Argentine Patagonia, Various Ascents, and Second Ascent of Condorito. (This account complements the brief notes in last year’s volume, pp. 281-2.) On January 29, 1998, Michael Richter and I climbed Guillaumet via the Col de Droite. On February 4, Jack Tigle (Scotland) and I climbed the Aguja de la Silla via the Brecha de los Italianos (normal route, 5.9). The route starts from the same point as the American route on Fitz Roy. On February 8, Jack Tigle and I climbed Poincenot via the Whillans route. Ten other teams climbed this route in February. In February, Jack Tigle and I climbed Fitz Roy via the Franco-Argentine route (5.10.+). The conditions were perfect, so we managed to climb every pitch of the route free. Starting at Paso Superior (high camp) at 2 a.m., we reached the top at 7 p.m. and were back at Paso Superior at 3:30 a.m. the next day. I needed five attempts to reach the top.
On February 18,I climbed Aguja Saint Exupery via Condorito with Rainer Treppte. It was the route’s second ascent. The route has 101 (!) bolts, including two bolts at every belay. The first eight pitches are perfect, involving steep cracks of every size, then two pitches of free/Al/A2, then four pitches of flakes/cracks.
On February 24, Frank K. (Belgium) and I attempted the Casarotto Pillar on Fitz Roy via the Kearney-Naight route. We made it up to rock pitch 8. After climbing the 400-meter couloir, we slept for two hours. The morning started with clouds and at 11 a.m. the top of Fitz Roy was covered in clouds and storms started again. February 23 was the last good weather day of the season.
Jens Richter, Germany