Aguja Mermoz - Northwest ridge
5. Filo Noroeste
1000m 65˚ 6a A0
Zlatko Koren and Vasja Kosuta, with help David Pehnec (Slovenia), 23/11/2001, in two parts, to a col 100 meters below the summit. Scott Bennett and Cheyne Lempe (USA), 01/2012, first continuous ascent as part of the North Pillar Sit Start.
Description. This line starts right from the north Fitz Roy glacier. The first few pitches follow a series of cracks that end after a roof leading to a gully that leads to the top of the first tower. A chimney leads to the top of the following one. Much climbing involving a fair bit of alpine trickery, climbing on the ridge and to its sides leads to a col in the summit ridge, some 150 meters below the summit.
There are three possible starts. The lowest one (Poush-Prince-Siadak 2014 is the recommended one).
At one of the crux sections it is important to head right, climbing past a group of dangerously loose looking block. The dihedral to the left is a dead end. Slightly higher the Slovenes climbed a line left of the ridge, over a small roof, but all other repeats have climbed a beautiful crack to the right of the ridge (6b A0).
History. The first ascentionists climbed the lower portion of the route, then retreated, leaving some fixed ropes and exiting north onto a snowfield, which they regained a few days later to complete the upper portion of the route. They eventually reached a col in the summit ridge about 100 meters below the summit from where they retreated, partly due to bad weather, but also because they thought that several gendarmes along the ridge would not be climbable without drilling. Scott Bennett and Cheyne Lempe did the first continuous ascent as part of the North Pillar Sit Start, traversing south along the Care Bear to the Goretta pillar, not reaching the summit of Mermoz which is located further north.
In 2014 Julian Poush, Kevin Prince and Austin Siadak completed the second ascent of The North Pillar Sit Start climbing Aguja Mermoz's NW ridge from its very lowest point.
Approach. Paso Cuadrado to Glaciar Fitz Roy Norte.
Descent. Part way via the same route, to reach the snowfield that leads to the base of the west face of Guillaument and to the slabs and col that lead to Piedra Negra.