Friday, March 2, 2018

UK First Ascents in Chilean Patagonia + Jounet Ski's Norway's Trollwegen + Cerro Pajarito (Colombia)

British and Irish first ascents in Chilean Patagonia by
Kilian Journet is the first person to ski the steep Trollwegen in Norway - English translation given
Sally Morley and Ellen Colman in Palm Canyon (Indian Canyons) Palm Springs below in Facebook
A sweltering runout adventure on Colombia's Cerro Pajarito - by -- British and Irish First Ascents in Chilean Patagonia -- Kilian Journet - The first person to ski the Trollwegen in Norway - English translation available

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, mountain, ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water   -- A sweltering runout adventure on Colombia's Cerro Pajarito

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On Tuesday I had the last adventure of my Patagonia season. I left Piedra Negra at 11pm (actually Monday), crossed through Paso del Cuadrado, and made my way up the Glaciar Fitz Roy Norte. I knew that the weather window was quite tight for the Afanassieff route on the west face of Chaltén, but it’s a route I’d been pondering to try solo for years, and I decided I’d feel most satisfied departing Patagonia if I had tried, even if it didn’t work out. I started climbing by headlamp around 2:30am, and was quickly dismayed by the quantity of snow and verglas on the rock - The crux sections of the route face south, and now at the end of February they receive very little solar radiation between storms. I hoped that the slabs higher up would be cleaner, but alas they had quite a bit of verglas as well. I was mostly free-soloing, but the poor conditions persuaded me to use the rope more than I would have otherwise, and my pace suffered. I reached the ridge at the top of the slabs at noon, and among some strengthening wind gusts considered my options... I estimated that I was on track to reach the summit around 5pm (plenty early in terms of daylight), but the weather was forecast to significantly deteriorate around 6pm. I decided it was too close, and began a long descent. During the rappels and while hiking out I was constantly evaluating the wind and second-guessing my decision. I think that if I had continued there is a high chance I would’ve succeeded and descended the Franco route without incident... but that is also the sort of low-margin gamble that if repeated for years would probably eventually land me in big trouble. So, I think my decision midday Tuesday was the “wrong” one at that moment, but the “right” one overall. It’s all a balance... Now I’m tired and in the midst of way too much travel, but very eager to start my ski season! Someone better tell the folks at Hibou to stock up on ingredients! @patagonia_climb @petzl_official @lasportivana @trailbutter

The original plan: Wednesday AM EllenMarilyn, and I arrange a car stagger by leaving a car at Palm Canyon trailhead on Hwy 74, and drive down to Palm Springs where someone (?) would take us to the Indian Canyons trailhead and let us leave our car somewhere nearby. Then, hike from Indian Canyons to Hwy 74 in 2days making camp somewhere in between.

Well, possibility of inaccessibility to Hwy 74 trailhead to leave a car due to snow screwed that up. Plan “B”: get someone to drop us off at Indian Canyons, hike to a nice campsite, and hike back out the way we came. Well, that someone turned out to be St. Florian, and he not only graciously dropped us off but accompanied us through the first leg of the trek.

After parting ways with Florian, who should catch up to us but Cameron! He accompanied us to Agua Bonita Spring and we had lunch there. Cameron pointed out that this would be a great place to pitch our tents. After lunching there, Cameron headed back home and we continued up trail for about 2 1/2 miles and went looking for Hidden Falls. We did some serious rock scrambling and bush-whacking and ascertained that “Hidden Falls” was truly hidden. Defeated, we retraced our tracks back to Agua Bonita Springs.
What a beautiful place to camp. There were places in the big rocks where Indians had ground their food overlooking the spring. We had dinner and partied a bit before snuggling into our sleeping bags under a full moon.
It was nippy the next morning as we had breakfast and packed up to head back down the trail to the Indian Trading Post. Florian came and gave us a ride back to our car.
Thank you, Florian, for the hitch, and thank you Cameron for showing us the best place to camp!
Thank you, ladies for a great adventure!

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