Cerro Torre - South and west face. Col de la Esperanza.
2. Los Tiempos Perdidos
900m M5+ 90˚
Francois Marsigny (France) and Andy Parkin (UK), 22-23/2/1994; Kelly Cordes and Colin Haley (USA), January 2007, first link up with the Ragni route to the summit.
Description. It climbs a series of steep ice runnels with much mixed ground that lead to an obvious ice ramp just to the right of the hanging serac immediately west of the col della Speranza. A phenomenal alpine route. In the middle section the first ascentionists attempted to climb a goullote that leads rightwards, but it dead ended and therefore they were forced to reverse their steps, and wait out the dangerous warmth of the day (falling debris) to finish their climb the following night (“À l’égal de l’alcool, la nuit a parfois le pouvoir d’apporter l’oubli”...).
History. Above the col the original intent of the first ascentionists was to climb an independent line to the right of the Ragni route, but bad weather forced them to retreat after climbing five pitches above the col, along a series of ice gullies to the right side of the Elmo. They are not exactly sure which was their high point, as bad weather prevented them from getting a good bearing. They descended to Circo de los Altares, headed south along the Viedma glacier, to the edge of Lago Viedma and back to Chalten via Bahia Tunel, adding a couple of days of walking to their adventure when they walked past Paso del Viento, which in the storm they were unable to find (“le Paso del Viento en est un, mais nous n’avons aucun reseignement sur lui, sinon qu’il se trouve loin au sud”). In all they took over a week round trip. For this great adventure the first ascensionists received a “Piolet de Or”. Regarding the name of the route, Francois wrote “La voie s’apelle ‘Los Tiempos Perdidos’, car c’est dans l’apparante inutilité de tous ses moments perdus que nous avons atteint notre temps, et peut etre notre vie”.
Because other climbers in basecamp expected them back in three days when they did not return a number of search parties were organized. Paula Marechal and a partner walked to Paso del Viento, while Fabio Leoni, Ermanno Salvaterra and Miha Paprotnik climbed part way up the east ridge of Adela Sur to have a better look at the south face of Cerro Torre in hopes of seeing them. Salvaterra called up a helicopter and was ready for a helicopter rescue. In the end no rescue was needed and everyone one was relieved when a very skinny version of Francois and Andy walked into town, having not eaten for several days. Unfortunately the situation produced some hard feelings between those that tried to help and those that they had hoped to help. Francois expressed his view, “Quant aux alpinistes, sûrs de leur technique et solidaires, ils nous cherchaient depuis trois jours prés du Cerro Torre. Que tous soient ici remerciés. Mais nous ne comptions que sur nous mêmes et sur l’ènergie créatrice que l’amitié génerè.” It should be noted here that over the years Salvaterra has been instrumental in many rescues in this area, showing a willingness to help seldom seen in climbers these days.
Slovenes Peter Podgornik and Joze Serbec first attempted this line in June 1992. They started the climb but when a massive avalanche swept the face they felt lucky to be alive and they decided to retreat.
To the col the route has been repeated four times, with only one team managing to continue on to the summit. In early January 2007 Americans Kelly Cordes and Colin Haley crossed the bergschrund at 5:30 AM, reaching the col at 1:30 PM. Here they rested for 3 hours to then continued along the Ragni route, reaching a ledge 3 pitches from the summit where they bivied. After a cold night out without a sleeping bag, they climbed the three summit mushrooms, reaching the summit at 1:30PM, descending via the SE ridge to reach the Torre glacier at midnight. This was a very impressive ascent, one of the best efforts that Cerro Torre has ever seen.
Earlier, in November of 1995 Spanish Dani Ascaso and “Pepe” Chaverri had climbed to the col in 29 hours, retreating via the Icecap due to bad weather. Of the experience Chaverri wrote, “The climbing is not difficult, but the serac hanging above your head during the whole ascent, and the continious falling rocks, and the general stress, make it a not so enjoyable experience”. Two years later, in October of 1997 Laurence Monnoyeur and Bruno Sourzac (France) climbed to the col in 8 hours, climbing six long pitches, with much simul climbing. They also retreated via the Icecap due to bad weather. In late 2008 Norwegian Bjørn-Eivind Årtun and Joakim Eide climbed to the col but due to wetness decided to retreat, rappelling down the route (avalakovs).
Approach. Niponino to Glaciar Adela Superior.
Descent. From the col, to Circo de los Altares and Paso Marconi, or to Circo de los Altares and Paso del Viento in case of storm (you will have the wind on your back heading south), or to Circo de los Altares and back to the Torre valley via the Standhardt col (some climbing involved). The Norwegians descended the route, but to do that and think it is a safe option you have to have lived for several years above the polar circle...
First ascent: Vertical magazine 69 p. 46-52; High magazine 142 p. 30-35; AAJ 1995 p. 210; Montagnes Magazine 178 p. 32-37; La Montagne et Alpinisme 1994/3 p. 60.
Podgornik: High magazine 122 p. 10.
Chaverri: Desnivel magazine128 p. 52-57.
Sourzac: AAJ 1998 p. 282-284; High magazine 192 p.17-18; Vertical magazine 108 p. 46-54.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Cerro Torre south face
Cerro Torre southwest face