PATAGONIA – Nov/Des 2010

Torre Summits

In early November, Ole Lied and I traveled to Chalten in Argentinean Patagonia hoping for good weather and a lot of climbing. But both of us knew that Patagonia is just as famous for it high winds and bad weather as for its good climbing.

We arrived in the end of a good weather window and carried all our gear into the Torre valley in perfect weather. We wanted to try Exocet on Cerro Standhardt, a classic ice/mix route on the easiest of the Torre summits. The next day the weather was not so good and wind was almost blowing us out of balance on the first mix pitches from Standhardt Col. The ramp was in the shade of the wind and we moved quite fast in good conditions. In the chimney the spindrift was constant but ice was good and we made steady progress. The chimney is narrow and its almost impossible to hide from ice falling from the leader. On pitch three of the chimney Ole was leading and was almost at the next belay when one big chunk of ice hit me. Everything was black for some seconds and my head and neck hurt like hell. My helmet was smashed and we decided to go home, to bad since we had done most of the hard climbing, but the only smart thing to do. The next day we walked back to Chalten in rain and wind.

The next weeks we tried to climb some routes but weather was mostly bad. We “missed” one good weather window when we started to early and turned back (did’t get far) in a bad storm, just to wake up in the tent again some hours later to perfect weather. We climbed Todo O Nada, a easy ice route on El Mocho. Its did’t feel right to be on a route like that in such good weather when we should have been climbing on one of the bigger peaks. The same day Colin was the first to solo Exocet (very impressive!) and Bjørn-Eivind and Robert also climbed Exocet.

Back in Chalten we did our best to make the days fly by. Bouldering, sport climbing, running, hiking, eating big Argentinean stakes and tasting the Vino Tinto. But not necessarily in that order…

Just before we went home we climbed Whillans-Cochrane route on Aguja Poincenot, one of the most majestic summits in the Fitz Roy massif. The weather was quite good, but the wind was high all day and although the climbing never is hard it was hard enough for us that day, we did everything in big boots and with gloves. It was good to get one real summit before we went home to celebrate Christmas in Norway.

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