Showing posts with label patagonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label patagonia. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Deseret Peak Twin Couloirs

Many people are unaware that Deseret Peak is only a stones throw from Salt Lake. Its about a hour drive from my house which is about the same time as it takes me to get to Little cottonwood. Located just west of the Oquirrh mountains, this peak Stands just over 11,000 feet and holds three amazing couloirs. The twins and the north couloir. All three are not small and will will give you a bang for your buck. I asked my friends Caroline Gleich and Forrest Shearer to join me and could not have had a better touring party.  As of now the road to get into the canyon is still under snow and is 4 miles just to the trail head to start your hike in. I brought my sled to cut that time down, but was not stoked on that due to the road being melted out in many spots. Although the skis on my sled did not like it, our party did and we were able to start our hike in with fresh legs. The start of the trail head is wilderness so the sled had to stay and we were off on foot. From the trail head it is 3000 feet to the top of the couloirs. With record breaking heat this day we chose to stay safe and head to the twin couloirs which are north facing and stayed pretty cool the entire day. But throughout our whole hike we could hear big wet slides ripping off the east face and could see debris fanning out onto the aprons of the north couloir. Timing is everything on days like today and our timing was perfect. The north chutes had warmed up perfect to give us some good corn/pow on the way down. The trail out and down lower was a bit of a slog and the snow had become a bit slushy by this time but it was a total success. Special thanks to Caroline for taking all the pictures.

Caroline and Forrest checking out the twin couloirs.
Caroline crushed it by putting in the skinner the entire way. This pic can give you a scale of how big the couloirs are.
The snow got pretty firm at the top so booting was the only option.
Topping out at just over 10,000 feet.
Best part about getting to the top is making your pack lighter. Cliff bars and sandwiches.
Caroline and Forrest checking out the line.

The west couloir of the twins is pretty big, felt more like skiing a bowl, but the snow was pretty good and stable.

Steven Lloyd Photography

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beginner's luck in Patagonia - part I

I've had always thought of Patagonia as a far-away magical place that I would never get to visit because of the long travel time and terrible weather.  This past December I rolled the dice and planned a quick two week trip around Christmas and New Years, hoping for the best.  Thankfully my good friend Jared Vilhauer was able to join me on the trip and we had a blast.  He's graciously allowed me to use some of his photos here, thanks for the awesome trip my friend!

Brad Pitt watching over my airport bivy
Fueling up in El Chalten with empanadas and local beer
Jared staying fueled up with delicious dulce de leche cookies
I arrived in El Chalten two days late thanks to some airline hijinks, but rallied the next morning to approach the Torre Valley with Jared.  Powered by leftover empanadas, we spent a night in Niponino, then moved over to the Circo de los Altares. Luckily for us, we were a day off everyone else's schedule and missed the crowds on the Ragni route. 

My first view of the Torre group
Climbing towards Col Standhardt
Our bivy site in the Circo de los Altares
Photo ©Jared Vilhauer
Panorama of the Circo de los Altares from our bivy site on the Patagonia Icecap
We climbed from the Icecap to the summit of Cerro Torre via Rangi route on December 26th, having the peak all to ourselves on one of the best days I have ever had in the mountains. We descended that same day, spending the darkest hours in a snow cave during a raging rime storm. The next morning we finished the descent to our tent, slept all day, and ate almost all our remaining food. 

Jared leading us towards the Col de la Esperanza
Jared looking down at me while simul-climbing above the Col de la Esperanza
Photo ©Jared Vilhauer
Standing on top of El Elmo
Photo ©Jared Vilhauer
Myself leading the headwall pitch
Photo ©Jared Vilhauer
Jared pulling over the headwall into the sun
Jared leading the final summit mushroom
Myself and Jared on top of Cerro Torre!
Jared on top of Cerro Torre looking out at the Patagonia Icecap
Descending the headwall in a rime storm
Photo ©Jared Vilhauer
Very happy to be hiding in a snow cave from the raging rime storm outside

Packing up to walk the approximately 20 miles to the road
Almost there...
One more early rally got us out of the tent and 10.5 hours of walking saw us at the road, having traversed part of the Icecap to Paso Marconi, passing through glaciers, moraines, and finally a crazy lush forest. We ran into two of the awesome Giri-Giri boys, Jumbo and Mas, at the road. They had just finished a crazy trip in the Pollone group, doing a massive traverse in horrible conditions. After hitch-hiking back to town, Jared and I arrived 5 days after leaving and had climbed Cerro Torre within a week of leaving home. What a place!!!

Doug Shepherd
Los Alamos, NM

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ragni Route - Patagonia part I

All the climbing comps and cragging paid off because it's all training for the big mountains and the rich experiences they bring.

A photo story from Patagonia, the West Face of Cerro Torre via the Ragni Route.  My team consisted of Dave Kotch out of New York City and Carsten V. Birckhahn from Switzerland.  I have Dave to thank for making the trip happen and Carsten to thank for his boundless energy and incredible photography skills and for the fact that he was okay with me using them.  Thanks Carsten!  We made the summit on January 25, 2013.

 Carsten and Dave
 West Face of the Torre group
 Twilight 7.5's is action...
 Inspiration below huge granite.  Torre Egger and Cerro Torre.
 Climbing started at 11:30 pm
 What time is it?  So tired.
 The head wall pitch.
 Emerging into the sun finally.
 No pro rime climbing.
Final pitch through the tube!
Me and Dave on the summit
 Descending.  Cool photo Carsten!
 Rap, rap, rap.....
 Safe on the valley floor
A tired and happy crew.  Thanks guys!

Whit Magro
Bozeman, MT

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Patagonia 2011......

I'm sitting in the Salt Lake air port having just left Bozeman at 6 degrees with a foot of fresh snow. Finally a blessing from the powder gods and I am leaving. Seems to be a standard for me. I'll have to wait until March.

I'm on my way to Patagonia for another round of hopeful alpine climbing. Nate Opp out of Bozeman, Josh Wharton from Colorado, and my self make up our team. We have all the latest and greatest from Mammut to fend off the harsh weather that rips through down here. Most exciting is that we have some huge plans for this trip. I would like to share one of the tools that we used in planning. It's a newish web site that was set up by the foremost expert in Patagonia. Check it out at It's a comprehensive guide to most of the climbing that exists in the Fitz Roy and Torre Groups.

I will be making regular posts at this blog site to keep all those interested in our adventures current to our location and our climbing . Stay tuned and please send us some high pressure.

Whit Magro

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I could use another dose!

Josh and I on the North Face of Raphael~

It's been two weeks since I got back from Patagonia. It was great to get home and see my son Eli who is now 9 months and getting ready to walk. It's a new feeling for me missing my son while out climbing, I am going to have to start bringing him along.

The short mission I had down there was all I could ever ask for in a alpine climbing trip. From the previous posts Josh and I put up you can see we got some good, high quality climbing in and had a blast doing it. It's great hanging with a good friend on a bunch of huge granite walls.

Though we were not successful on Desomochata it stands out because of the dramatic weather and poor conditions that we had to make work. Josh below in classic Patagonia conditions. The cool thing is that now we have a project for next year. Can't wait!

Josh flew out a day earlier than I did so with my remaing hours and a good forcast I chose an objective that I could climb fast. I hooked up with a good Canadian climber named Jason Kruk. Together we made a speed ascent of Poincenot. We climbed the 2000 foot route in three hours by soloing together with no ropes. I did belay Jason through one 60m section at the top of the ramp.
Poinceniot is the prominent tower left of the large Fitz Roy. The Willians route follows the subtle ice ramp from right to left; then wraps around and up the left sky line. The climbing was supurb and perfect for moving fast.

Of the twelve days I spent down there I had only two rest days. What a lucky roll of the dice, a perfect alpine climbing trip! Now Eli and I have to get training for the spring.

Whit Magro
Bozeman, MT