Siebe Van­hee, Sean Vil­lanueva O’Driscoll, Ni­co­las Favresse


ROUTE El Re­galo de Mwono (5.13c; 1,200 me­ters) LO­CA­TION East face of Torre Cen­tral, Tor­res del Paine, Patag­o­nia

Nine­teen days of Patag­o­nian suf­fer­ing, ra­tioned food, freez­ing temps, and dif­fi­cult free climb­ing brought Siebe Van­hee, Sean Vil­lanueva O’Driscoll, and Ni­co­las Favresse the first free as­cent of El Re­galo de Mwono, es­tab­lished by UK climbers Paul Pritchard, Si­mon Yates, Sean Smith, and Noel Craine in 1991/92 at VI 5.10 A4. Af­ter fix­ing the first three ro­pe­lengths on the steep, con­tin­u­ous crack line, the team com­mit­ted to the wall, climb­ing cap­sule style and com­plet­ing the route in 26 pitches, plac­ing no bolts and us­ing small wires for pro­tec­tion. On Fe­bru­ary 14, their fif­teenth day on the wall, the team sum­mited, yet the 5.13 thir­teenth pitch ( pic­tured, with Van­hee on lead), a slight vari­a­tion to the orig­i­nal line, re­mained un­freed. With dwin­dling ra­tions, the trio re­turned to their por­taledges and waited out four days of storm to try the 30-me­ter tips crack. “It’s not the ob­sta­cle that makes the suf­fer­ing,” O’Driscoll said. “It’s the at­ti­tude to­ward the ob­sta­cle.” On day 19, Favresse freed this money pitch, com­plet­ing a team­free as­cent of the wall. The trio de­scended, hiked out, rode a bus to Puerto Natales, and slept un­der the stars, un­til the mid­dle of the night when rain ripped them from their sleep.

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