The fol­low­ing art­icle was pub­lished on alpin​ist​.com on 23.03.2012:

Ger­mans Climb New Route on Monte Buckland

A seven-​member team of young Ger­man alpin­ists suc­cess­fully returned from their six-​week exped­i­tion to the remote west­ern part of Chile’s Cor­dillera Dar­win on Feb­ru­ary 15. Over that time three of them, Daniel Groß, Markus Kautz and Robert Koschitzki reached the mys­tic and rarely seen sum­mit of Monte Buck­land (1746m) by a new alpine style route, Sil­berkondor (Condor de plata), 65 degrees/​D, on the peak’s vir­gin north­east face. 

The nasty weather, impen­et­rable rain forest and scarcity of inform­a­tion couldn’t stop them from explor­ing this fas­cin­at­ing wedge-​shaped moun­tain loc­ated in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. The archipelago’s Cor­dillera Dar­win range is renowned for its atro­cious weather. In 1998, a South African exped­i­tion to the range aban­doned their attempt on nearby Monte Sarmi­ento (2246m) after twenty-​nine days of rain. They saw the sum­mit of their object­ive for a cumu­lat­ive six hours over the course of their month long stay. Three years prior a pair of climbers attempt­ing the same peak were blown off the sum­mit ridge by extreme winds. While Monte Sarmi­ento has been attemp­ted over thirty times, activ­ity on its neigh­bor Monte Buck­land has been nonex­ist­ent. Indeed, there is no record of any activ­ity on the peak since its first, and (prior to Sil­berkondor) only ascent by a strong Italian exped­i­tion lead by Carlo Mauri and Casimiro Fer­rari in 1966. At that time the Itali­ans approached the peak from the south­ern Agostini-​Fjord and made the first ascent via the mountain’s south­w­est face.

alpinist02On Jan­u­ary 29, Gross, Kautz and Koschitzki star­ted their twelve-?hour ascent from a high camp (1100m) on the north ridge, climb­ing mostly through ice and mixed ter­rain to reach the upper gla­cial plat­eau below the sum­mit head­wall. It had been decided early on that, should the moun­tain „show [the team] a cold shoul­der,“ the three most expe­ri­enced climbers would attempt the peak. Pass­ing a dif­fi­cult bergschrund (WI4), their line fol­lows the obvi­ous cen­tral couloir (mostly mod­er­ate, up to 65 degrees) to the nar­row sum­mit ridge. In near white­out con­di­tions, they then turned to the south­west, climb­ing the icy peak con­sid­ered to be the high­est point at 1746m.

The team ascen­ded two other minor peaks in the area around Monte Buck­land before they finally returned by a Zodiac to civ­i­liza­tion. Kautz believes that, „there is a huge poten­tial of climb­ing in Cor­dillera Darwin.“


The team is grate­ful for the sup­port they received from the Ger­man Alpine Club and all their other sponsors.

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