American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Chalten Massif, Agujas Saint Exupery, Rafael Juarez, and Poincenot, Traverse

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Agujas Saint Exupery, Rafael Juarez, and Poincenot, traverse. Beginning on February 18 Jonny Copp and I enchained Saint Exupery, Aguja Rafael Juarez, and Aguja Poincenot in a 52-hour roundtrip from Polacos high camp. After oversleeping we left Polacos at 10 a.m. and climbed Exupery via the classic Chiaro di Luna (V 5.11-). We then descended along the north side of Exupery to gain the knife-edge ridge connecting Exupery with Rafael. After a few spectacular but moderate pitches along the knife-edge, we discovered a fantastic bivouac at 10 p.m., just below Rafael’s upper spire. In the morning we climbed the few remaining pitches to Rafael’s summit via the Anglo-American Route (IV 5.11-) and then descended that route to the base of Poincenot’s south face. During the descent we encountered friendly Germans, who advised us of bad weather forecast for the following day. Abandoning our hope of free-climbing Judgment Day on the steepest portion of Poincenot’s south face, we turned to the Fonrouge-Rosasco (V+ 5.11, 1968). After another bivouac at the junction of the Carrington-Rouse and the Fonrouge-Rosasco, we reached the summit of Poincenot early the next morning and descended (via the Carrington-Rouse) into the building wind to Polacos. We made the traverse with a single small pack between us, climbing free on lead and second, apart from a few of the Fonrouge’s steeper pitches. When we began, we had quietly hoped we might be able to continue all the way to the summit of Fitz Roy; this would be possible with a bit more good weather, less sleep, and a better alarm clock. The other obvious addition would be putting Aguja de L’S into the mix to create a monster route, which would include five of the Fitz Roy massif’s classic summits.

Josh Wharton, AAC

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