Weather wise the 2013/2014 season is not like the preceding few by most accounts. Few rock routes have been climbed due to short variable weather windows preceded by generally heavy snowfall. General mountaineering, mixed climbing and ice objectives have been going down but less so the rock routes.
As I eyed up the meteorgram I was optimistic enough to suggest rock climbing. Actual rock climbing with rock shoes and bare hands. Elemental contact with the Patagonian granite. A heady feeling comes over one in the days prior to a Patagonian Weather Window. Anything is possible.
I teamed up with Drew, an American down from Colorado who also had tired of axes, crampons and snowy faffing. We egged each other on and generally shot our mouths off across town. We were going to climb the Pillar Goretta on Fitzroy, Hell we were going to traverse Guillaumet and Mermoz to get there to save us having to walk through snow.
Inevitably after we had told everyone we knew the weather window deteriorated and a sheepish "morning after" feeling crept in. Had we really said the things we said? We walked in not to climb the Pillar Goretta but just "to have a look".
The walk of shame.
We walked past Piedra Negra. To maintain some dignity we were still aiming to bivy at the base of the Pillar Goretta to "see how it looked in the morning" and had accordingly only brought one sleeping bag with the 1.5 person Patagonian special modification. This simply consisted of a triangle of fabric to be zipped into the bag. Instant intimate comfort assured. Arriving in the early afternoon we were on time but the sight of the rime plastering the top third of Marmoz stopped us firmly in our tracks. This indicated that basically the entire pillar would be rimed up.
Reality was firmly kicking us in the face by now so we retreated to Piedra Negra and the tent Drew had stashed there. Here we pondered the ridiculousness of sharing a sleeping bag in the most accessible bivy spot in the mountain range. Lets just save ourselves blushes and spare the details. We both took turns at being big spoon and their was certainly not enough room for us to both lay on our backs at once!
Dawn saw us commit to climbing the Comesana-Fonrouge up the Northwest Ridge of Guillaumet. In an attempt to preserve some dignity we tacked on the Giordani "sit start" and we had an amazing climb. Sunshine, rockshoes, bare hands and actual climbing moves on amazing Patagonian granite. Due to our comparatively late start (to give the day time to warm up) we saw none of the hundred thousand people who climbed the ice and mixed routes on the east face that day topping out in solitude at 6 pm to a tempestuous sky and snow moving in.
Walking back down the glassier by moonlight with head torches not required was a privilege.