Aguja Standhardt - East face
500m WI5 5+
Jim Bridwell, Greg Smith, and Jay Smith (USA), 28-29/1/1988.
Description. A classic, albeit one with real climbing on it. A tricky first two pitches lead to an easy snow ramp and at the end of it a short lower leads to the base of a 5 pitch long ice encased chimney. The first of the four pitches is short and easy, reaching a ledge that provides safe cover for the belayer. The next four pitches are WI4 to WI5 depending on conditions. A short mixed pitch at the end of the chimney leads to the base of a first mushroom that is bypassed on the east side and gives access to the summit mushroom, which can be climbed from the east or north depending on conditions.
This route gets climbed often from the bergschrund to the top in less than 8 hours (up). A normal party should expect to need a long day for the round trip.
History. Sebastian de la Cruz (Argentina) and Pedro Lüthi (Switzerland) attempted it a few days before the first ascent. They retreat due to lack of equipment after climbing two of the four chimney pitches. It goes to them the merit of finding this route.
Bridwell, Smith, and Smith’s was the first ascent of the peak. In 1977 British Brian Hall and John Whittle had narrowly missed the first ascent when they retreated from the base of the summit mushroom. The route is named after the French made missiles that the Argentine Air Force so successfully used against the British Navy in the 1982 war.
Winter ascent. Austrians Tommy Bonapace and Toni Ponholzer the 2/9/1990. They made two bivies in the ledge at the base of the chimney, one during the ascent and one in the descent.
Solo ascent. In November of 2010 American Colin Haley soloed the route in twelve hours from Niponino. He self belayed in three pitches, the mixed pitch off the col, the 3rd chimney pitch and the slabby pitch in the summit ridge, and back-looped in the fourth pitch of the chimney. Haley was the first solo ascent of the peak. In April 1994, Austrian Tommy Bonapace had soloed to the end of the chimney, 3 easy pitches away from the top, but bad weather forced him to retreat. He climbed free solo, trailing a 100-meter rope behind him and stopping briefly at belays to smoke a cigarette and haul his pack.
Approach. Niponino to Col Standhardt. The climb to the Standhardt col will be part of the climb for many (65º). Beware that often there is dangerous snow wind loading right before the bergschrund and right below the col. There has been at least one accident due to this.
Descent. Via the same route to the base of the chimney, then down and skiers left to a big corner along which raps lead all the way to the bergschrund. The old rappel line, straight down from the base of the chimney, does not get used much anymore –falling debris and running water.
Bridwell. AAJ 1989 p. 57-65; Desnivel 45 p. 44-51; Vertical 32 p. 38; R+I magazine 32 p. 18-27; Lo Scarpone 1990/4 p. 6-7; Bridwell J. (1992) Climbing Adventures, ICS Books, Merrillville - IN, USA (p. 151-159).
Bonapace-Ponholzer. AAJ 1992 p. 90-94; Gipfelsturmer 1996 p. 14-21.