In Febuary 2014 John Crook and I were shown the Avellano Towers by the American alpine mountaineering legend Jim Donini.
Jim had offered to show us cool unexplored mountains and we were hooked. After two months of bumming around in Chalten the blast of enthusiasm provided by Jim and Angela was phenomenal. From the deck of their house by Lago General Carrera we plotted.
Jims next door neighbour, Lito Tejada-Flores had climbed Fitzroy in 1968 with Yvon Chouinard and he was showing us aerial photos of the towers. With the energy flowing from Lito and Jim the chances of failure were nil. Over dinner we discussed the towers, Jim had been in once and Lito had seen them from the air. Both agreed there was a big granite wall.
The next day we walked in and climbed some amazing routes.
We returned convinced we had to return. Which brings me on to this time.
Convinced we were under equipped John and I have recruited two others, Will Harris and Andy Reeve and collected together a huge amount of equipment. Realising the pile of equipment was far too enormous to approach the towers using the route from Buria Murta John and I used in Febuary we concocted a ridiculous plan.
Step 1 Boat across Lago General Carrera
Lago General Carrera is big with over 1,850 km squared of surface area. It is also deep, 850 meters deep at the western end and always windy. How hard could finding a boat across the lake prove to be?
Step 2 Access the Towers by travelling up the Avellano River valley.
The route in from Buria Murta involved a hideous cow trail which gained and lost approximately 600 meters of height in the first 7km. This was followed by 5 km of the most exerting jungle bashing and river walking Ive ever encountered. This nicely warms one up for bypassing a 70 meter cliff band by clinging to tree roots on a vegetated tree rake. Following this some nice granite slabs, polished and impassable when wet lead to death moraine screes and a high coll. From here a short romp down a ice filled gully might gain the base of the route.
|The view down from the top of the cliff band showing the junglebashing and river walking section of the approach from Buriha Murat (Febuary 2014)|
Having perused google earth I knew the following: The avellano valley only gains 500 meters in total from the lake to the base of the route; there are signs of agriculture and habitation as far as the confluence at 25km. Using copious amounts of optimism we decided there would be someone willing to packhorse equipment up the valley in exchange for cash.
In December 2014 we returned with a huge amount of optimism and a plan involving boats and horses.