Patagonia: First winter ascent of Torre Egger - Up-Climbing

Patagonia: First winter ascent of Torre Egger

Stephan Siegrist (37), Dani Arnold (26) and Thomas Senf  (29) have successfully completed the first winter ascent of the Torre Egger (2,685 m) in Patagonia. Operating at full speed for three days (and nights), the three mountaineers took advantage of the first spell of fine weather that appeared to reach the summit of the Torre Egger at midday on 3 August. They completed the ascent in flawless alpine style, with no prior set up of fixed ropes or equipment stores.
The team arrived in El Chalten on July 27th: in their projects was the winter ascent of Torre Egger, the granite-peak of 2685meters  that stands alongside the most famous Cerro Torre. 
They had in mind a long wait, because of easily forecasted bad weather, so began to carry loads of equipment and supplies to the base of the tower in anticipation of a long siege of the mountain.
The weather was good enough, why not give it a try – they said –  as  the weather remained favorable. So they set to work, placed the first camp on the glacier between Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt and have the opportunity to go two pitches before the night’s sleep.
The next day, Thomas Senf was engaged on cracks clogged with ice and  in an attempt to free  made a long fall and emerged luckily unhurt. The temperature was very low ("up" to minus 25 degrees) and the abundant snow hampered the climbers. At the end of the cracks, the team passed a long traverse and then was the  darkness (the spring days at these latitudes have a few hours of light – from 9.30 to 18.30).
The weather  have worsened, and a bivy was not recommended: the trio therefore continued on head-lights. At 03:30, after climbing for 22 hours, reached the base of the characteristic icy mushroom of the summit. This was the last unknown step in their path, but also had to find the right place where to start, otherwise it would have been impossible to deal with, being overhanging and inconsistent.
Siegrist had climbed three years before Titanic, and remembered an ice canal on the south side of the mushroom  that led directly to the summit. So they dug a hole in the ice and rested four hours waiting for the daylight. 
"At this time we had  dark thoughts of what would be our future, so close to the summit, and in a  full blown Patagonian storm. 
At the arrival of light they found the chimney still climbable and Dani Arnold with three pitches  led the team on top. It was noon on August 3 and Torre Egger was finally under their feet, after all it was granted without offering too much resistance, and its suitors had won with a perfect alpine style.
"It was after little more than a week after our departure from Switzerland. It will take few days to appreciate our luck!  we were ready for anything, except the chance to climb so rapidly Torre Egger," said Siegrist.
Stephan Siegrist is an experienced Patagonian explorer, and bagged  many routes on major peaks including Torre Egger in summer. In 1999 he also signed the first winter ascent on Ragni route on the west wall of Cerro Torre. Mario Walder from East Tyrol was also in the team, but had to abandon the ascent  and return to El Chalten, due to a knee problem.