L’articolo seguente è stato pub­bli­cato dalla Amer­i­can Alpine Journal

Cordillera Dar­win

Monte Buck­land (1,746m), north­east ridge and north­east face; Monte Niebla (1,430m), north­east face.

On Jan­u­ary 29, 2012, Daniel Gross, Markus Kautz, and I reached the mys­ti­cal and rarely seen sum­mit of Monte Buck­land by a new route, the north­east ridge and north­east face (D). We have called our line Sil­berkon­dor after the plane piloted by Gun­ther Plueschow, a Ger­man pio­neer­ing avi­a­tor who took the first pic­tures of Buckland’s north­east face dur­ing his exploratory flights in 1929. The only other reports on Buck­land come from the Ital­ian mis­sion­ary Alberto M. de Agos­tini, who explored the area in 1912 — 13, and the notes from the strong Ital­ian expe­di­tion led by Carlo Mauri, who in 1966 made the first and, until 2012, only ascent of the peak (sum­mit reached by Allipi, Fer­rari, Guidici, Machetto, Mauri and Pirovano). The Ital­ians approached the moun­tain from the south­ern Agos­tini Fjord, and made the first ascent by the south­west face. Scarcity of infor­ma­tion, chal­leng­ing inac­ces­si­bil­ity, nasty weather, and impen­e­tra­ble rain for­est couldn’t stop us explor­ing the fas­ci­nat­ing wedge-​shaped moun­tain of Buck­land, located in the arch­i­pel­ago of Tierra del Fuego.

From Punta Are­nas we made a 12-​hour drive on partly unpaved and rough roads to the south­west coast of Tierra del Fuego. To the south we caught the first glimpses of our goal, the snow cov­ered peaks of the Cordillera Dar­win. Cross­ing the fjord next day with two inflat­able zodi­acs, and pass­ing east of Isla Daw­son, we reached Fit­ton Bay (Bahía Fit­ton). After we’d unpacked our ca 450kg of equip­ment, the boats returned, cut­ting us off from civ­i­liza­tion for the next three and a half weeks. Incred­i­bly, it took five long and hard days just to estab­lish base camp (300m), less than five km from the beach. These exhaust­ing days were due to hor­ri­ble bush­whack­ing through dense rain forests, which were often only pass­able with machetes, and nego­ti­at­ing open swamp­land. Added to this, the rain soaked us, made us freeze, and brought us close to despair.

Over the next few days we explored the nearby area and climbed a rel­a­tively low hik­ing peak south of Buck­land, nam­ing it Monte Bella Vista (825m) after the beau­ti­ful view of sur­round­ing peaks. Then Gross, Kautz and I made our first attempt on Buck­land. From base camp we went west to access the glac­ier beneath the east pil­lar. We then tra­versed the lower glac­ier, exposed to the fall of the ser­acs that over­hang the entire east face, to reach the north­east ridge, where we set up high camp at 1,100 m. The next day we climbed the first pitches of the ridge, but had to abort the attempt and return to base camp due to bad weather. On Jan­u­ary 29 we made a sec­ond attempt from high camp, climb­ing mostly ice and mixed ter­rain to reach the upper glacial plateau below the sum­mit head­wall. Pass­ing a dif­fi­cult bergschrund (WI4), we fol­lowed the obvi­ous cen­tral couloir (up to 65°) to the nar­row sum­mit ridge. In nearly white­out con­di­tions, we turned south and climbed the icy top con­sid­ered to be Buckland’s high­est point. It was 12-​hours since we’d left camp but more than four decades since this point had been reached.

After the ascent weather con­di­tions wors­ened, with snow down to base camp. Nev­er­the­less, on Feb­ru­ary 2 Franz Goer­lich, Gross, and I were able to make the first ascent of an unnamed peak we called Monte Niebla, a trib­ute to the bad weather at the sum­mit. We first fol­lowed the main val­ley south­east from base camp, then after two km went steeply north to reach a glac­ier west of the sum­mit. From here we reached the north­east face. A snow ridge and 30m of loose rock led to the sum­mit (AD-​). Weather now forced us to remain in our tents for the rest of the expe­di­tion, frus­trated after see­ing such splen­did unclimbed moun­tains as Monte Sella. Fur­ther details avail­able at www​.mtbuck​land​.com

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