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Update: last updated on 22/08/2016.

Punta Herron - West pillar –West face

2. Gracias a la Vida

800m 6a A3

Maurizio Giarolli, Andrea Sarchi and Odoardo Ravizza (Italy), 10-12/11/1992.

Description. This line climbs the west face of the west pillar of Punta Herron to reach a small saddle behind the summit of the pillar, at the western end of Herron’s west ridge, some 300 meters below the summit. The ridge leading from there to the summit is still unclimbed. It is a very appealing line, which follows a prominent right facing dihedral that splits the face. Definitely worth the walk! It is surprising that neither this line nor the nearby La Gioconda have garnered more attention. Not only are they both likely candidates for free ascents, but “continuing” them on to the actual summit of Herron is plum ripe for picking.

History. Paolo Crippa, Eliana De Zordo and Maurizio Maggi first attempted this line in 1989. Maggi returned home for Christmas and on 6/1/1990 Crippa and De Zordo left for one last attempt, from which they never returned. They were found dead at the base, possibly having both fallen due to a belay sling knot opening. Crippa was an excellent rock climber with numerous first ascents in the Dolomites and Bregaglia. At their last belay, Giarolli, Ravizza and Sarchi found a backpack and a jacket clipped to the belay, that surprisingly after two years the wind had still not yet ripped away. It appears that all was going well when suddenly tragedy struck. Crippa had hoped to climb Torre Egger, which he had attempted in 1986. Apparently his intended line was not the one that got climbed, but rather he hoped to traverse right half way up, to reach a crack system that leads to the Col de Lux.

Giarolli, Ravizza and Sarchi spent two days fixing ropes on the lower 250 meters, then spent 3 more days climbing to the col dei Falchetti, from where they descended due to bad weather.

They named the col “dei Falchetti” (of the hawks) after their “nom de guerre,” “Falchetti team”, something that Sarchi and Giarolli, together with Salvaterra came up with while attempting to ski a steep north face in the Alps and in reference to the film “Where Eagles Dare”.

The route was christened after a well-known Violeta Parra song, in honor of Paolo and Eliana.

It should be said that this line ends in the middle of nowhere. There are at least another 300m of virgin terrain to reach the closest summit. If it is listed here as a route is because it is a gorgeous line and out of respect for the first ascensionists who have a long history with the area.

Approach. Paso Marconi to Circo de los Altares or via Niponino and over Col Standhardt.

Descent. Via the same route.

Bibliography. AAJ 1993 p. 185; Desnivel magazine 82 p. 108; Alp magazine 96 p. 20-23; Annales GHM 1992 p. 17; High magazine 127 p. 6; Bolletino SAT 1993/1 p. 44-45; CAI-Rivista Mensile 1993/5 p. 86; AAJ 1990 p. 205.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Punta Herron west face

Punta Herron, Torre Egger and Cerro

Torre west face

Punta Herron, Torre Egger and Cerro

Torre west face

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Punta HerronSouth face 1. Cara SurCol dei Falchetti2. Gracias a la Vida3. La GiocondaNorth face4. Spigolo dei BimbiEast face5. TobogánTraverseTravesia del Torre / Torre Traverse


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