After a few weeks of poor weather and lots of waiting a decent weather forecast appeared on the charts. Kate showed up in early January and hadn’t yet climbed anything, so needless to say her motivation was high. Though the forecast was for cold weather we still had hoped to go do some rock climbing as opposed to a more icy/mixed objective
I’ve got a long term goal of climbing all the major summits in the Fitzroy massif. After 5 seasons here I still had 4 of the 9 to go. (I’m not doing to well…) Given the short bit of predicted good weather the Chairo di Luna route on St. Exupery seamed like a fine choice. The route starts very close to the bottom of the West Ridge and climbs over 700m of near perfect alpine granite.
The first few pitches were very icy and cold which slowed us down a considerable amount. It also made us question our decision to go for such a long and sustained route. We were forced to make a few moves and then hang on a piece and warm our frozen fingers and hands. Good times!
Thankfully everything was so splitter that we were able to climb the first half of the route in our gloves and approach shoes. At about half way we finally hit the sun and I turned over the lead to Kate for awhile.
Our fun in the sun didn’t last long. The sky became darker and the sun faded behind dull gray clouds. It was getting late and we still had a ways to go. I took the lead back over at the base of the final 125meters of chimney climbing that lead to the final ridge. I expected the worst of the chimney but was pleasantly surprised by the fun nature of the climbing.
After 14 hours of climbing we reached the summit at 9:45. Of course it was good that we made it to the top before it got dark but what it really meant is we now had 2,000ft of rappelling to do by headlamp in deteriorating weather. After many manky anchors, stuck ropes, and 10 hours of rappelling we reached our packs completely exhausted, again thankful to have safely completed another Patagonia route. And to make the rappelling even more special at 12 midnight on the 26th we started to celebrate Kate’s 30th birthday!!!!!