Monday, March 23, 2015


I haven't had a lot to post about recently as I've been doing a lot things that I have already covered or that aren't yet ready to hatch.

But, last week, I went to Northern Patagonia to rock climb around Refugio Frey which is near Bariloche.  If you like traditional granite climbing in a magnificent setting, this place is for you.

Here we get our first view of the towers after about two hours of walking:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cara Sur de Pico Italia o Pico Triangular

A week after we made the new route on the south face of Pico Milluni, we made another new route on Pico Italia or Pico Triangular or Pico Integral (18,550').  It's Bolivia so naturally we don't know what to call this lovely face.

It was a little higher, a little longer, a little harder to descend and, overall, a lot more difficult  even though the Pico Milluni route had a technically harder crux.  We called it the Wormhole (M4, WI4, 5.6, 500m plus a long ridge descent on good but loose rock) for reasons that should be obvious after seeing the following photos.

Roberto about to enter the lair of the worm:

Thin ice and not the best granite but totally awesome for people who suffer from the alpine sickness:

Gregg at the end of the initial difficulties:

A beautiful thin strip of hard snow and ice led upward:

Notice the gap in the rock above Roberto:

Some times you just have to let your tools dangle and grab the rock:

Roberto encounters the Wormhole:

And has to remove his pack:

Gregg also has to remove his pack:

Notice that I have cleverly taken the smallest pack and can worm my way through:


Getting to some fun ice:

Roberto and the lake below that would work pretty well for ice skating:

Gregg handles some steep ice:

An endangered elephant serac:

Mmmmm, 40 meters of steep ice guard the top:

Like a dream come true:

The uber-classic south ridge of Huayna Potosi:

Illimani and Mururata:

At last, the summit:

The west face of Huayna Potosi showing its true angle:

We descended a bit and then made a rappel:

I was initially freaked out by the loose rock and the exposure but the fine late afternoon light and generally mellow nature of the climbing was relaxing:

I think this was the place where I saw the col we were trying to reach and felt some great relief:

Then I pulled a rock off which was roughly the size of a desk.  Maybe not a CEO size desk but still.  Here's where I came to rest:

And then it got dark:

Cara Sur de Pico Milluni

Gregg Beisly, Roberto Rauch and I made what we believe is a new route on the south face of Pico Milluni:

We called it Ya Pues (M5, WI4, 18,000', 500m of face followed by 500m of ridge climbing).  We were able t climb the initial 300m without ropes but falling would have been bad:

Getting to the first belay:

Nice hard snow, ice and easy mixed climbing:

Gregg on the crux:

Some patches of deep soft snow kept it real:

The middle portion of the route had a series of classic narrow mixed gullies:

Still a lot of face above:

A couple of enjoyable mixed moves on this pitch:


Better cold hands than rockfall:

Exiting the gullies onto the steep upper face:

Smiles all around for this excellent route:

Still aways to go:

Finally, the ridge:

And the prospect of some sunlight:

Looking 500m down the route:

At last into the sun:

The next few hundred meters were similar to the Upper Exum on the Grand Teton but 4,000' higher and maybe climbed one or two times in this direction.

The summit complete with cairn:

Nice late afternoon light:

Roberto waiting his turn to rappel:

We made three rappels and followed a series of ledges to loose scree and talus.  Gregg knew the descent so it went very smoothly.  I imagine it might be hard to figure out if you didn't know where you were going.

Another few miles of hiking in the dark brought us to Casa Blanca where Robert and I had soup while Gregg ran the 10k or so to retrieve the car from the other side of the mountain.