Colin Haley climbs Goretta pillars on Fitz Roy solo alpine style

In January 1979, the Italian Renato Casarotto opened one of the most difficult alpine routes in Patagonia at the time: the Goretta Pillar on Fitz Roy. Last week, alpinist Colin Haley, known for his daring solo ascents, repeated the 1200-meter route single-handedly. In contrast to the first ascent, he completely dispensed with permanently installed ropes for his rope solo.

From January 17th to 19th, 2023 Colin Haley in Patagonia a solo ascent of the Fitz Roy using the Goretta Pillar. The American top alpinist is probably the first to use the Renato Casarotto was able to repeat the first climbed 1200-meter pillar solo and in alpine style.

“This inspection was an intense experience and a great challenge for me. An inspection that I am very proud of."

Colin Haley
Alpine style: Colin Haley did without fixed ropes on his solo ascent. Image: Colin Haley
Alpine style: Colin Haley did without fixed ropes on his solo ascent. Picture: Colin Haley

Goretta Pillar: A long-awaited dream

Colin Haley said he had dreamed of soloing Cerro Chaltén aka Fitz Roy via the Goretta Pillar for over a decade. Last summer, the alpinist refined his rope solo techniques in Chamonix. "When I arrived at El Chaltén this season, it was time for the Goretta pillar."

Since global warming is also leaving its mark in Patagonia and has made the approach to the original Casarotto route difficult and dangerous, Colin Haley opted for the Mate, Porro, y Todo lo Demás route. "It is a bit more difficult and longer, but with an easier and safer approach."

Colin Haley during his solo ascent of the Goretta Pillar on Fitz Roy. Image: Colin Haley
Colin Haley during his solo ascent of the Goretta Pillar on Fitz Roy. Picture: Colin Haley

Colin Haley embarked on the route on the morning of January 17 and reached the summit of Fitz Roy just after midnight on January 19. Apart from the last 200 meters in easier terrain, he secured 97 percent of the 1200-meter route himself.

A gigantic effort: «While I avoided the psychological intensity of free-soloing, the physical toll of belaying was enormous and was compounded by the heavy weight of the gear I was carrying up the mountain alone .»

Colin Haley: "I've done a lot of solo trips in the past, but almost always without a bivouac, so this tour was a different style than I was used to." Image: Colin Haley
Colin Haley: "I've done a lot of solo trips in the past, but almost always without a bivouac, so this tour was a different style than I was used to." Picture: Colin Haley

Most difficult ascents

Colin Haley is a seasoned alpinist with an impressive list of daring ascents. It was only in September of last year that he managed the first solo winter ascent of the Supercanaleta – also on the Fitz Roy.

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Credits: Cover Photo Colin Haley

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