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MAJOR NEW VARIATION ON FITZ ROY
Posted on: February 2, 2007
When Slovenians Tomaz Jakofcic and Grega Lacen started their way up a new route on the massive—and protected—north face of Fitz Roy on January 27, they were unable to see what might come later that night. The day dawned clear and calm, but unbeknownst to them a hidden bank of cloud was growing over the continental ice cap to the west. It would be carried east by the ensuing winds later that day.
The pair climbed 600 meters of new terrain, encountering cracks that were more and more ice-filled the higher they got. Finally, they decided to work their way onto the French Northwest (aka Afanasieff) Ridge (ED-: 5.9 A2, 1600m, Afanasieff-Afanasieff-Abert-Fabre, 1979) in search of easier climbing. They reached the Afanasief right at its crux, 10 pitches before it rambles to the summit, and just before the weather deteriorated.
Navigating in storm at night on very icy rock and in poor visibility, the two climbed through the next day, January 28th, before reaching the summit, which by then was enveloped in cloud, wind and snow. They descended in some of the worst wind of the season, down the Franco-Argentine route on the east side of the peak to the Piedras Blancas Glacier, which they then traversed to Paso Gillamet, and eventually down to their bivy, which they reached 72 hours after leaving.
They called their variation to the Affanasief Ridge "Los Ultimos Dias del Paraiso" (The Last Days of Paradise). It included 600 meters of new climbing with difficulties up to 6c and A2. The variation is dedicated to their friend Ozbej Povsod who died last year.