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    Here We Go... Another Climbing Season in Patagonia

    By Colin Haley

    01

    "See you down there, f***er!" writes Ole Lied – a gigantic, hard-drinking, Norwegian party animal. He dresses in dark Scandinavian leather, stuffs his mouth with snus (little tea-bags of chewing tobacco, quite popular in northern Europe), and every now and then works himself into a berserker rage, attacking big, steep mountains, and returning home with beautiful routes as his trophies (such as "Venas Azules" on Torre Egger). Every November, I convene with Ole, some other Norwegian alpinists, and all the other Patagoniacs in El Chalten, Argentina, for another dose of pretty much the most technical, most fantastic, most intense and most fun alpine climbing on the planet – Patagonia's Chalten Massif.

    Editor's note: Colin wrote this piece just before leaving for El Chalten. He’s been down there three weeks now and already has a handful climbs under his belt. Visit patagonia.com/vidapatagonia to keep up with Colin, Mikey Schaefer, Kate Rutherford and more of our friends and ambassadors down in Patagonia. We’ll have live feeds to their Instagram accounts, tweets and blog posts throughout the season.      

    Why does Norway, a country with the population of Washington State, have such a big presence in Patagonian alpinism? Admittedly, the mountains of Patagonia are very difficult, the weather is often very foul, and they certainly have a large amount of dormant Viking badassness in their genes, but I think the real truth is where Ole and his countrymen are coming from.

    [Above: The Torres with Aguja Desmochada in the foreground. All photos by Colin Haley]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Patagonia Vertical, the book

    By Kelly Cordes

    Patagonia_Vertical_256

    Guidebooks come in all forms. The kind that I like the most are more than mere guidebooks; they have bits of history, interesting information and stunning photos. They inspire me. By necessity, they can only be written by a true expert. They don’t hold my hand, but they have the essential info, the things you need to know, while giving you the credit of assuming that – in the case of alpine climbing, anyway – you already possess a basic level of competence. Which, seems to me, is fair enough for an alpine climbing destination like the Chaltén Massif in southern Patagonia, Argentina.

    The massif is home to so many stories, so many legends, so much vision from such great climbers from around the globe; some from previous eras, some still active, some just getting started.

    One of Patagonia’s greats is Rolando Garibotti, who grew up in Bariloche, Argentina. He first visited the Chaltén Massif in the mid-80s – back then, El Chaltén had a single house. Garibotti was 15 years old, and he and a friend climbed Aguja Guillaumet. His passion had been ignited, and it’s been burning ever since.

    [Above: One of the last pitches of Cerro Fitz Roy’s Supercanaleta. The summit can be seen in the upper left. Photo: Rolando Garibotti]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia - La Via Funhogs

    By Colin Haley

    01

    My good friend Dylan Johnson has managed to briefly escape his responsibilities as a new father and self-employed architect to come down to El Chalten for some alpine adventure. Since he is only here for a whopping two weeks, and since he arrived exactly at the end of the enormous, two-week weather window, he was understandably a bit stressed as to whether or not he would get to go alpine climbing while here. Given these circumstances, we have been watching the weather forecasts like hawks, looking for every possible opportunity to do something in the mountains. Last week we hiked into the mountains to try something off the Glaciar Fitz Roy Norte, but with very high winds when the 3am alarm went off, it ended up being just another hike with heavy packs.

    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

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    After looking at the weather forecasts on Friday morning we wrote off alpine climbing for the weekend, and figured we'd go bouldering in the afternoon. However, while eating our pre-bouldering empanadas, we watched the skies getting clearer, and rationalized that perhaps the weather forecast was good enough for alpine climbing after all. So, it wasn't until 3pm that we made plans to try Fitz Roy the next day, and not until 6:30pm that we finally started hiking towards Laguna de los Tres. We reached our bivy at Laguna de los Tres at dusk, and lay down for a few hours of sleep.

    [Above: Colin harnessing up at the bergschrund below La Brecha de los Italianos, with an awesome sunrise over Lago Viedma. Photo: Dylan Johnson]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – What We Carry

    By Kelly Cordes

    Kelly_1

    I don’t know how Brittany does it. Or, if she’s being honest – and I think she is – how she enjoys it. I look at the scattered pile of junk in our El Chalten cabaña, and think back to her post. I’m suspicious. You’ve got to watch out for those wayward gypsy women, you know.

    I hate packing. It stresses me out. I think it through, write it down, rethink, this shirt vs. that, these mountains vs. those, the conditions and ambitions, the projections of what we’ll climb. And not climb. For this trip to Argentine Patagonia, I had a goal: be ready ahead of time. Like chilled-out, not stressed, spend time with the lil’ woman (a.k.a. special lady friend, SLF) – that sort of ready – and enjoy the week before leaving. Check.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

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    The climbing gear entails minor tweaking, but important tweaking. If you’re without a crucial piece of gear, it can mean no send. Equally important, though: You have to enjoy your non-climbing life. It’s essential for sending psyche. No psyche, no ruta, no cumbre.

    [Above: Pre-trip packing hurricane, from casa de Cordes. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Mate, Porro, y Todo con mi Dama

    By Colin Haley

    11_Colin

    My girlfriend, Sarah Hart, is joining me for some of this season in Chalten, and arrived on the same day that Jon took off. We had a week of bouldering in relatively stormy weather, and then yet another weather window descended upon Chalten - this time an extended one. Although Sarah's only two previous ascents in the Chalten massif were Aguja Innominata and Cerro Solo, we decided that we had to try to profit from such a long weather window, and headed to the biggest objective we had planned to try together: the Goretta Pillar of Fitz Roy.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

    Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Tumblr  Pinterest_logo


    We decided to try the route, "Mate, Porro, y Todo lo Demas," which was climbed to the top of the Goretta Pillar in 2008 by Rolando Garibotti and Bean Bowers, and finished to the summit in 2011 by Matjaz Dusic and Lovro Vrsnik. Since then it has had a handful of subsequent ascents. Sarah, gracious and generous as always, agreed to a plan to let me do all the leading. Although our rock climbing abilities are very similar, we figured that all my experience climbing in the range would make us climb a bit faster with this strategy. Additionally, since I have already climbed Fitz Roy via the Goretta Pillar two times before, trying to lead everything myself would make it still an exciting challenge for myself. However, to make the experience still enjoyable and exciting for Sarah, we opted not to take jumars, which undoubtably is a less efficient strategy, and more challenge yet!

    [Above: High quality rock climbing. Photo: Sarah Hart]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Season Goals

    By Kelly Cordes

    Scariot - guillaumet_-1000637.jpg

    I came here with one goal. A New Year’s goal, despite my avowed no-resolution resolution of a year ago: Don’t un-send the Torre.

    My prolific spray about the single climb I’d done in Patagonia, a link-up on Cerro Torre with Colin Haley in 2007, might lend the illusion that I’ve climbed a lot here. Nope. I’ve just been meaning to climb a lot here. Anyway, now I’m here and I ain’t touching the Torre because a guy like me needs to protect those memories, not undo them.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

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     So Craig Scariot (formerly known as CFS) and I rolled into town with a ton-minus-one of possible objectives. We promptly ran into my good friends Chris and Justin. They’re animals, motivated, and had returned a few hours earlier from climbing Poincenot. Chris, aka The Chief, is one of my longest-running climbing partners, from back in the Missoula days (sordid story of me and The Chief here). Justin and I climb together back home in Estes Park, and he and his wife own Ed’s Cantina, my favorite local margarita eatery.

    [Above: Justin, The Chief, and Kelly at Piedra del Fraile. Photo: Crampon Craig Scariot]

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