Patagonia 2005: New routes on Fitz Roy, Descmochada, and Rafael

Argentine Patagonia summary from January and February 2005 Fitz Roy and Aguja Rafael, New Routes. Paul McSorley and I rolled in to Patagonia at the end of January, just in time for the start of three weeks of mostly excellent climbing weather. We immediately hiked to Paso Superior with the intentions of finding an unclimbed line on the south or east face of Fitz Roy. After seven sweet early-morning pitches up La Brecha, we saw an obvious line of beautiful clean corners splitting the south face, just left of the Boris Simoncic Route (ED-: 5.9 A2 55°, 650m, Biscak-Fadjan-Lenarcic, 1985). Dropping down about 100 meters from the col, we crossed the 'shrund and found an easy mixed ramp that shared the first forty meters of the Boris, then followed another ropelength to the first beautiful corner. We started short-fixing, mostly climbing in boots and aiders because of the amount of ice on the ledges and our numb fingers. The second pitch turned out to be the technical crux with a section of about eight meters of thin stoppers that would probably go free at 5.12. A couple of pitches later, a short 5.9 squeeze behind a flake led to one of the best corners we had ever climbed. Another nice thirty-meter corner and some easier terrain brought us to a ledge where we had a comfortable bivy. The rest of the route follows a 5.10 ramp system below a steep wall on the left, and exits up a short offwidth to the summit slopes shared by all the routes on this side of the mountain. We summited under calm and clear skies, and rappelled the Franco-Argentine, disgusted by the amount of trash left behind on this normal route from past parties using siege tactics. Others referred to our route as The Canadian Route (5.10 A1, 900m [500m new]) as this sector of the mountain has a nationalty theme, and soon the the stuck. No bolts or pitons were placed, and certainly neither are needed. Aaron "The Need for Speed˜ Martin and Jacob Schmitz (USA) soon repeated it in seven hours from the schrund to the summit, with Martin leading every pitch and freeing about eighty-five percent of it at 5.10 or easier. They also confirmed the route's quality; we all thought it would be a better alternative at around the same overall grade as its popular neighbor, the Franco-Argentine.

The Canadian Route, Cerro Fitz Roy

The Canadian Route marked on the south face of Cerro Fitz Roy


Canadian Route-approaching enduro corner.


Canadian Route-enduro corner


Canadian Route-upper corner


The north face of Aguja Rafael with some of the route lines


Aguja Rafael FFA of the West ridge pitch 4


Isaac Cortes checking out the sunrise while approaching Desmochada


Desmochada and Poincenault with the line of "Dieta Del Lagarto"


Isaac stemming his way up the the first pitch


Desmochada's big left facing corner