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Wallstein posted a topic in The rest of the US and International.Trip: Patagonia - FA. The Washington Route - Fitzroy Date: 2/8/2011 Trip Report: This last season down in Patagonia was my 5th season of toiling and suffering down there. Finally after all of those years I feel like I've actually gotten to climb some stuff. But it wasn't until the last week of my trip this year that I made it up the Fitz. Its was a long time coming.... During the first week of February the weather forecast started to show a possible 4 day weather window. The only problem for us was we were suppose to catch a plane back the states right in the middle of the goods. As the predicted weather approach it became apparent that we’d have to change our tickets for an attempt at the Fitz. A few frustrating hours on the phone and 1k and spent we were good to go. I kept telling myself it better be worth it…. I've been burnt before changing tickets down there. On Monday the 7th we packed our bags and made our way through Piedre Fraile and onto the bivi at Piedra Negra. As luck would have it, the weather Monday night wasn’t so great. Just past midnight it started to sprinkle. To save weight on the approach we opted for no tent, so we sat there in a light rain deciding what to do. After much contemplation we decided we should just get up and start. It was 12:45am. To our dismay the glacier hadn’t yet frozen as we made our way from Paso Guillaumet to the base of La Brecha. We had figured the it would only take us 3 hours from camp to the base but it ended up taking nearly 5. Which wasn’t that much of a problem but it meant we would then be climbing the Brecha in the full effect of the sun. Not fun nor that safe. Onwards and upward we went climbing right threw the waterfall that was starting run down the Brecha. Due to the running water we were forced to stop on top of the Brecha in the sun for a couple hours to dry our clothes. At this point we were starting to run way behind. Little did we know were about to fall way behind schedule as we traversed to base of the south face. A few years ago we had covered this same terrain and has cruised right across it. This time we found boiler plate hard blue ice. Our old worn out aluminum crampons were drastically inadequate as well as our single light weight ice tool. Late in the evening it became glaringly apparent that we were going to need to bivi before we even got on the “route.” We were both a little frustrated and morale was going down. With out any obvious bivi sites available we had to keep traversing farther to the base of the California route, even though this was taking us out of the way. Thankfully we reached the base of a large ice slope where we could excavate a decent platform for the two of us. We had a great view of our proposed new route up the south face which did give us hope as it didn’t look to intimidating. On Wednesday the 9th we started up the real business of the route, which first involved making a short traversing pitch across the ice slope and then a 60m rappel down to the base of the system (a place where we had nearly been before but had to continue past to find the bivi.) I had lead a good majority of the climbing the day before as it was more of the alpine variety which I’m slightly more efficient at then Kate, so now it was Kate’s turn to take the lead and get the rope up. The first couple pitches were on good rock but unfortunately they were choked full of ice. She slowly chopped the ice out of the cracks resorting to a mix of aid and free. The rope moved up at a steady pace though. It wasn’t until a couple pitches up that the ice had disappeared allowing Kate to move and an even more rapid pace. I followed behind doing whatever it took to get up the pitch, this often involved “poor man’s jumaring,” which is just yarding up the rope in between pieces and then Kate would take the rope as tight as she could. ( I can’t even remember how many times in my guiding days did I tell clients to never do that….) Kate lead on through a variety of cracks but most were in the hands to fist to off-width size. After getting set slowed down by poor conditions yesterday it felt nice to be moving efficiently on good rock in good conditions. Pitch after pitch fell below as we continued up sustained cracks. After 12 pitches or so we veered right at our first opportunity, hoping for easier terrain. Kate turned over the lead to me at the first ledge we came to as she had been leading for over 8 hours and was properly cooked. The steepness eased up and after a few more pitches we reached a point where we started simul-climbing up the 4th class terrain that lead to the final snow slope. Both of us had really hoped to top out in the light but that just wasn’t in the cards for us. We stumbled up the last easy 100m and reached the summit just before 11pm to tired and hungry to be that excited. A short discussion ensued about rappelling through the night but we choose the much more conservative and colder option of spending the night on the summit. For some unknown reason Kate and I had opted to NOT bring a sleeping bag up Fitz. This was undeniably a very very poor choice. Our teeth literally chattered all night long. No amount of spooning was going to keep us warm. We put chemical warmers into our boots and hot water bottles in our jackets, this barely helped. But each and every chatter of the teeth were quickly forgotten as the sun rose and illuminated our location on top of Fitzroy. The excitement finally hit. Somehow we had managed to climb a new route on Fitz. This one won’t soon be forgotten.
Trip: Cerro Torre - Marsigny-Parkin-West-Face Date: 1/5/2007 Trip Report: I'm just recently back in Seattle from a three-week trip to Argentine Patagonia. Kelly Cordes and I based out of Campo Bridwell, and quickly established a gear cache up at the Niponino bivouac below El Mochito. For most the trip the weather was very bad, and we passed the time eating, drinking, bouldering, sport climbing, hiking, and sleeping. Finally, when our return flight was approaching, an excellent weather window arrived at the last moment. There were four days of almost perfect weather. The best weather window I had seen in two previous trips was about 48 hours of good weather. On the first day of the window, Jan. 4, we hiked up to the Niponino bivouac and tried to go to sleep early. We left Niponino at 2:30 am on Jan. 5 and hiked up the glacier below Cerro Torre's South Face to the base of the Marsigny-Parkin route (aka "A la Recherche Des Temps Perdues"). We started up the route at about 5:30 am, and climbed it in 8 hours, with 5 really long simul-leads, using ropeman ascenders to make the simul-climbing safer. The crux of the Marsigny-Parkin was moderate at perhaps M5, but the route was very sustained: consistently WI3-4, with almost no snow-patches on which to rest calves. We divided the climb into two massive lead blocks: Kelly led all 800m of the Marsigny-Parkin to the Col of Hope, and I led all 600m of the West Face from the Col of Hope to the summit. Just above the Col of Hope we stopped to melt snow, rest, eat, and drink. Soon above the col we reached The Helmet, which provided some tricky routefinding and steep unconsolidated snow, but we were able to surmount it on the right side. The mixed pitches beyond, in the dihedral, were moderate and went quickly. I started up the headwall pitch at 9:30pm, and finished just before dark. It was difficult considering how tired I was by then, and because of the angle (sustained vertical ice. Other parties have claimed overhanging, but I don't think it was quite that steep.), but the ice was actually very good. Above the headwall we decided that routefinding in the dark would be too tricky, so we dug/chopped ourselves a little ice-hole to get out of the wind. We spent about six hours melting snow, eating, and "homo-huddling" (we hadn't brought sleeping bags). The first pitch on Jan. 6 climbed up a natural tunnel in the ice to above the first mushroom of the summit ridge. The second pitch wormed into another tunnel to climb the second mushroom. The third pitch of the day was the crux of the route, and involved vertical and then overhanging snow climbing, followed by two aid moves off of pickets. The best peice of pro was a gigantic V-thread that I made by tunneling through the ice for about 3 meters. The final pitch climbed the summit ice mushroom (same as the Compressor Route finish), and was quite easy. We were surprised on top to not see any sign of ascents via the Compressor Route, given the beautiful weather. The view was spectacular, and it was surreal to stand on top of a mountain that I'd been dreaming of for 10 years. We descended by the Compressor Route, using a single 70m rope most of the time (for anyone attempting the Compressor Route, I would reccomend taking just one 70m rope for both the climbing and rappeling), and eventually stumbled back into Niponino at 2:30am on Jan. 7, exactly 2 days after leaving. We believe that we were the first party to succesfully link these two routes together. Also, I believe that our link-up is one of three routes on Cerro Torre that have been finished to the summit without using Maestri's headwall boltladder (the other two being the standard West Face route and Arca de los Vientos).