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South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Chalten Massif, Fitz Roy, New Route Attempt

Fitz Roy, new route attempt. We made two trips to Patagonia to climb the Northwest Pillar of Fitz Roy. On the first trip the team consisted of Nicolas Fabbri, Jérôme Huet, and me. We three returned in late 2004, adding a feminine touch in the person of Véronique Barbier.

On our first expedition the weather, wind in particular, was so horrible that we fled. We abandoned our ropes and the pitons on the route. We returned ready for storms but had a month of fine weather, with only three or four windy days. It was so hot that we were often dehydrated. We turned back at the Third Tower, which seemed very blank. We were tired and dehydrated and found no ledges for sleeping; we had no portaledge.

The route follows the ridge that borders the left side of the Supercanaleta. The ridge consists of three pillars and a final section that apparently is shared with the Afanassieff Route. We equipped the first pillar with fixed ropes. It’s easy artificial climbing (A1/A2), combined with free passages to 6b, on excellent rock. We then climbed the second pillar. There are mixed passages at M5, one artificial pitch of A2, and nice free and rather difficult (6b/c) pitches. They are extremely exposed, with poor rock and anchors. The upper part of the second pillar consists of five little towers, each about 10m high, the last one being a little more difficult (aid). The line then heads for a third, 150m, tower, which we did not climb. There is apparently only one possible route, a crack that is large at the start, gets narrower, and ends at a slab.

The whole route would cover some 1,800m. We climbed in 44 pitches. There would have been 10 more pitches before we reached the Afanassieff Route. We left 10 bolts and a number of anchors that we used on our way down.

Here is a beautiful project,which we offer to anyone who feels up to it. We will not be back. Whose turn is it?

Pierrick Keller, France (translated by Konrad Kirch)