Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holidays + Mountain Adventure + Patagonia = Awesome!

This is the team! Starting left-right Top Betsy Winston, Me, Michel Raab, Steve R, Pete Blau Bottom Patty Soto, Tre-c Dumais and Mita C.
Some people eat turkey, relax with family and party over the holidays. This holiday was a bit of a different one for me. I spent the past 8-10 days on the Meliquina glacier with 7 friends exploring and climbing peaks.
Laguna Meliquina and Meliquina Glacier Photo by Betsy Winston

So on christmas eve we where on the road early so we could start hiking into the mountains. The next day we got up to the alpine with great views of our objects and route.

Pretty Freakin' beautiful eh! Photo by Betsy Winston

Our next move was up to the base of peak 2602m or what we dubbed Cerro Meliquina and dug in there. Once we established camp we chatted about routes and teams for trying to climb Cerro Meliquina. First we tried as a team of 8 but got shut down by terrain. The next day we split into 2 groups and tried the northeast face and southwest face both groups had limited success due to terrain and heavy winds.

Travelling on the Meliquina Glacier Photo by Betsy Winston

Looking out over the Meliquina Photo by Betsy Winston

The next day 5 folks continued on the traverse to our next base camp while Betsy, Michel and I went for the NE face again and then planned on joining up with the rest of the group later in the day. We cached our gear at the base of the climb and then went for it.

The first pitch is the crux, while navigating the bergshrund you get to a short section of ice capped by overhanging snow which pushes you left onto rock after a few moves of mixed climbing you get back onto moderate snow up to 60-65 degrees. The remainder of the climb was navigating 60-65 degree glacier ice/snow and cracks. After our time on the summit we descended the north ridge which involved a short rappel. We picked up our cache and then headed to meet up with the rest of the group. The route is 600m AI2 5.7 D.

Sunrise Photo by Michel Raab
Me climbing the crux pitch on Cerro Meliquina Photo by Michel Raab
Betsy at the top of the first pitch Photo by Michel Raab
Betsy leading out Photo by Michel Raab
Summit of Cerro Meliquina

Cerro Meliquina our route went up the far left side of the glaciated face to the rock summit in the centre Photo by Betsy Winston
Beautiful peaks on the Meliquina Photo by Betsy Winston
On the way across the Meliquina glacier we had amazing views of the Northern Icefield and Cerro San Valentine which is the highest peak in Patagonia. Also the wind started picking up with gusts up to probably 60km/hr. Once reunited with the rest of our team we decided to drop off the glacier to a lower camp to reduce our exposure to the wind and coming weather. Our day started at 5am and after we built the rock walls for our tents it was around 10pm and time for bed. A long day of climbing and moving.

That night the wind didn't let up and we had off and on showers. With the weather not ideal we decided to relax for the day.

The next day the weather didn't improve so we headed down to the trucks and back to the NOLS Campo to celebrate New Years with the folks there. All in all the trip was amazing!

Thanks to Michel and Betsy for putting this trip all together! 

San Valentine 4000 plus metres highest peak in Patagonia Photo by Betsy Winston
Another great trip in the Patagonian Mountains!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the perfect holiday Max! Hope you get home to the East this year :)