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Chiaro di Luna (Claro de Luna) 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 20 pitches, 2400'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Maurizio Giordani, Rosanna Manfrini and Sergio Valentini (Italy), 4-5/11/1987
Season: Jan - March is prime season
Page Views: 4,095
Submitted By: claytown on Nov 18, 2014

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looking down the headwall

Description 

Sorry for my foggy memory but I did this route a few years ago and just realized that it's not on the proj yet.

This route is absolutely amazing and highly worth it. We had heard stories that it was one of the best alpine rock routes in the world (a very ambitious title) and it didn't disappoint. The book grade is 6b+ which is about 10+. Depending on how you pitch it out it's probably in the 20 - 25 pitch range.

This route takes an awesome, natural line up the NW corner of the formation and then the North Face.

The Route

Start by hiking to the NW corner of the formation from Polacos bivy (buy Rolo's book). You could bivy very close to the start of the route but we just went round trip from Polacos. From the bivy at the base (where you can stash packs and stuff) hike and scramble across slabs up the gully towards Aguja de I'S. Once you find the big angling black dike, start going up that for maybe 100 - 150 meters. Sneak behind a big boulder on your left to access the low crux lieback finger crack that angles left across the north face of the formation. If you follow the black dike too far, you will see a pair of striking cracks (the left is an OW). These have been done also and are harder starts that link to the main line after 8 or so pitches. These cracks can be seen from down in Nipponino.

After you have climbed the lieback crack, there is an interesting left traverse pitch where the second ends up doing a little bit of downward left climbing for a move or two then back up to the next anchor. Next is a moderate pitch then it gets easier for a few pitches of choose-your-own crack up some angling ramps. Solid parties can simul this ramp. Eventually these ramps end and you start working up and right across a low angle face. These sections go fast and some might simul a lot of it.

Then there is a harder pitch at the end of the lower angle rock and then another moderate pitch or two. After that you get up to a lower angle section where you could practically unrope. This area can have snow. We started up the right side of the slab and then cut left across ledges that had a bit of snow and ice mixed in (for us it was still doable in rock shoes with no ice gear but your conditions could be different) and up to a flat talus bench at the base of a steep headwall with a ~50 foot flake leaning against it that has a good crack on the right side of it.

Climb this headwall for 3 pitches or so. The rock up to this point has been excellent but it gets a tiny bit more decomposed through spots here, though it's still plenty solid. Weave your way up and slightly left for a couple / few pitches and then cut harder left across ledges to a long, vertical chimney system.

Follow the chimney for 3 - 5 pitches until you top them out and are on flat ground. Scratch your head until you figure out how you're going to get across the gap to the summit formation. Once you clear the gap, it's easier to the top but you might be wading through some snow.

Enjoy a great summit with awesome views of the Torre group and various glaciers. Go back down the way you finished the route and start rapping.

Descent

Head back down the way you came. If this wasn't obvious, use your judgement as to whether each rap should be 1 rope or two. There is a long way to go and you don't want to get a rope stuck.

Start the raps by getting back down to the long chimney system. At the ledge at the bottom of the chimney, keep rapping straight down (not following the climb anymore). Follow the existing tat anchors, beefing those up as necessary. Eventually you will hit a steep snow / ice field. If you have pons, put them on an walk. If not, keep rapping down this, staying skiers left (at least that's how we did it).

Time & General Thoughts

Everyone is different so it's hard to say how long you should plan for the route. Times could vary drastically depending on conditions, how much you simul, and how the rappels go. We climbed the route in 10 hours, but it took us 9 hours to rappel. We were going pretty fast on the way up but we only wore climbing shoes and had no boots / pons / tools, so we were pretty slow rappeling down the snow field when we could have walked with pons on. We didn't get any ropes stuck.

All around, this route is exceptional and I would recommend it anyone that's up for it. I'll post some pictures to help you find the start and get oriented at key spots. Enjoy!

Location 

Northwest Face of St Exupery, in the Fitz Roy Massive south of Poincenot. Aguja de I'S is just north of it.

Most common approach is via Nipponino & Polacos. Up hill from there and then angling back towards the NW shoulder of the formation. Approach time depends on conditions. From Nippo to Polacos is maybe an hour. From Polacos to the base of the route is another couple of hours (1 - 3, can't remember exactly).

There was running water just above Polacos when we were there and also on the approach to the route.

Protection 

I don't remember exactly but a double rack from blue or green alien up to 3 and maybe #4s with extra nuts. For all big routes down here, it's smart to have extra cord and nuts for the rappels since you never know what you're going to find.

Buy Rolo's guidebook for better beta. It's one of the best climbing guides anywhere and you should own it if you like Patagonia.

Conditions are always changing here so your call if you should have boots, pons, tools, etc. I don't remember any bolts on the whole route. It's straight up alpine so be ready for anything.


Photos of Chiaro di Luna (Claro de Luna) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The West Face of St. Exupery. Last Gringos climbs ...
BETA PHOTO: The West Face of St. Exupery. Last Gringos climbs ...
Rock Climbing Photo: classic views of the torre during the traverse pit...
classic views of the torre during the traverse pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: looking down the final chimneys. rap down this dir...
BETA PHOTO: looking down the final chimneys. rap down this dir...
Rock Climbing Photo: a better look at the start of the route. the blue ...
BETA PHOTO: a better look at the start of the route. the blue ...
Rock Climbing Photo: St Exupery with Chiaro di Luna approximate route i...
BETA PHOTO: St Exupery with Chiaro di Luna approximate route i...
Rock Climbing Photo: the flake to start the headwall section of the cli...
the flake to start the headwall section of the cli...

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