Friday, February 21, 2014

Patagonia - Mojon Rojo and Aguja de l'S

With a prediction of a small good weather spell before I had to fly home, Blake Herrington, Scott Bennett and I teamed up to do a couple of small peaks on the Fitzroy massif above Laguna Sucia. 

L to R - Mojon Rojo, de l"S, St Exupery Raphael, Poincenot, and Fitzroy
On Sunday February 2nd we hiked up to Laguna Sucia with spectacular views of the glacier calving off into the lake. 

Climbing to our bivy above Laguna Sucia
From the lake we headed straight up the hill to a bivouac cave at the edge of the glacier.  Our camp had beautiful views to the east of Laguna Sucia and Laguna De los Tres.

Mojon Rojo
After setting up our tent and eating lunch we made an afternoon ascent of Mojon Rojo.

Scrambling up Mojon Rojo
Climbing on Mojon Rojo was un-roped class 2 climbing.

Scott Bennett on the summit of Mojon Rojo
On the summit tower we roped up for about twenty feet because the exposure on the other side was huge! 
View of Cerro Torre sticking through the clouds from the summit of Mojon Rojo
We descended from Mojon Rojo back to our camp and prepared for an early start the next day.
Aguja de l'S
We got an early start up the glacier with the original intent of trying a route on St Exupery.  But the condition of the glacier and signs that the weather may not hold led us to switch to the east face of Aguja de l'S which is a shorter and easier climb.

Climbing on the Baby Face Route on the East Face of de l'S
We made a rising traverse across the east face on the Baby Face route.  Conditions were near perfect - climbing on firm narrow snow ramps that led over to where we joined the Cara Este Route.

Blake Herrington leading to the top of the summit block
It was easy going and we made rapid progress mostly simul-climbing until the summit block.  Here we encountered what would be easy 5.10 climbing if it was dry.  But all the weeks of bad weather had coated the rock with rime and ice making it a slower and more difficult process of climbing two short pitches to the top.

We rappelled down the Cara Este route and descended back down the glacier to our camp and enjoyed another evening in the mountains before hiking to Chalten on Tuesday February4th. I caught my flight in El Calafate the next day.


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