Golden Eagle, first free ascent in Patagonia
Raoul Martinez, Sean Villanueva, Cintia Percivati and have carried out the first free ascent of Golden Eagle (7a/7a+, 700m), established by Alexander Huber and Stephan Siegrist in 2006 on Aguja Desmochada, Patagonia.
In mid February Belgian climber Sean Villanueva teamed up with Cintia Percivati from Argentina and Raoul Martinez from Spain to carry out the first free ascent of Golden Eagle on the SW Face of Aguja Desmochada in the Fitz Roy Massif in Patagonia.
The route had been first ascended by none other than Alexander Huber and Stephan Siegrist in 2006 and the two alpinists had been forced to resort to aid on two sections of one pitch due to ice. The free version settles in at a moderate 7a/7a+ and Huber told us "I'm really happy that the route has now been freed. With its continuous line of cracks it is certainly the free climb up a brutally steep face. The fact that it has now gone free is fantastic, congratulations!"
Villanueva is best known for his globe-trotting climbs from Patagonia to Greenland along with Nico Favresse and the 30-year-old has sent us the report published below. For the record, after Golden Eagle the Belgian teamed up with Favresse to carry out an on-sight ascent of the East Face of Fitz Roy by enchaining the East Pillar with El Corazon, hailed by insiders as one of the most impressive ascents this season. A full report about this will follow shortly, too.
GOLDEN EAGLE FREE
by Sean Villanueva
We climbed Golden Eagle in a team of three: Cintia Percivati (Hormiga) (Argentina), Raoul Martinez (No pastanaga) (Catalunya) and myself. We left base camp at 4 a.m and started scrambling up the 1000m to the base of Desmochada. The climbing in Golden Eagle was amazing with perfect hand cracks in golden granite. The conditions however were very difficult, as we were getting hammered by the wind.
When Alexander Huber and Stefan Siegrist did the first ascent they encountered ice which inhibited them of free climbing one of the pitches. We however were very lucky and found the route very clean and in very good condition. Raoul freed the A1 pitch with a proud effort. The difficulty is not harder than the other pitches which is about 7a or 7a+. We reached the summit around 9 pm and spent all night rappelling in a gale-force wind which was a nightmare, together with Nico Favresse and Daniel Jung who tried El Condor but ran out of daylight after joining into Golden Eagle and decided to join us on the way down. The gusts of wind were strong enough to lift us up, and it was impossible to let out any bit of rope without it flying upward and getting stuck. We reached the ground at about 10 a.m after a 30 hour effort.