Many times we have repeated that one of the most beautiful things that the UNCHARTED project gives us, is the opportunity to meet those who have explored the remote regions we are passionate about. Some of them are elderly, and we are proud to be able to rescue their experiences before they leave us. Others leave us too soon, taking hundreds of unrealized dreams with them. This was the case of Ralf Gantzhorn, a passionate photographer, author, and mountaineer who left a few days ago the world that he explored and photographed with such a relentless passion. Ralf was in love with Patagonia, and in particular with Mt Sarmiento, to which he made numerous expeditions. In them, he achieved the ascent of the East summit and is the one who was closest to achieving the dream of many mountaineers: to make the crossing of Mt Sarmiento passing through its two summits. He also made many first ascents in the Cordillera Darwin, leaving in his wake an extraordinary record of photographs that were only possible for those who like him, combined in the same person a great photographer and an excellent mountaineer. It was a pleasure working with Ralf on the making of the Cordillera Darwin map, and we will miss hearing about his fascinating adventures from time to time. For our part, we will strengthen our efforts to help the legacy of Ralf and other great explorers to endure through time. We leave you a selection of photos taken by Ralf and his exploration routes in Cordillera Darwin.
A picture by Ralf Gantzhorn during his climb to the East summit in 2009 with Jörn Heller and Robert Jasper.
Jörn Heller and Robert Jasper in the north ridge of Mount Sarmiento, after unlocking the first half of the traverse so many mountaineers have dreamed about.
The route opened by Ralf, Robert and Jörn: "Odisea de Magallanes", finalized a project initiated by Alberto De Agostini 53 years earlier, as this was basically the route that was attempted in 1956 by the best Italian climbers of the time. Two months of failures the the north face were compensated by the last-minute success of Carlo Mauri and Clemente Maffei in the south face.
From Monte Sarmiento Ralf, Robert and Jörn saw a elegant and sharp summit inside the De Agostini fjord. They did not know the name at first, but they were decided to come back to climb it. They finally made it in 2012, when they managed to complete the first ascent of Mount Giordano.
The itinerary they followed in 2012 to the summit of Mount Giordano, as depicted in our UNCHARTED: Cordillera Darwin map.
Another great shot by Ralf, showing the belt of Venus over Mount Buckland in the background, the unmistakable summit of cerro Carpa ("tent" in Spanish), to which they made the second ascent in 2002. And then the moon over cerro Pirámide Negra, climbed by his friends Robert and Jörn in 2013.
The northern end of Cordón Navarro also saw explorations by Ralf and his friends, were they made the first ascent of Cerro Caperucita Roja and the second of Cerro Carpa.