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Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll and Pete Whittaker Climbing in Patagonia

A new film featuring first free ascents, splitter cracks and wild weather

This past winter, Pete Whittaker and Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll teamed up for a few routes in Patagonia. They managed to make the first free ascent of two routes.

First they made the first free ascent of Yacaré on Rafael Juarez in the Fitz Roy Range, which was just opened by Pedro Odell and Tomás Odell. The 550-metre went free at 5.12 up some wide cracks. “Higher on the route there was an offwidth splitter pitch which hadn’t been fully freed. With Sean loving a good offwidth struggle as well,” said Whittaker. “We got drawn into the idea of giving it ago. Turned out to be quite tricky due to a lot of ice and verglass in the wide section. The pitch turned out to be 60 metres of incredible rock and incredible grovel, with a delicate slab move to connect the cracks.”

Taking advantage of another weather window, Whittaker and Villanueva O’Driscoll made the first free ascent of Anda p’ alla! on the west face of Guillaumet. It was first climbed in July by a team of four. Whittaker said, “The route didn’t disappoint, brilliant rock on perfect flaring splitters… I got stopped by an obvious crux; A thin seam with awkward body positioning and flaring finger jams. They graded Anda p’ alla! 5.13b and managed to climb it in a day and return home.

Villanueva O’Driscoll and Whittaker are two of the best crack climbers going, but Villanueva O’Driscoll has over a decade of experience in Patagonia whereas this was Whittaker’s first trip. Watch this highly entertaining film about their climbs.

Patagonia Climbing