Fitz Roy non stop: Simon Gietl and Gerhard Fiegl in Patagonia
The report by Simon Gietl about his fast ascent of Fitz Roy in Patagonia via the Supercanaleta route together with Gerhard Fiegl.
As usual the weather is Patagonian but the forecast promises a small weather window. Little more than half a day with no wind, rain or snow. Our chances are slim, but Gerry Fiegl and I work on the the right tactics to climb Fitz Roy. Our plan is simple: be in the right place at the right time, i.e. approach Supercanaleta in bad weather, climb the first 1000m and then be poised to tackle the technically difficult upper section and exposed summit ridge in better weather. After having decided on this non-stop tactic, without gear stash and beaten trail, all we need is to seize the right moment. And our minds and bodies have to be in on the game.
We set off at 18:00 Uhr from Ponte Rio Electrico, in the last light of day we cross Passo Quadrado and reach the base of Supercanaleta in the dark and in driving snow. The lower, supposedly easier section is climbed at night and we reach the technical section too early, at 4:00am. It continues to snow, the wind picks up and it's still dark, so we mak an emergency bivy while waiting for the light of day and the weather to improve.
Dawn breaks, the weather remains poor, our feet get colder and colder and the decision isn't easy. Retreat is on the agenda but we follow the motto "let's just climb 2 or 3 pitches and then see..." Climbing is warmer than abseiling. It continues to snow all morning, we climb with ice axe and crampons and only on the summit crest do the yearned for blue skies and first rays of sun greet us.
21 hours and 30 minutes after setting off we're finally rewarded for our efforts. At 15:30 we stand alone and overjoyed on the summit of Fitz Roy. What lies ahead is a long abseil descent and long return to our starting point which we reach, exhausted, 31 hours and 30 minutes after setting off.
by Simon Gietl
Other routes climbed this season by Simon Gietl and Gerry Fiegl
Exocet route, Cerro Standhardt
Amy - Vidailhet, Aiguille Guillaumet