There’s good weather in Patagonia and climbers are flocking to the iconic Torre and Fitz Roy ranges while it lasts. Hot temperatures in the Patagonia mountains often results in big rock falls and unstable alpine conditions. This week, a member of a Japanese team took a bad fall and suffered severe injuries to his head. A technical rescue took place with climbers in the area who are on Yosemite’s rescue team YOSAR. More info soon.
It could be one of the most extreme rescues ever in Patagonia, an area where many climbers have died as a result of there being no official rescue group. Two weeks ago, a Czech climber was killed on Fitz Roy, but no other information has been released. At least four climbers have died this season in Patagonia, but details of those accidents have not been published.
Jim Reynolds, one of the Yosemite climbers currently in Patagonia, wrote the following on his Instagram: “This place fills me with doubt. I’m not sure I belong. Four people died in the last window. It’s terrible and ugly in these mountains of otherwise immaculate beauty. Should I be here? Days later I learned that my best friend from childhood died from a heroin overdose. Either way death is inglorious, but I firmly believe that we are pushing for something beautiful. It is beautiful moments that make life worth living. Maybe someday I will feel a different love and it will draw me elsewhere, but life is dangerous. I won’t give up love for fear.”
In the world of ascents, Leo Billon, Max Bonniot and Pierre Labbre climbed Cerro Torre via David Lama’s free variation on the southeast ridge.
Vitaliy Musiyenko and Ted Hesser climbed Fitz Roy via the California Route. Hesser said after, “This has been a dream of mine for longer than I can remember. To put it in perspective, only a few people summit Fitz each year, while Everest typically see’s hundreds of ascents each year. It’s a huge and technical mountain, with complex terrain demanding all types of climbing skill sets. Ice, mixed, rock. It has it all.”
Jesse Huey and Canadian Will Stanhope have just arrived in Patagonia and made a quick ascent of Cerro Standhardt. Huey said after, “80 hours after getting on a plane in Denver Will Stanhope and I were on the summit of our first Torre, Cerro Standhardt. A long cold jet lagged night of rappelling, my first unplanned open bivy, and a long march back to town, I am just a little pooped. Really grateful and humbled to be back in these beautiful mountains again.”
The season is short in Patagonia, but the weather is good and there are a number of strong climbers. Hopefully we see many more ascents and less accidents as the conditions continue to be good.