VIDEO: BD athlete Colin Haley wears a helmet camera during a solo ascent of Aguja Guillaumet in Patagonia
Black Diamond athlete Colin Haley is down in Patagonia again—this time for three months. (Now that's a surefire way to score at least one quality weather window!) While he's waiting for that primo 48-72 hour window to open up, he is making short solo jaunts up some of the peaks he has already climbed in the Fitzroy group. His latest speedy solo was up Aguja Guillaumet—notable this time because he wore a helmet cam to document the ascent with video. Below is the POV video and trip report Colin sent us; it's a unique glimpse into what the terrain and weather is like on a Patagonian peak.
Much of my time in Patagonia is spent waiting for a large weather
window to try a difficult objective, and I often let pass many
mediocre but nonetheless climbable days, which are suitable only for
smaller objectives. However, after festering for a while, and with no
properly good weather in sight that could be potentially compromised
by not being well rested, I figured I might as well head up to Aguja
Guillaumet with a mediocre forecast for Dec. 20th. I had already
climbed Guillaumet, one of the easiest summits in the range, three
times before, so to make it more challenging I opted to head out
alone. I chose to attempt the Amy Route because the first half is a
snow, ice and mixed gully, and there was no doubt in the forecast that
it would be far too cold to wear rock shoes.
Thus, I left El Chalten in a taxi to Rio Electrico early in the
morning, and started the approach up to Paso Guillaumet. After
spending a while at Paso Guillamet to eat, drink, and rack up, I
finally walked up the short bit of glacier to the bergschrund, and
started climbing around 10am. The bergshrund was gaping, and required
a bit of tricky climbing up some snow and ice plastered to the right
wall of the couloir. The couloir itself was easy, however, with a bit
of steep snow, easy ice and blocky mixed climbing.
From the notch at the top of the couloir, I took off crampons and
headed up the easy rock ridge above, occasionally taking off my gloves
for harder moves. The crux pitch is a short 5.9 dihedral, which with
rock shoes I would have been happy to free solo, but with boots and
gloves I decided here to use a rudimentary self-belay. Since I knew I
would be rappelling down the same route, I could leave several nuts
and cams on this pitch for my self-belay and retrieve them on the
descent. I re-donned crampons halfway up the last rock pitch because
a wide crack was iced up, and soon was walking up the summit snowfield.
I topped out at about noon, and made quick work of the descent—on
schedule for an afternoon return to El Chalten and a nice, relaxing
day in total... However, at the notch at the top of the couloir I
found an inexperienced climber, by himself, who was very confused as
to the whereabouts of his partner and did not have means to descend—
considering that he had with him only two carabiners, a belay device,
a single 50m rope but no hardware whatsoever. After a lot of
shenanigans looking for his missing partner, we rappelled the couloir
together and began the hike out. His missing partner was soon found,
and no harm done except that I ate dinner much later than I had planned!