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Colin Haley Soloing Huge Patagonia Climb

The veteran alpinist just released a film featuring the historic first solo winter ascent of one of Fitz Roy's most famous routes

Patagonia veteran Colin Haley made the first solo winter ascent of the Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy in Patagonia last Spetember. The objective had been on his mind for nearly a decade. Climbing such lines in winter is considered extremely dangerous due to complicated technical cruxes, changing weather, short days, big objective hazards and isolation.

After his ascent, he said, “It was a very intense experience that leveraged the total skillset I have built up over the past 22 years of climbing and alpinism. The climb and descent left me wasted physically, mentally, and psychologically. Being alone on the summit of Fitz Roy in winter, at night, felt very, very far away from everything.”

Supercanaleta climbs a 1,600-metre line up Fitz Roy’s west face – it was first climbed in 1965 by the Argentineans Carlos Comesaña and José Luis Fonrouge. It involves technical rock, ice and mixed climbing.

Haley is no stranger to the range and first climbed Supercanaleta in December 2007 with Canadian Maxime Turgeon (watch a video of Turgeon on Exocet during the same trip below). Supercanaleta was first soloed in 2002 by Dean Potter, a feat which Haley repeated in January 2009. In 2016, Haley and Andy Wyatt climbed Fitz Roy in 21 hours car-to-car, which is still considered fast.

Haley stashed gear in the mountains earlier this month and made an attempt on Sept. 6, but a snowy forecast forced him to return to El Chalten. He then attempted on Sept. 12, but again bailed due to weather and a bent ice tool pick. After several sketchy rappels, he made it back to his tent and eventually town. He returned for a push on the 19th but felt tired, however Rolando Garibotti – the foremost Patagonia expert – suggested that he continue with his attempt. He crossed the bergschrund at 7:00 a.m. and reached the upper southwest ridge by 3:45 p.m. By 8 p.m., he was above the difficulties and summited at 9:23. He then downclimbed to the 1,000 metres of rappels. He arrived at his tent “wasted physically, mentally, and psychologically” and then rested before heading to town on the 21st.

Haley has made the first solo ascents of a number of difficult mountains, including Aguja Standhardt, Punta Herron, and Torre Egger in Patagonia; and Mount Waddington, Mount Combatant, and Mount Asperity in B.C.’s Coast Range. Haley made the first solo ascents of the Infinite Spur on Mount Foraker and the North Buttress of Mount Hunter, both in the Alaska Range. For more climbs from Haley visit here and for more information on Fitz Roy climbing visit here.

Supercanaleta Solo