Aguja Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz, Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Rafael Juárez, Aguja Saint-Exúpery and Aguja De l'S
The Fitz Traverse/La Travesía del Fitz
3600m 7a C1 65˚
Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold (USA), 12-16/02/2014.
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). To this point it is called the Care Bear Traverse and was first climbed by Dana Drummond and Freddie Wilkinson in 2008.
From the summit of Fitz Roy rappel the Francesa to reach La Silla and La Brecha de los Italianos to then weave your way through the various summits of Aguja Kakito to reach the base of the Potter-Davis route on Aguja Poincenot.
From the summit rappel Judgment Day to reach the Col SUSAT and climb the Piola-Anker on Aguja Rafael Juárez. Traverse to Aguja Saint-Exúpery and climb the upper portion of the Italiana. Two rapels lead to the col between the summit and Punta Cristina, which is climbed in one pitch (50m 5+). Rappel the Austríaca to reach the Col de los Austríacos and climb the north ridge of Aguja de l'S.
In all it climbs across over five kilometers of ridge line, covering close to 4000 meters of vertical gain with difficulties to 7a C1 65˚. It also involves 3400 meters of rappeling.
This traverse 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 four and a half days with four bivies: on the ridge south of Mermoz, on the summit of Fitz Roy, below the summit of Poincenot and below the summit pyramid of Aguja de l'S. The ascent was done in complete autonomy, alpine style, with no chaches along the way.
The first ascensionists simul climbed most of the route with the exception of the headwall above Pilar Goretta and the Potter-Davis route on Poincenot. In those sections they short-fixed. In all they climbed less than 20 pitches, some of them close to 300 meters long.
It should be noted that their success was in spite of very bad conditions, with much ice and snow in the cracks and on the ridges courtesy of one of the wettest summer seasons in many years.
Caldwell and Honnold wore rockshoes to climb Pilar Goretta and the north face of Aguja Poincenot but climbed everything else wearing approach shoes (!!).
The name refers to the moutain, to Cerro Fitz Roy, but also to Fitz, Caldwell's young son, who in turn is also named after the peak.
For more details about the times of the first ascent party go here.
The original idea for this traverse was from Dean Potter who apparently had hoped to solo it using caches along the way. Although he never did gave it a try he went as far as placing at least one of the caches. Later it was attempted by Rolando Garibotti and Colin Haley in two ocassions, in 2009 and 2010. Both times they retreated after climbing Fitz Roy. The first time their rope died (core shot), having made the rookie mistake of taking one of those fancy skinny lead lines that aren't good for much in the mountains. During the second attempt they made another rookie mistake, taking a single sleeping bag between both of them and no bivy sack or tent. After three very cold nights they had had enough.
Approach. Same as for Brenner-Moschioni.
Gear. The first ascensionists used: two backpacks (35 and 25 liters); one sleeping bag; a BD First Light tent; a stove and three gas canisters; one ice tool; two pairs of aluminum crampons; one ice-screw; 2 each Camalots to #2; 1 Camalot #3; two sets of Stoppers; a 60m 9.8mm lead line; an 80m 6mm tag line; three ascenders/locking pulleys (Petzl Micro-traxion, Kong Duck and Futura, to simul climb); 6 quick-draws and 14 slings
Descent. Descend the Amy route on the east face of Aguja de l'S.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Care Bear Traverse
Aguja Mermoz, Argentine Route and
Fitz Roy, Casarotto/Kearney-Knight/
Fitz Roy, Franco-Argentine descent
Aguja M&M, traversed on ridgeline.
Fitz Roy, Franco-Argentine descent
For more photos see each specific
route mentioned in the text