Piolets d'Or - Torres Traverse (Argentina)

Torres Traverse (Argentina)

The second special mention again goes to a entirely different form of exploration, this time the exploration of athleticism. Whilst there was no geographic exploration and the event was arguably a culmination of rehearsal, the sheer technical accomplishment of Americans Colin Haley and Alex Honnold, completing the Torres Traverse in a time that for more or less every other climber is incomprehensible - a single day, has greatly impressed much of the mountaineering community.

The traverse - Travesia del Torre (1,600m of ascent, 90° 6b+ C1), which had only been completed once before (in four days by Haley and Rolando Garibotti) involves leaving the col east of Aguja Standhardt and travelling south over Standhardt (2,700m), Punta Herron (2,750m) and Torre Egger (2,850m), to reach the summit of
Cerro Torre (3,102m).

In January 2015 Haley and Honnold made an attempt to complete the one-day traverse, but were forced to retreat after 22 hours only two pitches below the top of Cerro Torre, in typical Patagonian gales. Leaving the Standhardt Col sometime after 3 a.m. on January 31, 2016, they simul-climbed, short fixed and simul-rappelled for most of the journey, reaching the top of Torre Egger only nine hours and 28 minutes after leaving the col. Cracks on the north face of Cerro Torre were gushing with water and the climbers were soaked by the time they completed the very steep and slushy finish to the Ragni Route, arriving on top Cerro Torre at midnight, 20 hours and 40 minutes from the Standhardt Col. Haley and Honnold then rappelled the southeast ridge through the night in "a blur of anchors, dehydration and shivering", and continued to El Chalten, by which time they had been 45 hours without sleep.

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