Anthamatten and Berthod in Patagonia sweepstake
In February 2007 Cyrille Berthod and Simon Anthamatten travelled to Patagonia for their first time ever and climbed 8 major peaks in the Fitz Roy massif - De LâS, Saint Exupery, St.Raphael, Poincenot, Fitz Roy, Mermoz, Guillaumet and Cerro Torre.
Cyrille Berthod and Simon Anthamatten won't be forgetting February 2007 in a hurry: the two young climbers headed to Patagonia for their first time ever and returned to Switzerland with a mouth-watering array of 8 major peaks in the Fitz Roy massif - De L’S, Saint Exupery, St.Raphael, Poincenot, Fitz Roy, Mermoz, Guillaumet and Cerro Torre via the Compressor Route.
The two 23 year olds climbed fast and light, at times regardless of the weather, at times with Simon's brother Samuel and Ivan Tresch, and always with boundless enthusiasm. Here goes...
First Time in Patagonia by Simon Anthamatten
"Cyrille Berthod and I just finished our Mountain Guide Education last year. A little bit tired of going from course to course we decided this season to travel together to Patagonia. We were all set for sitting the bad weather out in the bars in El Chalten, playing cards in the tent and just waiting for the good weather and for less wind.
But from the plane down to El Calafate we saw these amazing, sharp granite towers to clock in to the perfect blue sky of Patagonia. Where was the bad weather everyone promised to us? 36 hours after arriving in Argentina we were standing on Fitzroy!
We came to Patagonia without any specific ambitions, our idea was just to have a good time away from home and, if possible, to climb some mountains. We said to each other that we just wanted to try the easier routes so as to have better chances of reaching a summit.
One week after arriving we tried the Casarotto Pillar together with our Swiss friend Ivan Tresch, but 5 pitches from the summit the storm arrived. We were too motivated and too stupid and ignored the lenticular clouds on the sky... And we paid for our 40 hour trip in bad weather: the ropes where destroyed, we left a lot of camalots, carabiners, rocks, pins.. and our tent was destroyed.
After our first serious Patagonian weather lesson we decided to show much more respect to the weather, and in the next 40 days we managed to climb the rest of the summits of the Fitzroy-Chain:
- Aguja de la S over the easy North-Ridge 4+,
- Saint-Exupery over Super Track 5.11,
- San Rafael over Corallo 5.12 A0
- Poincenot over Wiliams 5+
- Fitzroy over the Franco-Argentino 5.11
- Mermoz over Red Pillar 5.12
- Guillaumet over the Normal Route 4+
After six weeks trying to climb these mountains we began to get tired and burn out after all these ascents. With only 3 days left before we had to travel back to Switzerland we went up to the Cerro Torre -Valley for one last time to get our stuff down. While we were packing up our Basecamp in Niponino the sky started clearing up and we suddenly had to follow our own rule we had discovered in Patagonia: day or night doesn’t exist in Patagonia, there is only bad or good weather and in case there is good weather you have to go for it, no matter what time it is and where you are!
11 hours later we where standing on top of Cerro Torre, Cyrille, my brother Samuel and I. We rappeled through the storm, carried everything to Chalten and then had a big Asado with our Friends. That was the perfect end to a perfect trip. Patagonia – You love it, or you hate it!"
Simon Anthamatten, Zermatt