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South America, Argentina and Chile, Southern Patagonia, Aguja Guillaumet, Hard Sayin' Not Knowing

Aguja Guillaumet, Hard Sayin’ Not Knowing. On the morning of January 22, 2009, with a marginal weather report, Kate Rutherford and I left El Chalten and continued to the east face of Aguja Guillaumet. We looked at the Anker- Piola route, but it had too much snow and ice. However, I noticed a lower-angle ramp system cutting left across the lower part of the face; in those conditions, the ramps looked more climbable than anything else.

The first pitch led up a 5.9 icy squeeze chimney with no pro, followed by enjoyable mid- 5.10 fingers and hands that trended up and left. A short ramp again led up and left to a spot were I tunneled behind a pillar. Kate then led straight up until we were forced left. A short face traverse across a gully led to a snow-filled corner system. Kate led a ramp to a splitter hand crack and then a pitch of snowy 5.8 corner, until she reached mixed terrain. I took over and led us up and left to an arête that looks down into the couloir of Terre de Hommes. I continued up to the base of a depression filled with nasty, steep, rotten water ice. After much contemplation, much cursing, thrashing, and chopping got me to the top of the horrendous A2 pitch, putting us at the bottom of the easternmost part of the huge snow ramp that leads to the summit ridge. After 180m of thin névé, devoid of protection and in the dark, we reached the summit ridge around midnight and promptly started descending. We returned to the base around 4 a.m.

When we started, we didn’t have a picture of the face, nor did we know if it would be a new route. Hard Sayin’ Not Knowing (550m, 5.10 A2 75°).

Michael Schaefer