Punta Herron - West pillar – West and north face
3. La Gioconda
800m 6b A2
Mauro Giovanazzi and Ermanno Salvaterra (IT), 8/11/1998.
Description. This line climbs the west and north face of the west pillar of Punta Herron to reach a small saddle behind the summit of the pillar, at the western end of Herron’s west ridge, some 300 meters below the summit. The ridge leading from there to the summit is still unclimbed. It is a very appealing line. Most definitely worth the walk! It is surprising that this and the nearby Gracias a la Vida have not garnered more attention. Not only are they both likely candidates for free ascents, but “continuing” them on to the actual summit of Herron is a plum ripe for picking.
History. Giovanazzi and Salvaterra spent 5 days fixing ropes in the lower 300 meters, then spent a further five days on the wall, in a portaledge. They aided most of the route because of bad weather, which forced them to descend from the col dei Falchetti. They called their route “La Gioconda” -a nickname for Michel Angelo’s Mona Lisa- because it’s “a real work of art”.
It should be said that this line ends in the middle of nowhere. There are at least another 300m of virgin terrain to reach the closest summit. If it is listed here as a route is because it is a gorgeous line and out of respect for the first ascensionists who have a long history with the area.
Approach. Paso Marconi to Circo de los Altares or via Niponino and over Col Standhardt.
Descent. Via the same route.
Bibliography. Alp magazine 167 p. 110; Climbing 185 p. 35; AAJ 1999 p. 335; High magazine 203 p. 82-83.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Punta Herron, Torre Egger and Cerro
Torre west face
Punta Herron and CT west face
Punta Herron and Aguja Standhardt