Aguja Poincenot - North face
8. The Old Smuggler's Route
600m 6a+ C1
Jim Donini and Gregory Crouch (USA), 8-9/12/1996.
Description. The route climbs one of the obvious crack systems up the north face. The first two pitches are in common with the 40º Gruppo Ragni route. Head to a huge ledge on pitch 4, climbing a corner leading to its the right edge. From there climb sustained cracks to the top of the north face, followed by difficult route finding and some alpine trickery –including one rappel- to reach the summit (leave the rope fixed in the rappel to return!). This is a high quality climb, that involves 20 pitches of mostly free climbing terrain.
History. After a failed attempt they completed the route over two days climbing alpine style, and without the use of bolts or pitons. They named their route after an Argentine brand of cheap whisky that kept them going through the numerous bad weather spells. Twenty years before, Donini had already done a fair amount of Old Smuggler’s drinking, during the first ascent of Torre Egger in 1976. The route has been repeated at least once.
Approach. Niponino to Couloir Poincenot.
Descent. Descend the route.
Bibliography. AAJ 1997 p. 252-254; High Magazine 176 p. 80-81; Rock and Ice Magazine 78 p. 68-78; Annales GHM 96/97 p. 39; Gregory Crouch (2002) Enduring Patagonia, Random House, USA (p. 115-141).