Last winter, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll made the first ascent of The Moonwalk Traverse in a bold solo push. Tje route is more than 5,000 metres long and was graded at 6c 50°. It follows the Fitz Traverse, which was first climbed in 2014 by Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold, but in reverse. The route received a Piolet d’Or this year.
The project, over five kilometres in length and with more than 4,000 metres of total elevation gain, follows the skyline from Aguja de l‘S, over Aguja de Saint Exupéry, Aguja Rafael Juárez, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Kakito, Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Val Biois, Aguja Mermoz, Aguja Guillaumet Sur, and finally Aguja Guillaumet. Villanueva O’Driscoll took a light pack, a small haul bag (which later broke, becoming unusable), 10 days of food, a sleeping bag, a small tent and tin whistle. The starting weight was nearly 30 kg.
On the first day, the single lead rope he was using sustained three core shots and only just lasted to the end of the traverse. Not much later he lost cams when a gear loop broke. He climbed free, mostly on-sight, and self-belayed with a Grigri on all but the easiest (scrambling) pitches, resulting in him covering most of the ground three times. He carried no communication device and due to the quiet nature of the mountains at that time, met only three other teams. Patagonian veteran, Colin Haley, felt it was undoubtedly the most impressive solo ascent ever made in this region.
Watch Villanueva O’Driscoll on sections of the traverse below, the video was just released by the Piolet d’Or.