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South America, Argentina and Chile, Southern Patagonia, Hvit Linje and Other Ascents

HvitLinje and other ascents. On November 25 Marius Olsen and I climbed a new ice line below and northeast of Poincenot. Hvit Linje (600m, WI5 85/90°) is visible from way out on the pampas as you approach Chalten by bus, the line melting down from Glaciar Superior below Fitz Roy and Poincenot. It is thin, straight as a pencil, and sustained, no ledges, 85° throughout, with 20m and 40m vertical sections. We climbed it in a narrow little weather window, as it’s sheltered from the wind, and might have been the only climbers out that day.

The approach via Lago de los Tres was easy this year, but it was important to rope up on the glacier above Lago Sucia. We branched left above Lago de los Tres and headed straight for the line. The serac might look scary, but it isn’t. It overhangs to the left of our line, and if you’re lucky it might rip while you are on the sharp end—while Marius was leading, a big load fell silently and exploded on the glacier below. Directly above the line, the serac lays back and is safe; it gave us an easy exit to the top of the serac and a magnificent panorama.

Marius then had to return to Norway (earlier we’d crammed in Exocet on Standhardt and Benitiers on El Mocho), and then the first two weeks of December turned out fantastic. Luckily I teamed up with Ramiro Greco (Arg) and climbed the Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy, and then teamed up with Cullen Kirk (U.S.) and climbed the Red Pillar on the Mermoz and the classic Ferrari/ Ragni di Lecco Route on Cerro Torre as a grande finale. The conditions on the Ferrari were outstanding, allowing us to go in one push from Niponino (via Standhardt col) to the top in only 15 hours [Likely a speed record for the route—Ed.]. Other climbers had already opened the last steep mushroom, allowing rapid progress. We spent the night on top, savoring every drop of the experience.

Patagonia was generous, giving so much. The voodoo-like asado that our Argentinean climbing friends put up in the end was the best ever!

Bjorn-Eivind Aartun, Norway, AAC