and De l'S, Col de los Austriacos. Free ascent: In 2004 Jonny Copp and Josh Wharton (USA) climbed a three pitch variation left of the original line, avoiding the steep dihedral at the start, completing a free ascent (line 8.1 in Saint Exupery west face photo). The original line will likely go free at around 7a. Copp and Wharton found several bolts placed next to easily-protectable cracks. Earlier that year those same bolts enraged Swiss climber Jvan Tresch to the point of turning him into climbing’s own Incredible Hulk and he removed one with his bare hands... see Crouch-Brooks route.
Approach. Polacos and Col de los Austriacos.
Descent. Descend via the same route. All belays in place.
Bibliography. AAJ 1988 p.175.