Andy Kirkpatrick and Ian Parnell are attempting the first winter ascent of Torre Egger, the Patagonia spire next to Cerro Torre. This would be a first winter ascent: winter in Patagonia begins June 21st and ends September 21st. They are attempting Titanic (ED+: VI 5.10b A2 90 degrees, 950m, Giarolli-Orlandi, 1987). Conditions in Patagonia at this time of year are baltic or as Patagonia veteran and Everest summiteer Kevin Thaw just told us, "It's going to be bloody miserable. Weather wise it will be more stable than in the summer but far colder."
Tim O'Neill, the American alpinist did a variation on the Titanic in the Patagonia summer of 2001 he said of his ascent,"That was for sure the hardest and most dangerous alpine climbing of my life. No placements... at midnight... in a snowstorm. The last 100 feet was rime ice with no gear. It was so intense I didn't even turn my headtorch on."
Film maker Alastair Lee of Posing Productions who is in contact with Kirkpatrick and Parnell and is collaborating with them on a film of this ascent said, "This route is very ambitious and if it proves to be too much their back up plan is a 600m ice line on the adjacent Cerro Stanhardt." See a topo here
You can read a more indepth report and follow their progress at www.posingproductions.com
In other Andy Kirkpatrick news: Andy was the Gear reviewer at CLIMB magazine and was known for his indepth, objective, humerous and down-to-earth gear essays. The two have now parted company, Andy citing "an increasing work load of other stuff, I thought it would be good to hand over the gear side of things to Tom Richardson (who I know will be great)."