Monday, March 7, 2011

Patagonia 2011...... Closure.

When you pour your heart and soul into one project whatever it may be, nothing feels better than actually achieving the goal. In alpine climbing 90% of the time the goals are not met. Every once in a while the stars align and you get the chance finish the project. "The Wave Effect" was for us, an odyssey over 5 days. We kept faith in the forecast and never stopped looking forward. One summit at a time we moved through 6000 feet of granite cracks with some unbelievable bivy stops along the way.

One tower at a time we wanted to do it right. The Wave Effect started with Aguja Desomochada. We established a new free route by linking two different lines. The original Bridwell line called, "El Condor," and the Huber route called, "Golden Eagle." The key was free climbing the one aid pitch that remained on El Condor. What was A2 went free at 5.12+ using the rivet and bolt Bridwell placed himself on the original ascent. We named our new free route "The Brass Parrot."

~Magro leading perfect splitter granite on "The Brass parrot."
~Wharton leading the upper walls of Desomochada
After every summit the bivy was the main concern. Where to sleep in such a rocky environment? With a little work we were ale to build up or carve out little spots for the three of us to cram into a two man tent with one sleeping bag. We compromised comfort for the ability to travel extremely light.

~Opp preparing the first night's bivy on the East side of Desomochada 300 feet from the top. You can see Silla in the back ground.
~Retrieving stuck ropes while rapping Desomochada.
Between every tower there was extremely exposed sections of ice and snow. This required use of our crampons and the one ice tool we carried. The leader took the tool and the two in follow carried sharp rocks in case of an arrest. Not ideal but light.

~Josh and Nate coming across the notch on our way to the base of La Silla.
The second wave in the effect was Aguja de la Silla. This tower is rarely climbed. After some research we realized that our fastest way to climb Silla was by way of a new route. Not totally sure were we were going we picked the path of least resistance and established an independent line that climbed right to the notch between Silla and Fitz Roy. From the notch we made it to the summit by following the original East Ridge route. By this time in the day major clouds had built up and made visibility hard. Poor visibility would be with us for the remainder of the Wave Effect. The new route we called, "Vertical Current." To the best of our knowledge it was the third ascent of the tower

~Opp free climbing icy cracks on the first ascent of "Vertical Current."

~Magro at one of the many hanging belays

After the summit of de la Silla we were 2/3 done with the project. We crossed over the notch and gained the shoulder of Fitz Roy and established a nice bivy just below the California Route. The third wave in the effect. Spirits were high because nothing in the world tasted better than our freeze dried grub and our daily ration of salami. We finished the last of our dinners that night and left just enough gas to make water the following morning.

We woke and found ourselves in a total white out, thankfully is was dead still. In Patagonia dead still is rare and fair trade for visibility. Following our noses and old piton anchors, we made a five hours ascent of the California Route. We were all climbing together on one rope, moving fast, with no idea where we were. All of a sudden Josh who was leading yells out, "Cumbre!" We literally stumbled onto the summit of Fitz Roy, because we could not see. We were about 5 hours ahead of our projected time. We were elated. We had just completed the "Wave Effect."

~Josh and Nate on the Summit of Fitz Roy.

~Josh still beaming after rapping the Franco-Argentine and arriving at safe ground for the first time in three days.
The three of us teamed up for this with no expectations other than trying hard. We got lucky with good weather and accomplished our project; even exceeding our own expectations. Establishing a new free route on Desomochada, a new route on Silla, and then a five hour ascent of Fitz Roy with the leader freeing every pitch along the way. I could not have asked for a better team to roll with. "The Wave Effect" 1,900 meters 5.12+

The last morning we had been without "real" food for 24 hours; there was no complaint of hunger. It was one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever seen. With an inversion there was a blanket of clouds below us and nothing could be seen but giant towers poking up all around us. We stood there warming in the sun like lizards. Nate looked over and says, "This is why we do it."

~Nate taking it in.

In closing, we want to thank Mammut for the continued support.

~Whit Magro
Bozeman, Montana


Neil Kauffman said...


Dana Mad Dog Drummond said...

excellent, whit, excellent!!! awesome climb for the dream team!

jeff corsetti said...


Dan Corn said...

Nice work boys!

Unknown said...

Congrats fellas! Strong work.

Alex Quinn said...

The picture looking over the mountains is awesome looking. I love the Patagonia area. I went to visit Patagonia a few years back and it was the most amazing trip I have ever done.