Markus Pucher on Aguja Guillaumet in Patagonia: I gave it everything
Austrian alpinist Markus Pucher talks about the first winter solo ascent of Aguja Guillaumet (2579 m), carried out in Patagonia on 8 September 2017.
We reported about his ascent two days ago, now Austria’s Markus Pucher has posted details about his solo winter ascent of Aguja Guillaumet in Patagonia on Facebook.
Just a brief instant! by Markus Pucher
Just before four o'clock in the afternoon on the 8th of September I stood on the top of Guillaumet. At the start of the day I’d never have thought that later on I’d be standing on a summit. On this wintery Patagonian day I walked up to Paso Guillaumet with Hans and Juan, they accompanied me to film my ascent, at least up to the col.
We left the Fraile camp down in the valley at 4 am and a short while later it began to snow. At first it wasn’t too bad, but then the snowfall intensified and we soon found ourselves in a real snow storm - I thought about turning back, but then I said to myself: "Ok, let's just go up to Passo Guillaumet and then descend." During the ascent we bumped into Ines and Paolo (Ines Papert and Paolo Marazzi, Editor’s note), who weren’t particularly enthusiastic about all that snow either.
It took us more than 5 hours to reach the pass, which we almost failed to locate because visibility was so low. Then we stood there on the pass, hands in our pockets, in the truest sense of the word. After a few minutes we were almost frozen, the wind howled across the saddle and we scrambled for shelter behind some stones.
It was still snowing and I was already mentally ready to descend. But my inner feeling told me to wait a little longer, I don’t know exactly why. The weather report, i.e. Rolo (Rolando Garibotti, Editor’s note) had reckoned it would stop snowing during the day and that the weather would improve.So we waited. After an hour we noticed that it had got a little brighter and it started to snow less.
Without thinking twice I pulled on my harness, drank a sip of my now ice-cold water, munched a power bar and set off. I don’t really know why I set off, but my inner feeling told me things were OK. Hans filmed me as I disappeared into the fog. I said to him, "I’ll go an see what it’s like! If it's not OK I'll come back, and if it is OK, I’ll come back, just a little bit later!" And then I was alone.
The snow was really deep, I fought myself meter by meter up the mountain, yes it really was a battle against the snow, and had little to do with actual climbing. The route, which is normally rated grade V, was really hard, if not to say superhard! But perhaps I just climbed stupidly. I self-belayed in a few places, because I honestly shat in my pants. The cracks and corners were anything but easy, and I really had to give it everything I had to get up there.
After over 5 hours I traversed across the summit flank, partially up to my belly in deep snow, and finally reached the summit of Guillaumet. If I think about that moment now, I could shout again with joy. The weather really was great, and as I stood up there the clouds ripped open and the sun smiled at me. I stood on the highest point of the summit, smiled back at the sun and felt like a winner! Like a winner against the snowstorm, like a winner against myself. I didn’t want to descend, but I had to… my two friends were waiting for me down below and I wanted to tell them how nice it was up there. After a few steps in the deep snow I turned around, said goodbye to the summit and thanked it for having allowed me to stand on its highest point. I felt like a winner, but I knew… compared to the mountain, I am just a brief instant!
Info: www.markuspucher.at, FB Markus Pucher, Grivel, Ferrino, SCARPA