Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll announces an almost unimaginable ascent: the Belgian single-handedly succeeds in crossing the Fitz Roy Traverse in Patagonia. He crossed the numerous peaks between February 5 and 10, 2021 and calls the crossing The Moon Walk Traverse.

Today's professional alpinists and climbers report to their followers - what feels like - every hour about their adventures. Once the ascent is successful, the surprise is no longer that great. Belgians think differently Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll. Since the outbreak of the corona crisis, he's more or less in Patagonia firmly.

The good man had every reason to stay in southern Argentina. He had big plans - but kept the secret to himself and just wrote the following message on his Facebook wall on his birthday:

Thank you very much for all your birthday wishes. I am the happiest person on earth, have met so many brilliant people. For my birthday I treated myself to seven cakes, some with icing, some with special side dishes.

Sean Villanueva

His message is an allusion to the historically significant ascent he succeeded.

Fitz Roy Traverse single-handedly in reverse order

Sean has not yet announced his inspection himself on his social media channels. First, the clothing company Patagonia, sponsor of Sean, released the 40-year-old's incredible achievement.

In order to classify the achievement Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll has achieved, we have to go back a little. Patagonia is known for its harsh climatic conditions. Alpinists often wait for weeks to catch a suitable weather window and climb one of the famous granite peaks in southern Argentina. The individual peaks are challenging goals in themselves. The ultimate in Patagonia, however, is this Fitz Roy Traverse.

Mother of all trusses - Fitz Roy Traverse

The Fitz Roy Traverse is often referred to as the "mother of all trusses". The total crossing extends over nine peaks, has an altitude difference of 4 meters and climbing difficulties of up to 000a. This alpine extremely challenging traverse has only been climbed once - by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Even then, a murmur went through the climbing scene, whether the strong performance of the two.

But now, now Sean Villanueva goes one better and commits the complete transgression on his own. In contrast to Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell Sean climbed the traverse in reverse order and gave the crossing its name The Moonwalk Traverse. As a rating, he gives 6c, 50˚.

There is absolutely no doubt that this is the most impressive solo ascent of Patagonia of all time. And I wonder if it is generally the most impressive ascent of Patagonia. As someone who has climbed all of these peaks solo (separately) and as someone who knows this terrain very well, it is hard to imagine going it alone. As someone who has made many proud ascents in Patagonia, I run the risk of being jealous. But I'm just overjoyed for Sean. Congratulations Sean for this incredible achievement. I'm still trying to understand what you just did.

Colin Haley, professional mountaineer and Patagonia expert
Topo of the overall crossing, which Sean Villanueva completed single-handedly, called The Moonwalk Traverse. (Image Patagonia Vertical)
Topo of the overall crossing, which Sean Villanueva completed single-handedly, called The Moonwalk Traverse. (Image Patagonia Vertical)

Bad start

Sean began the ascent on February 5, 2021 from the southwest. At the edge of the glacier he slept in a cave. His gear consisted of a small haulbag, a backpack, food for 10 days, a small tent, a light sleeping bag, and the flute Sean Villanueva is known for.

For the climb, Sean used a 60 meter rope and a thin haul line. Already on the Aguja de l'S, his rope was badly damaged by falling rocks. Sean patched up the three notches on the rope with tape. On the second day, during the traverse to Aguja Rafael Juárez, the rope ring of his harness broke and he lost some Camalots. But Sean was not deterred by that either and moved on.


Sean Villanueva not only mends climbing ropes, but also flip flops


According to Rolando Garibotti, the most uncomfortable moment for him was (Patagonia Vertical) the summit ice rink that Sean made in his approach shoes and aluminum crampons. On the way down to Piedra Del Fraile, Sean decided to stop at Piedra Blanca to process what he has just experienced and achieved before returning to civilization. Sean completed the overall exceedance on February 10, 2021.

Sean Villanueva shortly before arriving in El Chalten

Mental strength as a key factor

For the successful ascent of the Fitz Roy Traverse, in addition to a solid climbing experience, a good dose of serenity and mental strength is certainly required. Belgian Sean Villanueva adds an extra dose of humor to these elements. Based on training videos from Alexander Megos. and Adam Ondra, he recently posted a video showing him training in Patagonia.

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Credits: Pictures Sean Villanueva