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Josh Wharton on the ridgeline-summit of Aguja Desmochada, Patagonia
Photo by Kauffman & Wharton
Neil Kauffman on the summit of Aguja Desmochada, Patagonia
Photo by Kauffman & Wharton

Coda, new route on Aguja Desmochada, Patagonia

15.02.2011 by Planetmountain

On 9-10 February 2011 Neil Kauffman and Josh Wharton established Coda (V 5.11+ AO) on Aguja Desmochada, Fitz Roy massif, Patagonia.

Yet another new route in Patagonia for American alpinist Neil Kauffman. After carrying out the first ascent of Re Puesto! on Cerro Pollone East at the start of January together with Jim Toman, Kauffman teamed up with Josh Wharton to forge a new line on Aguja Desmochada.

The duo spent the night at the Nipo Nino base camp and then started up Alexander Huber and Stefan Siegrist's Golden Eagle (V 5.11 A1, 800m 2006) at 7:30am. Strong winds forced them onto the South Face, where they opted to enter unchartered territory and climbed seven new pitches before traversing back left and finishing via the upper ridge and Golden Eagle to the summit.

While the route involved 5.11+ climbing with two points of A0, it was the descent in high winds down the other side of the mountain which proved most taxing. Writing on his blog, Kauffman described the ordeal as follows: "Wind gusts were lifting us upwards on the rappels; we had to stack the ropes in the backpacks or they would immediately disappear totally out of control. The face we headed down was absolute shit rock, giant detached flakes threatened to destroy our ropes and us, and we had no idea just how big it was. The idea of re-leading any of this terrain to retrieve a stuck rope was horrifying. Our mental state was fried and patience was ultimately tested. Miraculously we made it to the gully system with only one stuck rope behind a monster flake; Josh mystery-jugged while I tried not to think about what it could be stuck on."

After a 3 hour break waiting for dawn, Kauffman and Wharton - who broke his back and right arm while reequipping a route in Rifle in mid 2010 - continued down and reached base 31 hours after departure.

Aguja Desmochada had been first ascended by Americans Jim Bridwell, Greg Dunmire and Jay Smith in 1988 (El Cóndor, 550m 6b+ A2) and the new route, Coda, is named in honour of Jonathan Copp and Micah Dash, the two Colorado based alpinists who died on Mt. Edgar in China's Gongga Shan massif along with Wade Johnson in May 2009.

Coda (Copp-Dash Memorial)
Aguja Desmochada, Fitz Roy Massif, Patagoina
V 5.11+ AO
Neil Kauffman and Josh Wharton February 9-10, 2011

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