|Looking south from high the summit ridge. Photo: Willy Oppenheim|
Check out this little video Black Diamond video called "The Window" to get an idea of what I'm talking about.
For me this expedition all started years ago (2007) when I came Patagonia as a backpacker with climbing shoes and chalk bag in toe. I hiked to Laguna Torre, up to Fitz Roy and the circuit around Torres Del Paine. During that trip both Chilean and Argentine Patagonia inspired me to develop my climbing and mountaineering skills to the point that I could come to these mountains again and climb in them.
As life went on my climbing progressed with numerous trips to multi-pitch climbing destinations and adventures into the mountains of Western North America. In 2011 I found myself drawn back to Patagonia to work as a NOLS Mountaineering instructor. I worked 4 32day Mountaineering courses over 6 months and got to travel and climb in these amazing mountains again!
|We had just climbed the first ascent of Cerro Meliquina and are on our way to meet up with the rest of the group. Photo Betsy Winston.|
|The Torre Group from the west.|
|Me and Luka on the Cumbre on Cerro Torre in 2012. Photo Cory Hall|
|Cerro Chalten (Fitz Roy) and the 1600m Supercanalata.|
|James on some of the mixed terrain on Fitz.|
|You can find Erik Bonnett's yellow helmet in the center as he works his way up Kooshdakhaa Spire in AK.|
It had been a few years since I had been to Patagonia and it was rad to land in Balamaceda, Chile and jump on a shuttle to the NOLS branch in Coyhaique. Though I wasn't coming to work it has been great to connect with friends I haven't seen in years! I love the feeling of rolling into a place and seeing the same smiling faces from years past and them greeting you with open arms!
On January 27th Felipe Cancino picked me up at the Campo and our expedition planning really kicked off with food planning and gear organizing at the Patagonia Coyhaique House.
|Packing and organizing in Coyhaique.|
|Making sure we have enjoy mate is very essential for a trip to the ice-field. Photo Willy Oppenheim|
The winds on Lago Bertrand didn't allow us to travel in that afternoon so we woke early on Feb 1st to load the boat and make our way to Ramon Sierra's campo and the start of our approach by foot. We unloaded all our gear chatted with Ramon and were on our way.
|Tyo boating us up Lago Bertrand and Lago Plomo. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Walking in with our only day of little packs. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Quacho Ramon Sierra unloading our food and gear. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Pretty rad zone!|
|Yup we saw a Hemul and it totally hung out with us! Photo Willy Oppenheim|
|Some glacier stream crossings. Photo Willy Oppenheim|
|Willy engaged in some moraine travel. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Cruising some glacier fins on the approach. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Storm day activities.... Yatzee! Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Enjoying a freshly baked Calzone! Eating well out there is important!|
|Moving up to high camp. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Heading out of camp.... behind me is just a Splitter Nunatak...|
|Climbing lower down on Pantagruel. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Felipe and the average view of the Nef glacier behind.|
|Sweet rimmed up mixed climbing!|
|Climbing the last pitch on Brisa Suave. Photo Willy Oppenheim|
|Cumbre!!! Pta Pantagruel! Photo Willy Oppenheim|
The next morning after mate we were on the move. We arrived at the base of the route in 4hrs. Willy took off up the beauty steep glacial ice pitch which lead to lower angled snow covered glacier for a few more pitches. Then Felipe took us up a series of short steep steps to the summit ridge.
|Tough living on the white desert.|
|Approaching the SW Face of Cerro Fantasma (Peak 2252m).|
|Willy starting up the steep glacial ice. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Swimming up the southwest face. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Climbing up the southwest face of Cerro Fantasma|
|Felipe working his way to the ridge.|
|Cumbre of Peak 2252 aka Cerro Fantasma Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Psyched on the hot food and drink! Photo Willy Oppenheim|
|Rapping into the white zone. Photo Willy Oppenheim.|
|Finally exiting the ping pong ball. Photo Willy Oppenheim|
|Heading down off the Campo de Heilo Norte. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Moraine Travel with heavy packs on the way out. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|A little moraine caving. Photo Felipe Cancino|
|The view is amazing and the winds that were blowing cannot be captured here!|
|The Patagonia weather returns in full force!|
|Willy and Felipe during the wild sand/gravel wind storm we had.|
|We had a few of these on the way in and out! Photo Felipe Cancino|
HUGE THANKS to my climbing partners Felipe Cancino and Willy Oppenheim for working hard, being amazing friends and expedition partners! To Tyo and Ramon for all there help with getting us in and out of the area! To Patagonia for the rad clothing and accommodation! And NOLS for supporting there instructors to push personal limits! And to all the people that support us on our adventures! You're all rad!
|Drying out at base camp before heading down! Photo Felipe Cancino|
|Campo de Hielo Norte!|