Whit Magro on an attempt to climb a new free route on Aguja Desmochada, Argentine Patagonia. Magro and Josh Wharton descended after 1,500 feet of climbing in poor conditions. Adverse weather changed the plans of many teams in Argentina and Chile this austral summer. [Photo] Josh Wharton
Nasty weather plagued climbers for much of Patagonia’s 2009-10 season, forcing many teams to abandon new-routing plans. Some instead made notable repeats or solo ascents, and a few teams took advantage of short weather windows to establish new terrain on Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Guillaumet and Fitz Roy.
Before the new year, Oriol Baro of Spain and Paula Alegre of Argentina climbed a couple infrequently repeated routes in the Fitz Roy massif. On December 2, they did the Carrington-Rouse (V 5.10c 65 degrees, 800m, 1977) on the west face of Poincenot; a few days later they climbed the French Northwest (aka Afanassieff) Ridge (ED-: 5.9 A2, 1600m, 1979) on Fitz Roy.
Also in early December, Nico Benedetti and Esteban Degregori established a six-pitch variation of Fonrouge-Rosasco (V, 1200m) on the south face of Poincenot.
Swiss climbers Roger Schali and Simon Gietl opened a new route, Fuhl Dich Stark Aber Nicht Unsterblich (M5 6c [5.11b] A3+, 600m), on the east face of Poincenot in late December. Due to wintry conditions, the line took four days to complete. Gietl and Schali also climbed the popular Whillans-Cochrane (TD: 5.9 60 degrees, 650m) on Poincenot and the Californian Route (TD+: 5.11 55 degrees, 650m) on Fitz Roy.
On January 25, Ian Nicholson and Graham Zimmerman established The Slash (IV+ 5.10b A2, 10 pitches, 1,200′), the second recorded route on Los Gemelos, located in the French Valley of Torres Del Paine. Read more about their ascent in the March 13, 2010 NewsWire.
In late January and early February, Jim Donini, Jake Moritz, Jay Smith and Jim Turner established the first three technical routes on La Piramide, a Devil’s Tower-like mountain located near Lago General Carrerara, just south of Chile Chico, Chile. On January 27, after an arduous approach, Smith and Turner started up a continuous crack system just left of La Piramide’s prow on the southeast face. It took two days of “less-than-perfect weather” to complete the first two pitches; the climbers descended and left the area, returning to finish Blown Away (III 5.11+) over two days, February 1-2. In addition to Blown Away, Donini, Moritz, Smith and Turner also established two short and moderate climbs in the same area.
Tomy Aguilo belays Jorge Ackermann on Pitch 8 of Historia Sin Fin. Ackermann, Aguilo and Luciano Fiorenza established the climb in alpine style over three days. [Photo] Luciano Fiorenza
Following a lengthy stay in the Torre Valley, Ryan Huetter made his way north toward Mendoza and headed to El Cajon de los Arenales with Brazilian Wagner Machado on February 2. The climbers completed several established climbs in the area before putting up the second route on El Marinero, El Regalo de Poseidon (5.11b, 7 pitches, 300m), on February 7 and 8.
Back in the Torre Valley, weather cleared in mid-February for the first time since December, allowing Whit Magro and Josh Wharton to make the fourth ascent of Blood on the Tracks (V 5.12), which follows a line of dihedrals up the north face of Rafael Juarez. On February 20, the team failed on an attempt to establish a new free line up Desmochada, a 2,000-foot tower that sits below Fitz Roy’s south face.
On February 15, Milena Gomez and Doerte Pietron took advantage of good weather to climb the French Northwest (aka Afanassieff) Ridge on Fitz Roy, making what may have been the second all-female ascent of the peak.
Luciano Fiorenza and Matias Villavicencio climb new terrain on the north face of Fitz Roy. [Photo] Jorge Ackermann
Federico Arletti and Luciano Fiorenza opened a new route, La Guillotina (7a [5.11d], 300m), on the north side of Guillaumet on February 20. The climb included 10 pitches through “perfect” cracks; the team recommends the route for its easy access and sheltered location.
Hayden Kennedy teamed up with Canadian Jason Kruk to do a lap on Supercanaleta (VI WI3+ M5, 1600m) on Fitz Roy before heading up to the Torre Valley. There, Kennedy and Ben Ditto made what may be the second completely free ascent, climbing up to 5.12a, of the Corallo Route (V 5.11+ A1, 600m) on Rafael Juarez.
Also in late February, Haley and Rolando Garibotti completed the fourth ascent of the Care Bear Traverse (VI 5.11 A0), which follows the ridgeline of Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz and Fitz Roy.
During the same weather window, Jorge Ackermann, Tomy Aguilo and Fiorenza established what may have been the most significant ascent of the season: Historia Sin Fin (7a [5.11d], 40 pitches) on the west face of Fitz Roy. The route is located on the pillar right of Supercanaleta, where it crisscrosses and overlaps Ensueno in several places. The team completed the climb over three days and in alpine style, establishing 20 new pitches and approximately 1000 vertical meters of new terrain.
On February 28, Ackermann, Fiorenza and Matias Villavicencio headed to the north face of Fitz Roy. After climbing 28 pitches up to 6c (5.11b), they joined the French Ridge and descended off the ridge 300 meters below the summit. They called the new terrain Clinica de Aventura.
On March 4, Colin Haley soloed the Argentine Route (6a [5.10b], 600m) on Aguja Mermoz. He completed the climb in fewer than four hours, base to summit, self-belaying on two pitches. This season he also soloed the Whillans-Cochrane on Poincenot and the popular Amy route (V 60 degrees, 450m) on Guillaumet.
Jorge Ackermann jumars Pitch 15 of Historia Sin Fin. [Photo] Luciano Fiorenza
Whit Magro admires the view from the base of Aguja Desmochada. Climbing partner Josh Wharton described it as “one of those special mornings where the valley is filled with cloud and the peaks look like islands in a sea.” [Photo] Josh Wharton