Americans Bag New Route in Patagonia

Mikey Schaefer leading the third pitch of Jardines Japoneses on the east face of Aguja Mermoz. Photo by Colin Haley

1/8/11 - Colin Haley, Jens Holsten, and Mikey Schaefer teamed up on December 28 to climb a new route on the east side of Aguja Mermoz in Argentinean Patagonia.Jardines Japoneses (650m, 5.10 A1 AI4 M5) follows an ice and mixed gully to the north ridge, where it joins the Argentinean Route and follows this to the summit. The three climbed the route in a 26-hour round trip from Laguna de los Tres.

Haley said at his blog that the new line "had very enjoyable climbing, with all he good alpine ingredients: some ice climbing, some scrappy mixed climbing, some pendulum and makeshift aid climbing, and finally some rock climbing on excellent granite." He also said he took the third alpine-climbing lead fall of his life when a snow mushroom collapsed, but he had placed a Camalot nearby and was unharmed.

This route was mainly Schaefer's project: He had checked out the line two seasons ago in Patagonia, and made a spirited attempt with Holsten earlier in December. After climbing long into the night, they were forced to stop at a hanging belay at 2 a.m. in a snowstorm and had to wait for sunrise in the middle of a spindrift funnel. Unsurprisingly, they headed down from there. Surprisingly, perhaps, they vowed to return. The successful ascent at the end of the month was Holsten's first Patagonian summit.

Date of ascent: December 28, 2010

Sources:,, Colin Haley, Mikey Schaefer