#6 out of 7 and only one more left on my goal of climbing new routes on all of the major summits of the Fitzroy skyline!
After an amazing streak of good weather things returned to a slightly more regular (not that there is regular pattern) for the later part of January and into early February. As mine and Kate’s trip was nearing its end I had all but given up on getting another route done this season. Thankfully just a few days before our planned departure another good little weather window appeared. After nearly 3 straight weeks of bad weathered I figured the mountains were going to be pretty plastered with new snow but for some reason they turned out to be fairly free of snow and ice.
When up on the South Face of Poincenot in early December I had plenty of time to look directly south on the north face of Innominata (also know as Aguja Rafael Juarez). Before our ascent there were only two routes (and a short variation) up the north face proper. The face is quite narrow but it appeared there would be room for another route shooting straight up the middle, well thats at least what I hoped.
We left Niponino camp sometime just before dawn (i’m sure it wasn’t to early because getting up isn’t something we are good at). The approach took a casual 3.5hrs to base, with a little bit of cramponning and post-holing required, but nothing to unpleasant. I’ve gave Kate the fist block knowing that it would keep her a bit warmer, and well, I of course ended up getting pretty cold. Our first few pitches followed Jon Walsh’s variation to Artebelleza, called Como No! The climbing was quite enjoyable and fairly straightforward. And YES, the rock was actually really good. After dealing with some shitty rock on my last two routes I wasn’t in the mood to climb any more choss.
Kate made quick work of the Como No pitches and took us to a nice ledge underneath the splitter crack the went up the steep headwall. I wish I could say I then started to dispatch of the headwall cracks with speed and grace, but no, that is not the case. I was feeling a lot less than great. Maybe it was the lack of any actual crack climbing in the last few months, or maybe it was just me being lame. Anyhow I still managed to keep the rope moving upwards though it was with a fair bit of hanging on gear.