American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chilean—Argentine Patagonia, Fitz Roy, East Face Dihedral, and Aguja Mermoz, East Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Fitz Roy, East Face Dihedral, and Aguja Mermoz, East Face. Our Slovene expedition consisted of Francek Knez, Janez Jeglic, Silvo Karo and me as leader. We arrived in the Fitz Roy National Park on November 8. On the 10th we carried equipment to Base Camp on the Río Blanco. On the 11th the other three dug a snow cave below the east face but came back to Base because of bad weather. After more supply carries, on November 15 we started the climb. The weather was fine in the morning but by afternoon it was snowing and blowing. Jeglic, Knez and Karo made 350 feet in winter conditions on the first day, finding traces of previous attempts in the first two pitches. We normally had two climbers working on the route while a third rested and put the snow cave in order. I brought gear and food from Base Camp, carried wet clothing back there, dried it and returned it to the ice cave. In 23 days, there were only eight good enough for climbing and only three without snowfall and wind. All four of us set out on December 4, the route being prepared to within 1000 feet of the top of the face. Jeglic and Karo led while Knez and I jümared, carrying bivouac gear. By nine P.M. we were 450 feet below the great comer. The wall became easier and we thought we could finish the next day in three hours. During the night the weather changed and we had a most difficult bivouac on a tiny shelf. At seven A.M. we began the descent, shivering with cold, with no visibility, in snowfall and wind, on iced ropes. On December 7 the other three returned to the ice cave and on the 8th they reached the top of the buttress at two P.M. in nice weather. The route there joined Casarotto’s though it was still well below the summit. On December 9 Jeglic, Knez and Karo climbed a new route on the east face of the Aguja Mermoz, ascending a couloir in the extreme left side of the wall. This was the second ascent of the peak. On December 1, I soloed what is probably a new route on the northeast face of the highest summit between Lago los Tres and Lago Lucia.

Stane Klemenc, Planinska Zveza Slovenije, Yugoslavia

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