Sean Villanueva completes astounding solo of Fitz Roy Traverse in Patagonia
Belgian climber Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll has made a solo ascent of the Fitz Roy Traverse in Patagonia. This is one of the most important climbs ever carried out in Patagonia.
Belgium’s Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll has made a ground-breaking solo ascent of the coveted Fitz Roy Traverse, climbing the iconic skyline above El Chalten in Patagonia on his own. The striking line was famously first completed by Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold from 12 - 16 February 2014, an ascent which netted them the Piolet d’Or, and provides over 5 km of ridge line with circa 4000 meters of vertical gain.
Although precise details are currently scant, according to preliminary information received from local climber Horacio Gratton, it appears that Villanueva climbed the peaks in reverse order compared to the Americans; Aguja de l’S, Aguja Saint-Exúpery, Aguja Rafael Juárez, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Kakito, Cerro Fitz Roy, Val de Bois, Aguja Mermoz, Aguja Guillaumet.
While the 40-year-old jokingly described his undertaking to planetmountain.com as "a nice trek in the park!", Patagonia expert Colin Haley put the achievement into proper context: "There is no doubt that this is the most impressive solo ascent ever done in Patagonia, and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t simply the most impressive ascent ever done in Patagonia in general."
Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll’s climbing pedigree is second-to-none having cut his teeth for the last 20 years, often together with fellow Belgian Nicolas Favresse, on many technical big wall climbs from Baffin Island all the way to China.
Patagonia though has long been his second home and after making a rare repeat of Riders on the Storm in the Torres del Paine massif in 2006 and completing the first free ascent of the South African route on Central Tower in 2009, he made an inspirational ascent of the East Face of Fitz Roy with Favresse in 2011. In 2013 he clocked up first free ascents on Cerro Catedral and Cerro Cota 2000 before establishing a new route on the West Face of Fitz Roy with Stephane Hanssens, while earlier that trip the duo became the first Belgians to summit Cerro Torre. In 2017 Villanueva was part of the team that completed the first free ascent of El Regalo de Mwono on the Central Tower of Paine, while last season he teamed up with Favresse to establish El Flechazo on Cerro Standhardt. In many respects, the recent Fitz Roy traverse solo is the culmination of all his efforts.
Precise details about the ascent will follow in due course.
Link: FB Sean Villanueva, Petzl, SCARPA