The German professional alpinist Michael Wohlleben traveled together with Walter Hungerbühler for about a month to the paradise of every alpinist: Patagonia, Argentina. In a two-part report, Michi tells of his encounter with kiffenden alpinists, fat beats in the wall, long tours and well-deserved rest days. The first part of the report can be found here: Part 1 of the experience report
An experience report by Michi Wohlleben - part 2
After sleeping in for six days and bouldering, a weather window slowly opened. We decided on the "Supercanaletta" on the Fitz Roy. I was fascinated by this colossus. We assessed the conditions in the rock too badly to be able to realistically try a more difficult route. Again out of laziness to carry our camping equipment to the camp at the entrance, we decided to start from Piedra del Freile and thus accept about five more hours of access
Music and cigarette smoke in the wall
Against 1.30 clock we headed for Fitz. No 10 minutes after we roped on the glacier, he opened his mouth and wanted to swallow me! After 5 hours we stood at the bivouac place under the Canaletta. There we saw numerous headlamps at the end of the couloir, about 1000m above us. Later it turned out that four rope teams started against 1 clock at the entrance. Luckily, we were able to catch up with them after only three hours and also passed well in the pitches around the "Bloque Empotrato". They took it a bit more leisurely - the combination of cigarette smoke and the crowd reminded me more of a club than a great route on Fitz Roy. They had not only marijuana, but also a beatbox!
At Wält and I everything went smoothly. We took turns in blocks, each one always carrying 100-200 meters at a time. The terrain was not particularly difficult. Dean Potter called the upper part of the "Super" times as a row of boulders. Which he is right: It is always quite flat and then comes a difficult passage from 5 to 30 meters. The upper passages were covered with a lot of "rime", which did not make the pathfinding easy, because you could not see where the cracks were. Of course, climbing made it a bit spicier on top of that. After all, we had beatbox sound from below on the last 8 pitches. The last pitch on the ridge, instead of a 20m IV +, was a vertical "rime" wall.
Abseiling on hooks, individual clamping wedges and block slings
Against 17.30 clock we reached the summit and considered for a long time where we should abseil. "Franco-Argentina" with less stone and ice, but snow-covered stands? Colin Haley once said that mountaineering in Patagonia is a "master class in rappeling". There is almost no summit with easy descents, let alone with many drilled stands. One finds oneself on a summit and has to rappel the whole distance, which one climbed, on impact hooks, block loops, individual Klemmkeilen or Abalakovs. Due to the jagged terrain, the risk of Seilverhängern is quite large.
The route turned into a shower
After Wält's request, if I could lead the descent, I found myself in this mode for six hours - four of them at night - abseiling about 45 times, always searching and hoping to reach the next stand. This time it worked better than the Aguja de la S. Fortunately, we did not have a single cable link and sacrificed only two slips, two band loops and two carabiners. A good balance. When we finally reached the ice couloir, we discovered that the high temperatures had turned the whole route into a single shower. Every step in the snow was a step in an 60 - 70 ° steep swamp of mud and water. Wet as raccoons we were! Against 1.30 clock we reached our sticks and the gas cooker. After a meal we continued to Piedra del Freile.
Beer and pizza for breakfast
On the way back, we were met by two headlamp lights. A voice with American slang shouted, "Walter, Michi?" Colin and Austin were on their way to Affanasiev. Believing that we were the other way around, Colin tried to comfort us until he realized that we were still on the move! Who is jumping over the glacier in the morning at 4 or 5? Usually only climbers who turn around. Or those who are too lazy to carry the camping equipment through the area for five hours.
What about 9 clock for breakfast? Beer and pizza! A treat!
FIRST PART: In the middle of the week we published the first part of the report by Michi Wohlleben about his experiences in Patagonia. Here you go to first part of the report.
Credits: picture and text Michi Wohlleben