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The Chad Kellogg Memorial Route

Chad Kellogg was an American alpinist who was tragically killed in Patagonia in February, 2014, by rockfall on Fitz Roy.

Kellogg and his climbing partner Jens Holsten had climbed the Afanassieff Route on the northwest ridge of Fitz Roy. After reaching the top on Feb. 14, they started their descent of Supercanaleta. After three rappels, one of the two ropes got stuck. Kellogg and Holsten pulled on the rope to loosen it, which dislodged a rock that killed Kellogg instantly. Holsten continued the descent alone.

More than a year later, Holsten has climbed a new route on Argonaut Peak in the Enchantments in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. The new route faces the northeast face of Mount Stuart and a route called the Lara Kellogg Memorial Route, which was established by Dylan Johnson and Colin Haley in honour of Chad’s wife Lara who was killed in a rappelling accident in Alaska in 2007.

Jens Holsten traversing towards an ice runnel on the Chad Kellogg Memorial Route. Photo Vern Nelson

Holsten and Vern Nelson climbed their new route, the Chad Kellogg Memorial Route, after two years of attempts. “This time around, the conditions were still marginal, but my heart and mind were in a different spot,” wrote Holsten on his Facebook page. “I’ve struggled to climb in the mountains since Chad Kellogg died beside me, but this past week I felt a different vibe.

“I knew it was time to dig out the tools and dust off the crampons. I committed myself to sections of climbing that had previously scared me and found a focus that I thought I had lost. Near the top of the difficulties, when it became clear we would succeed, I let my emotional guard down. I looked across Mountaineer’s Creek at the Lara Kellogg Memorial Route and let my tears release. It makes me happy that Lara’s and Chad’s namesake routes will gaze lovingly at one another from here on out.”

The Chad Kellogg Memorial Route on Argonaut Peak. Photo Jens Holsten

The Chad Kellogg Memorial route climbs seven pitches with some AI4 and an M6R crux pitch and, as Holsten said, “An aid pitch on a final unexpected headwall that forced me to do a wild tension traverse.

“I won’t lie, I really wanted to draw a straighter line up this wall, but in the mountains you don’t contrive, you just follow the path presented to you.” Holsten finished with, “Chad, my friend, this one was for you.”

Chad Kellogg Memorial Route
“After the traverse, I thought the terrain was breaking down, but a headwall stopped us dead in our tracks. I set off from the belay confident that I could free the mid 5.10 pitch even in my boots and crampons. I gave it my best shot until a rotten flake exploded in my hands and I took a small whipper onto a grainy #4. I went into aid mode, which I’m glad I did, as the finish to this pitch required a pretty exciting tension traverse.” – Jens Holsten Photo Vern Nelson

Kellogg had climbed all over the world and in 2003 won the Khan Tengri mountaineering race in Kazakhstan.

He had a number of unofficial records for speed ascents of Mount Rainier including the first sub-five-hour ascent and descent. Kellogg was also the first climber to to ascend and descend Alaska’s Denali in less than 24 hours.