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Patagonia Season Starts With New and Rare Routes

The 2017/18 Patagonia summer season has started with a new route by American Austin Siadak and Brit James Moneypenny.

The weather in El Chalten hasn’t been optimal for heading out into the mountains, but that hasn’t stopped some Patagonia veterans from getting after it.

Siadak wrote on Instagram: “A couple miles south of the high grade granite of the Chaltén massif, the dark metamorphosed stone of Cerro Solo erupts from the hills above town, sitting in plain view of every visiting tourist and climber alike. But despite its proximity, Solo is often overlooked…”

Siadak figured there would be mixed potential on the south face and got Monepenny to go for the five-hour approach.

“In a 20-hour round-trip mission from town we had a great time establishing a new route, encountering perfect néve, thin ice, steep snow pillars and thought-provoking mixed terrain along the way,” said Siadak.

“It was classic climbing that would likely be oft-repeated if it were anywhere in the States, and even had a sweet sting-in-the-tail crux pitch in the last 20 metres before the summit ridge. We both got scared and we both smiled a lot. Super fun.”

Their new 500-metre climb is The French Connection and goes at M6 A0. This is the third new route Siadak has climbed on Cerro Solo in the past year.

“While certainly not the kind of mountain or climbing for which this area is famous, I do think that Cerro Solo offers great snow and mixed climbing during periods of bad weather or very short weather windows.”

Earlier in the month, Canadian Quentin Lindfield Roberts and Finn Juho Knuuttila climbed the Cara Este route on Cerro Piergiorgio for the second ascent.

They left Niponino at 5 a.m. and reached the summit at 4 p.m., and returned to Niponino by 10:30 p.m. They freed the first aid pitch at M6R/X and the second at M6 (first freed in 2010 by Will Sim and Jon Griffith).

At the start of December, Lindfield Roberts Canadian Chris Willie climbed Los Tiempos Perdidos into the Directa Huarpe to within a pitch and a half of the summit of Cerro Torre.

Willie was hit in the head on the descent and lost consciences, but woke up shortly after. The season has just begun, hopefully weather improves and more big climbs are done.