Huge news from Patagonia!

The Torres at sunrise

Breaking news from Patagonia, reported by Colin Haley, is that Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk have completed the first “fair means” ascent of Cerro Torre’s SE Ridge (the left-hand skyline in the photo), not using any of Maestri’s infamous bolts for progress or security. People have been trying to accomplish this feat for DECADES, so it’s a tremendously significant ascent.

Here’s the newsrelease at Alpinist, and here’s what Colin Haley posted on Facebook:

“BIG NEWS: Although Jorge and I unfortunately fluffed this weather window, today we got to watch history being made through a Canon G12 zoom lens at Norwegos: Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk made the first fair-means ascent of the SE Ridge of Cerro Torre. Although I’m not 100% sure about the details, I think they took about 13 hours to the summit from a bivy at the shoulder, which is amazingly fast considering the terrain. The speed with which they navigated virgin ground on the upper headwall is certainly testament to Hayden’s great skills on rock. Bravo! They might be in the mountains several more days (more good weather coming), but I’m sure we’ll hear the details soon!”

Huge congratulations to Hayden and Jason. I’d guess that these days in Patagonia are going to color the rest of their lives, similar to how my adventures in the extreme south have governed mine. I haven’t gone hard down there in more than a decade, since I finished Enduring Patagonia, but Charlie Fowler, with whom I once watched the sunrise from the summit of Cerro Torre, provided the first glimmer of a clue that set me on the trail of China’s Wings — the project that has governed most of my last decade. Here’s the story of how he did it, and how it played out.

(As a parent and a climber, I’d also love to chat about this with Michael and Julie Kennedy.)



  1. Was necesary to destroy the compressor route on the descent? An act of creation sadly destroyed by an act of coward destruction, because they did not chop the bolts of the belays they use for the descent. An absolute lack of ethics. False new heros. The birth of a modern inquisisión in the mountains fueled by some dubious prophets that everybody knows and sadly belongs to this area. Michael, you never teach to your son to respect the ideas of the others? . Send him to chop the via ferratas in Europe, the diretissimas in Dolomites, or put a bomb to the telepheric to the Aiguile du Midí. You have a lot of oportunitties around the world to be more and more proud of him and his sad partner.

    1. David, Michael’s a friend of mine, and a person I much respect, and from all I hear, he and Julie have done a fine job raising Hayden to adulthood and setting him free to pursue his own path, and although I’m not thrilled with Hayden’s decisions in Patagonia, I’m not going to revile him for life for them, either. I hope I get to meet him someday. He’s also one of the people in this discussion who hasn’t voiced his own perspective yet. Nor is he fool enough to bomb a telpheric in the Alps. I don’t see the equivalence at all.

      1. Greg, I see the equivalence in the fact that one of these days somebody could climb Ma Dalton 7c, or something harder, and think that is not fair for many people to reach the summit using the telepheric. The bomb in this case could be replaced by a protest at the station or another kind of strike. Don´t take the words so literally, you are a writer. Regards.

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