Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Viento, Mucho Viento!

Clouds rake the Fitz Massif, while condors float effortlessly on the gusts.
Guillamet is the icy peak on the right.

Climbers headed toward the Amy Couiour, the Brenner Ridge is the right buttress.

Joel sinks his tools into an amazing runnel of ice.


Hitchiking back from Aguja Guillamet

Joel finds Patagonian splitter cracks, with ice.

High on the Brenner Ridge

Super tranquilo!

The highs are the 1020 circles, just need them to move down a bit!
(courtesy metvuw.com)

So far the weather this season in Patagonia has been challenging for climbing larger objectives, with the exception 0f the 12 day window in early December. Since then, there has been 5 or 6 one-day climbable windows. Geographically situated at -49 degrees south latitude, the Fitz Roy Range is sandwiched between the high pressure systems typical of the northern Chile coast and the low pressure storm systems which blast Tierra del Fuego and Antartica. The opposite rotations of these global weather systems is what makes Patagonia the windiest place on Earth. I believe the large windows of perfect weather occur when high pressure systems from the north settle over the southern tip of the continent, thus diverting all low pressure to the south.

Although one of the smallest Agujas in the Fitz Roy group, Guillamet is packed with ice and mixed climbs all over its east face. If one is motivated, there are endless ascents of this neat mountain to be realized; likewise, it is often the best option for short cold and snowy weather windows.
A few weeks ago, while I stayed in town with some serious stomach funk, Joel and Tim rallied to base camp at Piedra Negra and climbed a beautiful ice runnel on Guillamet's east face, basically a variation to the Guillot Couliour.
A week later, another short window appeared during which Joel and Tim climbed the Brenner Ridge to the junction with the Amy couliour.

Now that my immune system is recovered, we have been sport climbing around El Chalten and keeping it tranquilo. Joel has left town to guide Aconcagua, we have plans to meet in Bariloche in a few weeks and climb in the sun for the remainder of our trip. While some become more impatient as the weather churns, I have settled into the reality of life in El Chalten. Patience is tested; one can dissolve mental obscurity formed by a society of immediate satisfaction, the clouds swirl and the view is incredible. For me, this is Patagonia´s finest lesson, and the power never wavers. These golden towers of rime and rock stand vigilant sentinels to the saga of time; we are left pondering our all too brief passage.


TK said...

Good stuff fellas! Glad you're feeling better Neil. Hopefully y'all can add some more highlights to your adventures.


Clint Helander said...

Hey hey hey Kauffmanians!

Glad to see you boys are having a great time down there in sudo americana! Continued good luck and I hope to be there with you next year!