Photos from the 11/99 FA of A Fine Piece in Patagonia

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Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 13, 2013 - 03:09am PT
Taking a trip down memory lane this week and getting some old slides scanned, I just put up this photo-rich post of the first ascent of A Fine Piece that Jim Donini and I did on the west pillar of Cerro Pollone in Patagonia in November, 1999.

I only briefly mentioned the climb in Enduring Patagonia (I think it got a paragraph, maybe just a sentence), but that's no reflection on its quality, because it was incredibly good, a "high intermediate" alpine rock climb in a world-class setting up the most neglected of the three major cirques in the Cerro Torre/Fitzroy massif. 15 or 16 pitches of mostly 5.9 and 5.10 crack climbing, nothing outrageously difficult, minimal objective hazard, simple approach (albeit a long one), easily doable in a day (although Jim and I bivied on the way up, and for fun on the way down since, for once, the weather was perfect, and so was the ledge).

I strongly recommend A Fine Piece for anybody interested in getting a taste of top-shelf Patagonian action without having to cue up for other, more famous climbs. But the pictures tell the story...
Lasti

Trad climber
Budapest
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:36am PT
A Fine piece indeeed!

Gorgeous pictures and stellar route. Thanks for posting your memories.

Lasti
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 13, 2013 - 05:15am PT
Nice rock. What are the red things around Jim's legs?
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Feb 13, 2013 - 05:19am PT
Thanks! It seems that Donini has some aiders tied around his legs, but as far as I can see, they're not attached to his harness. How does that work? Looks pretty stylish, I have to say.
adikted

Boulder climber
Tahooooeeeee
Feb 13, 2013 - 09:24am PT
I have been in Patagonia for 6 weeks now, 4 in Chalten and 2 in Bariloche and i can say is WOW!!!! Im already stoaked for next season...this place is truly remarkable...
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 13, 2013 - 10:39am PT
Yo Greg!!! I have a number of those photos but some of them I have never seen before. That certainly was a fine.....and safe climb- should be a classic. I suppose the length of the approach is a little daunting for some.
Angela put a bunch of scanned photos from the Kichatna Spires on a thumb drive, i'll bring them with me next week.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 10:40am PT
What are the red things around Jim's legs?

Jaaan, they were a lightweight Russian aid system we were testing for Trango. Quite good as long as the route isn't overhanging, although prone to fouling around your ankles if you didn't cinch them out of the way.

They have this little hook at the top of the thing on your ankles and you use the force of your weight to keep you attached to these little metal rings on the half of the etrier that you have attached to your aid piece.

I liked 'em in that environment, although I wouldn't use them on El Cap. The whole set up was very light, too.

I have been in Patagonia for 6 weeks now, 4 in Chalten and 2 in Bariloche and i can say is WOW!!!! Im already stoaked for next season...this place is truly remarkable...

Glad you're having such a great time, Adikted, and if you're still in Bariloche, don't neglect to do Imaginate on Campanille Eslovenia -- one of my favorite all-time rock climbs.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Feb 13, 2013 - 10:46am PT
Gregory excellent post and photos.

How's Creektown? I was born in Kaiser there.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 13, 2013 - 10:59am PT
Thanks Gregory.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:08am PT
That looks like the real deal - not many climbers will ever have an experience like that. Looks outstanding! Not too hard, great rock and position, continuous angle, variety, untouched, good weather.

You guys scored!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:22am PT
That rock looks crazy good!
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 11:47am PT
How's Creektown? I was born in Kaiser there.

I like it well enough.

That said, I'll be out of here like a cannon shot when my son goes off to college. Probably over to SF if I'm still able to make the paddle out at Ocean Beach 6 years from now. If not, either down to the kiddie-pool surfing in Santa Barbara or off to the Western Slope. Or maybe I jag it all in and head for Indonesia. (Actually, I think I'll do that for a while before making any larger decisions.)

Glad you all are enjoying the pics. And team, that route was astonishing. World class, and I think I can say that without the blinders of being in on the first ascent. What I do know is that it's deserving of more attention.

I don't quite know what to compare it to because I can't think of an alpine rock climb in the United States that's anywhere close to its league. Perhaps some of the good stuff in the Sawtooths or the western alps, but I've never climbed there so I can't compare. Perhaps some of the big classics in the Bugaboos, like the Chouinard-Beckey, but to me, being in Patagonia always had a special feeling that no other place replicated.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Holy buckets of awesomeness Batman!!

You guys are indeed ROCKSTARS!!!

Thanks so much.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
Holy buckets of awesomeness Batman!!

Ha! We just got onto a good one there... I'd spotted it and some other promising terrain up the Marconi cirque the previous June, when coming down Paso Marconi after doing the winter west face of Cerro Torre with the Swiss boys, taken some photos, then made some quiet inquiries with Rolo about what besides Greenpeace on Piergorgio had been climbed up there. (The west pillar of Pollone had been attempted by Michel Piola and Daniel Anker, but not successfully, although they'd gotten at least 2/3rds of the way up the pillar, probably 3/4ers of the way up. They're responsible for the single bolts left at what I would have left as boltless stances, but at least those bolts allowed me to return home with some hardware on the rack for a change.)

Broke the news to Jim that I had an eye on some good stuff up the Marconini Valley but wouldn't send him the pictures for fear of the cat escaping, but he was on board and we went down in November and caught a run of really good early season weather.

The FA of Torrecita Tito Carrasco that we made the week before A Fine Piece was really good, too. Pretty moderate except for the last ten meters, and those would be easy, too, in good conditions, but we caught 'em crusted up with ice in a rising storm with very strong winds.

I'd never been on a high quality virgin summit before that trip, and then I got two in a week.

If anybody got hot and strapped on A Fine Piece, I'd love to have a 'biner or some other piece we left behind for the mantle shelf...
Jay Hack

Trad climber
Detroit, Michigan
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
The pitches with those double cracks look amazing!!! Nice post up.
youngharz

Boulder climber
Carpinteria
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:58pm PT

Recent "A fine Piece" stoke from los Hermanos Joel and Neil Kauffman!

http://joelandneilsclimbingblog.blogspot.com/
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
Recent "A fine Piece" stoke from los Hermanos Joel and Neil Kauffman!

http://joelandneilsclimbingblog.blogspot.com/

Oh man, that's the coolest ever! Love it. Thanks, Youngharz. I hadn't seen that -- I'll have to link to it from my post. Was that the second ascent? I think I'd heard that somebody had done it this season, but I hadn't seen the story.

youngharz

Boulder climber
Carpinteria
Feb 13, 2013 - 06:33pm PT
Hey Greg,

I wouldn't know if it was the second ascent, but email me if you want their contact or maybe they will chime in here? I think they are still down there crushing.

That Looks like an awesome route you guys put up. I'm drooling about getting back down there.

-Erik

Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
Erik... I commented on their blog, so that might do the trick, but please do pass their info along to gregorycrouch@sbcglobal.net

It's a big buzz to see A Fine Piece getting some traffic, and super cool to see their pics. I'm truly psyched by their climb.

Thanks, Greg
The Alpine

climber
Feb 13, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
What in the world is all that white stuff??
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