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South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Chalten Massif, Fitz Roy, Tehuelche and Supercanaleta, Attempts

Fitz Roy, Tehuelche and Supercanaleta, attempts. I spent a month with Chris Turiano, a very good and strong guy from Colorado. We were in Piedra del Fraile with the intention of attempting Tehuelche (1,200m, VI 5.11 A2) on the north face of Fitz Roy. The plan was to do it in one day. The plan seemed crazy to me, but I trusted Chris. We spent a night in Paso del Cuadrado. We set out from Paso at 2 a.m. and arrived at the base of the route at 7 a.m. We traveled superlight but superdangerous—no boots, no stove, no extra clothes. Also no food; only a small pack with water. We climbed very fast. Chris freed the third pitch (originally A2), grading it 5.10R. We simul-climbed almost all the time, only exchanging the gear and the pack. We reached the Grand Hotel, 600m up, in just four hours. We hoped to be on top by late night, but trouble had just started. We tried to continue climbing fast, but the first pitch above the Grand Hotel, a notoriously difficult offwidth, was hard to free and slowed us considerably. After three and one-half hours Chris reached the belay. It would be easy to aid the pitch with another #6 Friend. I led another long pitch, linking two of our topo’s pitches, and then we decided to go down. That pitch had exhausted us, and we didn’t carry bivy gear, just Gore-Tex jackets. Late at night we returned to the start of the wall. During the night the weather became really bad. I think it is possible to do Tehuelche in one day but with a different approach. Next time!

We also tried Supercanaleta. We started directly from Piedra del Fraile and began climbing the couloir 10 p.m. When we came to the Bloque Empotrado (The jammed block, about 1,000m up, at the end of the initial couloir.), the weather collapsed again, so we rappelled off. On the way down we were almost killed by rockfall but came back safe to Piedra del Fraile the next day.

You know how it goes in Patagonia. I hope we have better luck next year.

Klemen Mali, Slovenia