Colin Haley and Andy Wyatt, both from the United States, have completed the first known one-day “car to car” ascent of Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia. The two did the round-trip from the roadside near the town of El Chaltén in 21 hours 8 minutes, climbing the Supercanaleta route on Fitz Roy’s west face and descending the French Route on the south side.
Starting at 10:15 p.m., Haley and Wyatt spent just under 5.5 hours on the approach and then climbed the Supercanaleta in 7 hours 34 minutes, topping out at 11:14 a.m. They returned to the road at 7:23 p.m. According to Rolando Garibotti, the local guidebook author and co-creator of Pataclimb.com, the previous fastest known round-trip was around 31.5 hours. Haley estimated the total elevation gain for this tour at around 3,500 meters (ca. 11,500′).
Fitz Roy is normally climbed from a high camp and usually requires at least one additional night en route or during the descent. Garibotti said conditions in the Fitz Roy massif right now are “OK, but not great.” The two did not cache any gear in advance and took everything over the top. They wore lightweight running shoes for the trails (Sportiva Helios SR) and Sportiva’s Trango Ice Cube boots on the climb, which involves a long ice couloir and mixed climbing, along with extensive glacier travel.
“The ‘crux’ was probably running out with all the weight of the climbing gear on our backs,” Haley said. “We ran roughly half the trail out and hiked the other half. Andy, who trail runs much more often than me, probably could’ve run the whole way out. The Supercanaleta is definitely the biggest, most serious climb that he’s done, and for him the crux was in the climbing, especially the ice/mixed climbing.”
Haley first climbed Fitz Roy (a.k.a. Chaltén) in 2005, and this was his 10th ascent in all—and the second of this season. Earlier this month, he soloed the Californian Route on the southwest face.
Wyatt is a founder and manager of the Seattle Bouldering Project gym. “I’ve known Andy since I was a little kid,” Haley said. “Our fathers were actually best friends in high school in Tacoma. We haven’t done much climbing together, but our best previous climb together was in the same vein: Last summer we climbed the complete North Ridge of Mt. Stuart in 6:45 car-to-car, just barely, barely setting a new record.”