The mother of all traverses: The Fitz Traverse.

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rolo

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 18, 2014 - 12:45am PT
From the lowest of lows: Chad Kellogg's recent death on the Supercanaleta, to the highest of highs: the mother of all traverses...

Between the 12th and 16th of February, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold completed the first ascent of the much discussed "Fitz Traverse", climbing across the iconic ridge-line of Cerro Fitz Roy and its satellite peaks in southern Patagonia.

This ridge-line involves climbing Aguja Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz, Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Rafael Juárez, Aguja Saint-Exúpery and Aguja de l'S.

In all they climbed across over five kilometers of ridge line, covering close to 4000 meters of vertical gain with difficulties to 7a (5.11d) C1 65 degrees. They simul-climbed much of the climb, dispatching 20-pitch sections such as Pilar Goretta in a mere three pitches.

They started at 9:45AM on the 12th climbing the “Brenner-Moschioni” route in two pitches to reach the summit of Aguja Guillaumet by 12:15PM. They continued south, along the Cresta Sur to reach Aguja Mermoz, climbing the “Argentina” route to reach the summit by 5PM. Four hours later they decided to stop to bivy, placing their tent in the ridge leading to Aguja Val Biois.

On the 13th they started at 8:30AM, climbing past Aguja Val Biois to reach the col at the base of Pilar Goretta at 11:30AM. In three pitches they climbed the “Casarotto” route with the “Kearney-Knight” variation to reach the summit of the pillar and start up the final headwall at 7:45PM. Finding terrible conditions in the upper headwall, with way too much rime and ice in the cracks, they were forced to slow down, reaching the summit of Cerro Fitz Roy at 2:30AM.

On the morning of the 14th, after a short night just below the summit they rappelled the Franco-Argentina reaching La Silla at 12:45PM and weaving their way through the various summits of Aguja Kakito to reach the base of the “Potter-Davis” route on Aguja Poincenot by 6PM. Short-fixing they made quick work of it, reaching the summit by 9:15PM.

On the morning of the 15th they rappelled “Judgment Day” to reach the Col SUSAT by 11:30AM. At noon they started up the “Piola-Anker” route on Aguja Rafael Juárez, climbing it in two pitches to reach the summit at 2:15PM. By 4:30PM they had traversed the ridge to Aguja Saint-Exúpery and by 6:20PM they were in the summit, having climbed it in a mere two pitches.

By this point their rope was reduced to 38 meters in length so they made an endless number of rappels down the “Austríaca” to reach the Col de los Austríacos, setting camp for the night in the boulderfield at the base of the final climb, the north ridge of Aguja de l'S.

In the morning of the 16th they climbed that final section, doing a single pitch to reach the summit by 8:50AM, descending east to reach the glacier just after 10AM.

On this epic adventure they took:
 two backpacks (35 and 25 liters)
 one sleeping bag
 a BD First Light tent
 a stove and three gas canisters
 one ice tool
 two pairs of aluminum crampons
 one ice-screw
 2 each Camalots to #2
 1 Camalot #3
 two sets of Stoppers
 a 60m 9.8mm lead line
 an 80m 6mm tag line
 three ascenders/locking pulleys (Petzl Micro-traxion, Kong Duck and Futura)
 6 quick-draws
 14 slings

It should be noted that their success was in spite of very bad conditions, with much ice and snow in the cracks and on the ridges courtesy of one of the wettest summer seasons in many years.

Caldwell and Honnold wore rockshoes to climb Pilar Goretta and the north face of Aguja Poincenot but climbed everything else wearing approach shoes (!!).

This was Honnold's first climb in Patagonia… Over the years Caldwell has done a number of impressive ascents in the area, most notably the first free and onsight ascent of Linea de Eleganza on Cerro Fitz Roy.

Respect, respect and more respect.

The gothic beauty of the Fitz Roy skyline.
The gothic beauty of the Fitz Roy skyline.
Credit: rolo

Tommy and Alex on the first peak of many, on Aguja Guillaumet.
Tommy and Alex on the first peak of many, on Aguja Guillaumet.
Credit: rolo
TYeary

Social climber
State of decay
Feb 18, 2014 - 12:51am PT
Speechless.....Respect and wide eyed wonder!
TY
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 18, 2014 - 12:53am PT
Unreal. Makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

Kudos to the both of them.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Feb 18, 2014 - 12:57am PT
i would need a chopper to do that,
ryankelly

Trad climber
el portal
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:01am PT
strong work
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:02am PT
Well,

That answers THAT !

What a great adventure.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:03am PT
They're going to get out of shape for real climbing if they keep up this alpinism business.

:P
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:03am PT
Impressive! Those are some fit dudes.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:12am PT
Jeez…I mean…gosh almighty….that's chimpressive!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:13am PT
What the...


bearbnz

Trad climber
East Side, California
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:14am PT
Absolutely amazing.
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:26am PT
impeccable... beautiful... proud... mindboggling... inspiring...

even superlative descriptions sound trite compared to what was actually accomplished...

congrats gents.
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:35am PT
Wow ! X 10. Nice job guys.

Plaid
gf

climber
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:42am PT
Now we're talking climbing-well done.
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Feb 18, 2014 - 01:48am PT
I love the line from Rolo's report;

'This was Honnold's first climb in Patagonia.'
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 18, 2014 - 02:02am PT
Uh uh? Aliens....not of this earth...
Susan
weezy

climber
Feb 18, 2014 - 02:07am PT
looks like a fun route :)
enjoimx

Trad climber
SLO
Feb 18, 2014 - 02:12am PT
This is amazing!! Thank you for reporting Rolo! Soo sick

Edit: so THIS is what they mean by "The New Alpinism" !!!
Jaysen

Trad climber
NY
Feb 18, 2014 - 02:22am PT
seriously....
Fletcher

Gym climber
A very quiet place
Feb 18, 2014 - 02:28am PT
Holy shite on multiple levels! Hats off to those gents! Needs to scrape my jaw off the ground.

Eric
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