SKAGIT ALPINISM

Cerro Pier Giorgio, First Complete Ascent

January 31st, 2014

Last week the weather forecast showed one of the most promising windows of the 2013-2014 Chalten climbing season (which doesn’t say much this year), and Rolo and I hiked into Niponino on the 22nd with ambitious plans. When we went to sleep it was snowing heavily, but we felt confident it would stop soon. When are alarm went off at 2:30am it was still snowing heavily, and we reset the alarm for 4:00. At 4:00 […]

Rolo descending the upper east face at last light, with Cerro Chalten behind.

Cerro Madsen, Aguja de l’S and Cerro Domo Blanco

January 15th, 2014

The 2013-2014 season in El Chalten continues to be a cold and stormy one. Since my arrival in mid November there hasn’t been a single weather window that I would call “a good one,” and the gnarliest summits, Cerro Torre and Torre Egger, have both yet to see a single ascent this season. However, at least small, mediocre windows have been relatively frequent for those motivated to climb smaller objectives in icy conditions. On New […]

Colin climbing an awkward, icy flare near the summit of Aguja de l'S. I think we went the wrong way... Photo by Sarah Hart.

Cerro Marconi Central – La SuperWhillans

December 22nd, 2013

Another semi-good weather window arrived in the Chalten Massif this past week. The forecast showed decent weather for the 18th and 19th, so Rolo and I hiked into the mountains on the 17th. This season continues so far to be the “Old Patagonia,” with plenty of wind, plenty of precip, and not-so-warm temperatures (which, in some ways is a refreshing change from the past couple summers of “Patagonia Tropical”). The recent snow and rime accumulations, […]

The east face of Cerro Marconi Central, showing the line of "La SuperWhillans."

Techado Negro and Aguja Volonqui

December 8th, 2013

The last couple weeks in El Chalten the weather has been neither particularly good nor bad. There hasn’t been a lot of truly burly storms, but there haven’t been any periods of weather forecast good enough to feel confident about trying big, hard routes. There have been a handful of decent days, however, and Sarah and I used a couple of them to tag summits that we’ve never been to before. On November 30th we […]

The east side of Aguja Volonqui, viewed from near the top of Domo Blanco. The ComesaƱa-Fonrouge is marked with red dots, and "El Lobito" in green dots.

Farewell Magnus

December 2nd, 2013

Shortly before leaving Seattle for Patagonia, it happened again – a phone call during the middle of the night brought news of another friend who had died in the mountains. While ski mountaineering with Andreas Fransson on New Zealand’s Mt. Cook, Swedish evil-genius/warm-hearted-mad-man, Magnus Kastengren had fallen from a high ridge to his death. I hadn’t done nearly as much climbing and skiing with Magnus as others, and there are many people who were much […]

Guillaumet x2

November 26th, 2013

Sarah and I have been in El Chalten for a week now, and just got back to town from our second foray into the mountains. On the 20th, during a nice but very brief break in the weather, we tried to make a day-trip to Aguja Val Biois via Paso Superior. We started from El Pilar at 2:30am, and hiked to Campo Rio Blanco in rain, wind and darkness. The skies finally began to clear […]

Winter, followed by Fall, followed by Spring…

October 25th, 2013

Here’s a somewhat late blog post, of the remainder of my time in Patagonian winter, and the journey back to the Salish Sea. While it was very cool to finally explore the Chalten Massif in wintertime, it wasn’t a highly successful trip for me in terms of climbing accomplishments. I made two attempts on technical, more serious objectives, but both times I was scared off pretty quickly – the ice conditions felt too insecure for […]

Domo Blanco and Cerro Electrico

September 8th, 2013

I had a bit of climate shock a couple weeks ago, traveling from the Squamish summer of shirtless sport climbing, down to a snowy, icy El Chalten in mid-winter. I arrived in El Chalten on August 23, and supposedly proper winter had arrived only a few days beforehand. People around town talked of a “pequeno verano” for all of June and July, with way above normal temperatures, sunny weather, and sport climbing around town. I […]

Thar she blows!

Summer in Squamish – Dedication to Rock

August 12th, 2013

When I finally finished university in early 2009 I was just about ready to explode, and for the next three years I was nearly always on back-to-back alpine climbing trips, making extended annual visits to Chamonix, Alaska, Pakistan and Patagonia. For three years I think I averaged about 180 days per year on glaciers! It was an amazing stint, and I felt very happy to be following my dreams in inspiring places. The one problem, […]

I tried to onsight the pitch, but ran out of gas after the first few bolts. Photo by Chris Christie

Spring in North America – Skiing and Crevasse Falls!

August 8th, 2013

NOTE: THIS IS A BLOG POST THAT I WROTE IN EARLY JUNE. IT’S ONLY TWO MONTHS OLD! It’s been an odd spring for me. Always for me the most difficult aspect of my Patagonia addiction is the conflict it creates with my skiing addiction, and after spending most of the winter in the Austral summer, I usually return home very eager to ski. This year was no exception, and after returning to Seattle I did […]

Jon testing the waters at the top of Mt. Lefroy's West Face