AGUJA RAFAEL JUAREZ

Posted on: June 1, 2003


A short period of good weather in the middle of December was enough for us to open a new route in alpine style on Aguja Rafael Jurez (2482m). The line, Arti-Belleza (V 5.11b A1, 500m), has eleven pitches. The name is a combination of the words Arti, for artificial, because two pitches required some aid, and Belleza, the Spanish word for beauty. We approached Rafael from the west, bivying at the Polish Bivouac (one of the very best places to stay in Chalten) on the upper moraine over the Torre Glacier. On December 16, we began the route hammerless. All belays were built using natural protection.

Arti-Belleza, which starts seventy-five meters below the col between Poincenot and Rafael, lies between the Piola-Anker (5.11b A1, 450m, Anker-Piola, 1989) to the left and Corallo (V 5.12a A0, 600m, Giordani-Leoni-Salvaterra, 1994) to the right. We climbed the first five pitches via a crack and dihedral system. The wall reached a nice platform, then steepened to vertical. A forty meter double-crack system led to a belay. The next crack started as fingers and got smaller. The route then turned a roof on perfect hand jams and reached a small plateau, allowing us to look over to the east side. Another three pitches led to the top. The rock on the tower was very good granite, solid and high friction. The northwest face of Rafael has perfect crack systems.

— Carsten von Birckhahn and Anke Clauss, Reinach, Switzerland

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