Burly New Route in Patagonia


Americans Ryan Nelson and Crystal Davis-Robbins made the first ascent of the South Face of Aguja de L'S in Patagonia, via one of the steepest lines in the range. Aguja de L'S is a low summit in the multi-spired ridge that extends south from Fitz Roy, and it is often climbed via relatively modest routes from the east. But its southern and western aspects rise more than 3,500 feet from the Torre Glacier. Waking at 3:30 a.m. on February 11, the two began climbing on a vertical buttress with free climbing up to 5.12a and a thin corner that required some aid. The route then reaches easier terrain and joins The Thaw's Not Houlding Wright (5.10, Leo Houlding, Kevin Thaw, Cedar Wright, 2004) for two pitches, then traverses ledges to the right to reach the overhanging “tidal wave” of the South Face. The crux of this section was an offwidth that Davis-Robbins led and gave 5.12a. As darkness and a storm approached, the two resorted to aid on the upper pitches, and they reached the top early in the morning hours, in cold, strong winds. They then endured an epic descent, during which rappelling proved impossible because of high winds and they were forced to down-lead to escape. They returned to their camp after 35 hours on the go. The new route is The Art of War (3,300 feet, V 5.12a A2). This was Nelson's first route in Patagonia. Davis-Robbins' has now done three new routes in the range, along with the first female ascent of the North Pillar of Fitz Roy. According to Nelson, his partner regarded their new line as “the burliest yet.”Dates of Ascent: February 11-12, 2007Source: Ryan Nelson

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