Loma Blanca (ca. 2200m).
Italians Luigi Carrel, Carlo Cassera, Alberto Maria De Agostini and Giuseppe Pellissier did the first ascent of this peak the 30/1/1936. They were supported by two Chileans, Barrientos and Perez. They climbed the mountain via easy but very loose slopes on the west face. A few hundred meters below the summit they were surprised to find numerous Ammonites (Inocéramus) and Belemnites.
Padre Alberto María De Agostini (1883-1960) was a Salesian missionary for the Società Salesiana Don Bosco. He was a very enthusiastic explorer and photographer. In the almost 50 years that he spent between Tierra del Fuego and the southern Andes he visited the Chaltén massif in several occasions and was one of the first to accomplish ascents of importance. Between December of 1930 and January of 1931 together with Egidio Feruglio, Evaristo Croux and Leone Bron he explored the east and southeast flanks of the Fitz Roy range. He returned the following summer season (1931-32) to accomplish the first ascent of Cerro Eléctrico in company of Mario Derriard and again in 1933 to explore the northwest side of Fitz Roy. In 1935-36 he visited the area with two guides from Cervinia, with whom he completed the first ascent of Cerro Loma Blanca (mentioned above) and the first reconnaissance of the Marconi group and of Gorra Blanca. Other visits followed, but by then his explorations, writing and photography had sparked the desire to visit the area in a few other people and he decided it was time to move on, continuing his explorations on other remote corners of the southern tip of the Americas.
De Agostini was the author of numerous publications including classics of the geographic literature of the area such as “I miei viaggi nella Terra del Fuoco” and “Andes Patagónicos” first published in 1923 and 1941 respectively. With its striking pictures of the Patagonian peaks Andes Patagonicos, more than any other book helped to spark interest on this region amongst the European climbers, specially Italians. It was first published in Buenos Aires in 1941 with a second updated edition in 1945 and was finally published in Italy in 1949.
Regarding Padre Alberto María de Agostini the renowned Italian alpinist Walter Bonatti wrote: “Everything I knew about the Patagonian Cordillera I had learned from the man who, more than any other, had been closely linked to these lands, having devoted to them forty-five years of intense and careful research - the Salesian father, Alberto de Agostini.... To this pioneer figure, the explorer and student of Patagonia, I give my thanks. It was through his invaluable work that I was able to understand and to face the problems of this fascinating corner of the earth”.
In his 1949 book Monts Pacifique the french writer Saint Loup wrote, “Le pere De Agostini, qui venait trop tard pour prendre rang parmi les pionniers de l’ andinisme scientifique, et trop tôt pour fixer le style de l’andinisme acrobatique, l’a exploré avec la conscience des premieres et les vielléités d’un homme qui entrevoyait l’avenir du second.”
Bibliography. De Agostini A. M. (1949) Ande Patagoniche, Società Cartografica Giovanni De Agostini, Milano; Andes Patagonicos (segunda ed) 1945 Talleres Graficos, G. Kraft, Bs. As; CAI-Alpinisti Italiani nell Mondo 1953 p. 310; CAI- Alpinisti Italiani nell Mondo 1972/2 p. 817; Mario Fantin (1967) Italiani Sulle Montagne dell Mondo, Capelli, CISDAE, Bologna (p. 267-268); Bonatti W. (1979) On the Heights, Diadem Books, London.