The 2019 Patagonia season was off to a good start but things took a bad turn with the death of a 37-year-old Czech climber who died of hypothermia on Fitz Roy.
Also on Fitz Roy, two Brazilian climbers have gone missing and a rescue crew with nearly 20 climbers from Italy, Spain and Argentina. With the large group of rescuers was high-altitude climber Denis Urubko. During an early rescue attempt, a Spanish climber took a fall and broke a bone. The rescue team used a drone but could not find the missing climbers.
The weather turned and Claudio Migliorini reported to planetmountain.com, “We reached Paso Superior in the middle of the storm, set up our tents and dug a snowhole, slipped into our sleeping bags and waited for the wind and snow to abate. After a few hours rest we set off again, four of us, breaking trail in knee-deep snow in the howling wind, poised to take advantage of the short break in the weather to ascend further and scrutinise the face battered by bad weather… We returned in the evening because of a new wave of bad weather and strong winds had been forecast.”
The climbing in Patagonia has been compared to Chamonix and the Bugaboos, fine alpine granite in a remote location. If an accident happens in the Bugaboos or Chamonix, rescuers can be called upon. In Patagonia, there is no established organization to rescue climbers.
This has led to a number of tragic accidents in past years. One of the main downfalls is the lack of a helicopter for speedy search and rescue or recovery missions.