American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentina, Argentine Patagonia, Mermoz, Attempt, and Fitz Roy, Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Mermoz, Attempt, and Fitz Roy, Ascent. In December, 1993, Kennan Harvey and I climbed about 1,500 feet up the east face of the Mermoz. Our route gains an obvious 400-foot crack on the orange prow in the center of the wall. We found stunning finger and hand cracks to 5.11, with a bit of thin A2. We reached a point about 50 feet short of the summit ridge where an ice pillar in the exit chimney blocked our finish. We left ice gear below, so we were forced to descend. We named the unfinished route Tiempo Ensuenos (Weather Dreams).

Twenty-four hours after the Mermoz attempt, the weather cleared and we climbed the mile- high north pillar of Fitz Roy in three days from the Rio Blanco base camp. The pillar offers many variations, and I’m sure every climber on the pillar would choose a different one. At a point where the first ascenscionist Renatto Cassarotto climbed a series of wide cracks, we pendulumed right into a 200-foot 5.10+ handcrack. We summitted on New Year’s Eve. Cassarotto soloed the route with fixed ropes to the top in 1979. Bobby Knight and Alan Kearney did the route in six days in the early 1980s. Ours was the third ascent.

Topher Donahue, Unaffiliated

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