Aguja Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz, Aguja Val Biois and Cerro Fitz Roy
Travesía Care Bear
1950m 60˚ 6c
Dana Drummond and Freddie Wilkinson (USA) in 2008.
Description. Climb Guillaumet via the Brenner-Moschioni route (350m 6b), continue along the south ridge (see Guillaumet’s Cresta Sur) to below the South summit (100m 4+) and descend to the ruta Argentina on Mermoz along which you continue to the summit (300m 6a). To this point it is called the Motocross Traverse and was first climbed by Slovenes Klemen Mali and Rok Sisernik in 2006 in 11.5 hours. From here continue along the ridge climbing a number of small towers –many rappels and much alpine trickery- to reach Aguja Val Biois which is passed on the west side without tagging the summit (300m aprox, 6a). From the Bloque Empotrado col the first ascentionists climbed the Casarotto/Kearney-Knight/Casarotto combo to the summit of Fitz Roy (900m 6c). This has to be the longest and funnest rock route anywhere south of the Equator! It has it all, great views, great rock, a lot of fun climbing and a lot of trickery. It does not get any better.
History. The first ascent was completed in three days with one bivy on the top of Mermoz and a second bivy on the south ridge of Val Biois, right above the Bloque Empotrado col, followed by a night descent from the summit of Fitz back down the Goretta pillar to recover a gear stash at the col.
The name refers to the "Care Bears", a child's cartoon TV show, popular in the US around the late 1980s. The "Care Bears" lived up in the clouds...
Drummond and Wilkinson were bivied on the summit of Mermoz (in a Firstlight tent), and the weather really wasn't very good, they were basically inside a cloud. They joked to each other, "I bet those the other climbers are thinking, 'these stupid americans are up in the clouds!' ". They decided that since they were up in the clouds, they were like the Care Bears... Before going to climb it be sure to watch a youtube clip of theCare Bears. It is a pre-requisite.
This traverse has been repeated many times since then, with the repeats taking roughly the same amount of time to complete. One repeat included a first bivy on top of Guillaumet, a second bivy in the Bloque Empotrado col and a third on top of the Goretta pillar; another one was done with a first bivy in the Bloque Empotrado col and a second on top of the Goretta pillar; and another involved a bivy on top of Mermoz and a second ¾ of the way up the Goretta pillar. Most repeats climbed the Goretta pillar via the Casarotto/Kearney-Knight/Lindblade-Whimp/Mate-Porro/Casarotto combo, which might or might not be faster than the Casarotto or the Casarotto/Kearney-Knight/Casarotto combo.
Approach. Same as for Brenner-Moschioni.
Gear. A lot –like 20 meters- of rap cord.
Descent. The first ascentionists descended back down the Goretta pillar to recover a gear drop at the col, but the Franco-Argentina descent taken by subsequent repeats is preferable.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Care Bear Traverse
Aguja Mermoz, Argentine Route and
Fitz Roy, Casarotto/Kearney-Knight/
Fitz Roy, Franco-Argentine descent