Fitz Roy Massif Enchainment
February, two NOLS instructors, Dave Anderson
and Andrew Chapman, will embark on a climbing
expedition to the Fitz Roy region of Patagonia.
Their objective is to successively climb
the major peaks of the Fitz Roy Massif in
a single alpine push, enchaining the peaks
of Mermoz, Poincenot, and Guillaumet without
Their route demands a high level of proficiency
as they will attempt to cover fifth class
rock climbing and alpine ice. They will go
fast and light, carrying only essentials
such as warm clothes, food, and minimal climbing
gear. Anderson and Chapman estimate a reasonable
timetable of 48 hours to complete their goal.
Of course, that's assuming that the weather
will hold long enough for them to make an
attempt in the first place.
What sets Patagonia apart from many other
climbing locales is the weather. This region
is notorious its incessant winds and precipitation.
Storms constantly blast the Fitz Roy range
and it is no exaggeration to say that several
expeditions have been denied the opportunity
to even leave basecamp. Therefore, Andrew
and Dave will wait for the appropriate weather
window and then push all at once, drawing
on a well of considerable resolve and skill.
These climbers prefer fast alpine climbing
not only because it makes sense in the face
of changeable weather, but because it appeals
to their senses of purity and aesthetics
as well. Light climbing relies heavily on
proficiency with systems, climbing ability,
and judgment. It also involves a deep commitment
to teamwork and trust. Anderson and Chapman
will have to incorporate all of the tools
at their disposal: their knowledge of the
route, their knowledge of climbing, and their
knowledge of each other. Hopefully, this
balancing act will lead to a successful climb.
Regardless, these two will doubtlessly grow
as climbers and individuals.
Andrew Chapman is a mountaineering, rock
climbing, and backcountry ski instructor
for NOLS. He has climbed long alpine routes
including on sight solos of the Grand Teton
(direct North face IV 5.8 and the Enclosure
Ice Couloir IV 5.8), a 15-hour ascent of
Moonlight Buttress V A2 5.10, and Rainbow
Dave Anderson has been working as a mountaineering
instructor for NOLS for five years. Climbing
expeditions have taken him to Pakistan,
Newfoundland, Alaska, and Patagonia where
he has established many new routes. Climbs
include first ascents of All Quiet on the
Eastern Front VI A3 5.11, Pakistan, and Gargoyle
Buttress IV 5.10, Alaska.
Follow the progress of this climb on mountainzone.com.
Dave and Andrew will be providing updates
over the internet as their climb unfolds.