Copp, Wharton in Patagonia
Good news, bad news for Jonny Copp and Josh Wharton in Patagonia this year: On the one hand, they arrived in time for one of the longest good-weather windows in memory and reached two summits. On the other hand, circumstances conspired to end their trip prematurely after the second climb.
The two Coloradans climbed Fitz Roy via its southern prow, combining parts of the French and Argentine routes. Ice and verglas had yet to melt from the cracks and corners, making even moderate free pitches a struggle. Nevertheless, the two climbed all the way from basecamp to the summit, around 8,000 vertical feet, in just 17 hours.
Two days later, in balmy conditions, the two made an all-free ascent of the Austrian route (the south prow) on Aguja St. Exupery, freeing several aid pitches at up to 5.11. A rescue of some seriously injured climbers ate up the rest of the weather window, and then Wharton sprained his ankle badly on the way to town for some R&R. End of trip.