climber

Category Archives: Trango Raptor

First Cumbre in Patagonia!

Espera.

Waiting.

Guillaumet in center of photo

I just hoped to climb some granite splitters in this dreamland.

I am not the only one with this wish.

….and this is how it is now.

Waiting!!!

Clay Kennedy and I packed for our second session in the mountains.  A”window” had finally come.

Window has become a joke around these parts….8-20 hours of medium-okay pressure with cold temps and sometimes climbable winds (considering your aspect and tolerance!)

following near top of the Amy Coullior

Waiting in the notch, hiding from the winds

Guillaumet via any route sans congo-line became the objective.  HA!  A snow or ice route was the best option.
Rock climbing?  Not gonna happen for awhile!

We left ourselves open to the Amy or the Guillo, and decided a little later start would be just fine…minimize the waiting at the base or on route.

Luckily, snow conditions stayed great for our later than sunrise start and our plan worked perfectly.

With snow fresh we followed a mild set of boot packed tracks up Paso Guillaumet from our camp at Piedra Negra.  The Amy Coullior was free and clear of people.  Crazy…it wasn´t THAT late!

The bergshrund was a 3 foot step up, maybe 2 feet wide.
No problem!
We continued up the snow a little further up, until Clay reached a set of slings and a piton on the right, here we pulled out the rope and simul-climbed to the lip.
The snow ramp leading up to the notch was in dreamy alpine conditions, “one hitter, quitters!” as Clay called it.  A boulder problem exit over iced in blocks mantled us up onto the ridge.
From there, the wind was ever present.  Climbing on the east side was calm and warm.  Climbing on the west side was screaming barfy nuking winds.

From the notch, the route joins another route via mixed rock, snow and ice climbing on 5.9 or easier terrain.
Still no sign of people.
The cracks were snowy and climbing in mountain boots makes me feel like I have two left feet.  Clumsy and insecure.

I led a pitch to a false summit, first with crampons on, but because it is still a fairly unfamiliar style, I finally took them off and just jammed the snowy crack with my boots.
Thankfully, my belay was protected from the wind.  When Clay arrived, I headed off again, down climbing into another notch.
Here we ran into the first signs of life, a party of 5 from Ecuador and many other voices above and below.

Cumbre, Fitz Roy in the background!

I glanced down the notch to the east, 2 parties of 2 were rappelling.
Around the corner the party of 5 was crawling, fully spread out.

Another party of three was just beginning their descent as well.  Rainbow, Ann, and Jared from the states.  They had summited and cheering us on as we continued our ascent!  Clay, tired of waiting, blasted through the sketchy jumaring antics of the Ecuadorian party (one jumar, not tied into the end of the rope, nothing else attaching to the rope!!!!! YIKES!)

Clay skillfully weaved through the party, catching the leader at the base of the snow slope that leads to the summit.  These last two pitches faced west.  It was quite brutal.  I climbed the snow filled 5.8 layback crack in my mittens.
Upon meeting up with Clay, I passed and headed up the 40 degree snow slope (seems steeper).
We simul-climbed to the top!
Cumbre to ourselves!!!!!!!  Did a little boogie, soaked in the view of Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, some of the ice cap beyond it all!

A wonderful adventure, amazing views, and just happy to have realized a dream!

Climbing in Patagonia, what a DREAM!!!!!!

The Raptor!

I am not an ice climber….well, I have now gone, liked it, and I will most certainly go again!

My first experience was years ago with an acquaintance.  I wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for, but we hiked around a lot up the Lawn Lake Trail.  I never took my tools off the pack, even to this day I have no idea what moderate ice we might have been looking for.  Oh well.

All Mixed Up, Thatchtop Mt., RMNP

My second experience, was this November a few weeks after my whipper in Zion.  My experienced friend was very patient while I gimped up the trail, and even more caring when we stopped at the base of All Mixed Up to gear up and my feet were already frozen.  After attempting to warm them, feed me, hydrate me, dance around, we ended up turning around.

What a sissy!

I am from Minnesota, I used to tolerate the cold so well.  Wow, too many winters chasing eternal fall!

My third experience was just after Thanksgiving and it went swimmingly.  Granted I borrowed warmer, more appropriate, boots.

The three of us, 2 non-experienced ice climbers and a third who had previously climbed at our desired destination, Hidden Falls.  We had a leisurely breakfast, drove to Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park, strapped on the packs, and wandered down the road, now winter trail, west.

Then we wandered down the road east, back tracking.  We wandered a short trail parallel to the road for awhile.  Then we wandered about another pull-out and trail.  Finally, we wandered further west definitively.  Our third, “leader”, didn’t quite remember how far to wander the road, where Hidden Falls might be hidden, and surely didn’t even know what day it was.

All in good fun.  We arrived, just as another pair of climbers was hiking out.

Perfect.  Place to ourselves.

I just top-roped, but messed around with dry-tooling (which I had done before last winter in the Cascades), but I also got to climb a few pitches of just ice.

I was enjoying my new ice tools, and the boys were also enjoying my new ice tools.  The Trango Raptors saw 8-10 pitches on their first day out.  These nice tools have an aggressive pick, are quite light, and have an excellent grip.  I really enjoyed the grip set up, allowing me to switch hands comfortably, gripping above the standard grip location was equally as comfortable and easy.

Get your new pair at http://www.trango.com/ice_gear/Raptor  

The vision for the Trango athlete team is to find climbers who embody our brand’s values and support them in their climbing endeavors. We focus on the character of the climber, their passion for the sport, and their desire to contribute to the community.

Meet the Team

Featured Events

There are currently no upcoming events.

All Events

Partners

The American Alpine Club American Mountain Guides Association Access Fund Leave No Trace - lnt.org

Archives

Authors

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
eGrips Tenaya Fast Rope Descender

© Trango - All Rights Reserved