AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Fitz Roy, Los Ultimos Dias del Paraiso

Fitz Roy, Los Ultimos Dias del Paraiso. Grega Lacen and I stared on the north face, on the left side of the obvious snow ledge below and right of Tehuelche. The first seven pitches were quite hard, with sandy rock and loose flakes. We free-climbed up to 6c (French), with aid moves (A2) in icy cracks. I think we were somewhere near a 1984 French attempt. We saw rap stations close to our line, and I assume our predecessors were climbing more or less in the big corner/chimney system. It was full of ice, so we climbed more on the right-hand slabs and joined the system after Five or six pitches. Our original plan was to climb the big corner left of the Afanasieff Route on the upper part of the face, but ice and bad weather most of the day slowed us, and when we saw that the corner looked super-loose, we headed for the Afanasieff. We joined it on the big tower below its hardest part. This section had better rock, but again a lot of ice and harder climbing than we expected (10 pitches, 6a A2). We continued climbing through the night and reached the ridge at dawn. It was too windy there, so we brewed a bit higher. We had no topo for Afanasieff (I don’t think one even exists), so we had route-finding problems, especially since we were in clouds half of the day. As we went higher it became clear that the shortest, safest way down was over the summit, so we pushed on and summited at 10 p.m. in a raging storm (same as Afanasieff). So far everything was okay, and we were enjoying the climb despite bad weather, but on the summit things were different. I had been there twice before but still needed an hour to find the right summit and the way down in such bad visibility. On the way down, 100m below the summit, I broke my fucking aluminum crampon. The slope was super-hard, so Grega made bigger steps for my left foot, and I grabbed them with my left hand. Finally we reached the point where the Franco-Argentine rappels should began, but conditions were crazy. Snow, strong winds, and bigger and bigger spindrifts. We could not see anything. We rapped a full ropelength a few times but couldn’t find anchors and jumared back up. We tried to dig a small ledge on which to wait for dawn, but it was Sisyphean work, because avalanches covered it in seconds. So we stood like soldiers for the rest of the night. We covered ourselves with our bivy bag and tried to cook, but because of the wind we were surfing more than cooking. Anyway, at dawn we found the raps and things began to run smoothly. Over Paso Guillamet we descended to Piedra and on to El Chalten.

We did 600m of a new route/variation (6c A2), before continuing by the Afanasieff Route to the summit. We needed 38 hours of nonstop climbing to summit, and 72, without sleeping, for the whole story. We named the route Los Ultimos Dias del Paraiso and dedicated it to our friend Ozbej Povsod, who died last year.

Tomaz Jakofcic, Slovenia