18 Hours

The first non-stop ascent of Cerro Largo

Chile LOWA PRO Team athlete Robert Jasper’s expedition last year took him to a sea of white – Patagonia’s ice sheet. Together with mountain guide Jörn Heller, sport scientist Dr. Andreas Thomann, and outdoor photo­grapher Klaus Fengler, the team headed out in October 2019. Fengler had travelled with Jasper on his Greenland expedition in 2018.

A sea of white

A sea of white

Untouched icy landscape

Many pro athletes consider nearly unex­plored and untouched icy land­scapes the measure of all things. When it’s time to plan the next expedition, for many excep­tional athletes it just can’t be untouched enough. Patagonia’s northern ice sheet is that kind of place – a white expanse on the map that doesn’t have much to offer except kilo­metres of icy expanses and ice-covered summits. But that was precisely what became the deciding factor for Robert Jasper and his team.

  • They wanted to successfully complete an exploratory tour over a total of four weeks on one of the largest ice sheets and, in addition to that, if at all possible, to climb a mountain.

    They wanted to successfully complete an exploratory tour over a total of four weeks on one of the largest ice sheets and, in addition to that, if at all possible, to climb a mountain.

The starting gun goes off

In October 2019 the four-person team with Jasper, Heller, Thomann and Fengler headed off to Chile. From Puerto Bertrand they then headed by boat across the Lago Plomo lake into the Val Soler Valley that stretches many kilo­metres along the ice sheet. The approach took them through the wilderness and a cold rain forest until they reached the location for their basecamp after four days. What Robert and his comrades didn’t know yet at this point is that they would be passing a lot of time in this basecamp.

  • Kletter-Expedition im Nördlichen Patagonischen Inlandeisfeld mit den Bergführern Jörn Heller, Andreas Thomann und Robert Jasper, auf den Nef Gletscher, Erkundung der Zustiege und die zweite Besteigung vom Cerro Largo 2705 m, Basislager im Vall de Soler, Lago Plomo, Puerto Bertrand, Patagonien, Chile.
  • Kletter-Expedition im Nördlichen Patagonischen Inlandeisfeld mit den Bergführern Jörn Heller, Andreas Thomann und Robert Jasper, auf den Nef Gletscher, Erkundung der Zustiege und die zweite Besteigung vom Cerro Largo 2705 m, Basislager im Vall de Soler, Lago Plomo, Puerto Bertrand, Patagonien, Chile.

Untouched coun­tryside also always has a critical disad­vantage: Existing information about the terrain and current maps are either a rare commodity or filled with errors, here too in part because of the quickly advancing glacial melt. Add to that the huge amounts of ice breaking up and crevasses that made forward progress even more difficult. These conditions forced the athletes to make frequent plan and route changes. The weather too was showing its harsh side. Fierce storms with heavy rain and snowfall meant persevering in basecamp again and again and thus losing time.

Failed attempt after failed attempt

After a total of four weeks in the wilds and six attempts at an ascent, LOWA PRO Team athlete Robert Jasper and his team still had not been able to climb the chosen peak, Cerro Largo (2,799 metres). The intended timing was being completed destroyed – so much so that provisions were starting to be thin and had to be rationed in order to have any kind of chance at all. And then came the chance: On the last possible day for an ascent, a window of good weather seemed to be indicated. “We went for broke to climb Cerro Largo in a so-called “single-push style” with light gear. First on skis, then on ice that was steeper and steeper and, at the end, over vertical rime ice mushrooms created by the wind”, said the pro alpinist about the conditions not exactly lacking in danger since a mistake in these conditions was always possible. But notwith­standing all adversities, they did it – they reached the summit.

  • After a long wait and perseverance, they indeed were rewarded.

    After a long wait and perseverance, they indeed were rewarded.

Eisklettern Markierung Produktbilder Rauris Robert Jasper Shooting Sonnblick lowa

“We were only the second group that made it to the summit of Cerro Largo. When you just imagine to be just the second on a summit in the world, it is really quite a privilege to be able to stand at the top.”

Robert Jasper | LOWA PRO Team

In a total of 18 hours, Jasper, Heller, Thomann and Fengler made the round-trip from basecamp and back, covering just about 50 kilo­metres and 5,000 metres of vert. With that, they were the first team to climb Cerro Largo non-stop.

The shoe

“We went for broke to climb Cerro Largo in a so-called ‘single-push style’ with light gear. First on skis, then on ice that was steeper and steeper and, at the end, over vertical rime ice mushrooms created by the wind. For those conditions, I used the ALPINE ICE GTX.”

ALPINE ICE GTX: Climbers who are determined to reach the very top have to be able to rely on their technical gear. For Alpine moun­tain­eering boots in particular, there are a wide range of requirements, depending on the terrain and weather conditions. The ALPINE ICE GTX is a boot that was developed jointly by the LOWA PRO Team and active Alpinists. The completely crampon-compatible boot is designed for both icy and rocky passages, with GORE-TEX Duratherm lining and a cush­ioning element integrated into the shank. More …
ALPINE ICE GTX

The facts

Duration:
4 weeks
Altitude:
5 km