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,
Jan 13th - Cuatro Dedos(Four Fingers): The window was only supposed to be a small one so we set our goal on a smaller tower by Torre Glacier standards, called Cuatro Dedos. To get there required walking past about ten or more other beautiful towers, which was probably one of the main reasons why it had only ever seen one or two ascents. A prominent northeasterly buttress that led directly to its summit had been on my list of things to do for a couple years, and it was finally time to attempt it.
At 7 a.m. on the 19th of August 2005, Bruce Kay (Squamish B.C) and I were racking up at the toe of the steep pillar on the right side of Mt. MacDonald's 1000 meter high North Face, for our first adventure together. We were surprised to see a bolt at the first belay, although we knew the pillar had been attempted a couple of times before. On the second pitch (5.7), two unnecessary and appalling protection bolts appeared, both within a couple of feet of bomber green camelot placements. Unfortunately, the nut on the first one was tight, but Bruce managed to get the second one loose, remove the hanger, and unleash the fury of his hammer on the protruding stud. It was the first time he had chopped a bolt in 30(?) years of climbing. The pillar steepened and Bruce led a nice pitch of 5.10-. One final bolt appeared at the belay above the third pitch which we left in place. The fourth pitch and the technical crux of the route moved right on to the arete. I managed to weld two knifeblades for protection from crimps before pumping out and having to hang. Tighter shoes would have been helpful for this short section of 5.11 face climbing. At the top of the sixth pitch, we passed the last signs of other attempts. Pitch after pitch of sustained 5.10 climbing followed with one more section of 5.11 on the eighth pitch. Finally, after eleven pitches, eight of which were sustained 5.10 and 5.11, we topped out on the pillar. Ahead, the angle eased a little as the wall split into a series of gullies and buttresses.