Gooood morning, Hielo Continental! It’s another beautiful sunny day in an endless crevasse field…
Hoping for a quick exit off the ice, we had decided to cross the flow of the Viedma glacier, drawing a straight line through all the crevasses to Paso del Viento – a notoriously windy col located some 11km east of us. We figured we could manage such a distance through crevasses a lot faster than we would cover 40km, going back the way we came.
Well, big mistake. We were four hours into it and things were only getting slower and much worse.
The glacial flow was reminiscent of a turbulent sea. Crevasses would criss-cross in all directions, creating technical ridges and narrow gullies. Hauling the sled up and over these obstacles was – once again – more powerlifting than mountaineering. It was utterly slow and stretched our patience to the limit. At some point our average speed dropped to 134 meters per hour…pathetic. 10km in a day? More likely 10 days…
We decided to head back and do the reasonable thing – travel faster through easier terrain that we already know.
We were completely knackered from all the effort of going into and back out from the crevasse field, but couldn’t stop pushing. We had to beat the storm and get off the ice before it hit us.
Fueling our beaten bodies with almost triple rations, we managed to ski back to the easy plateau 12km to the north of us.
We then fixed our eyes on the Cerro Torre. Our route towards paso del Viento would pass very close below this immence giant of granite and rime.
Weaving a path as quickly as possible around crevasse fields, we skied east through the twilight and into darkness.
Upon setting up camp, some 6km east of the Torre, our headlamps illuminated the only sign of life we encountered on the icefield.
It was a dead sparrow…