Ondrej Húserka reports about Pain and Gain, anew climb on the East Face of Aguja Desmochada in Patagonia established on 27 and 28 January 2022 with Jozef Kristoffy.
Jozef Kristoffy and I established a new route – Pain and Gain( 7a+, C1, 570m) (27. – 28. 01. 2022) on the east face of Aguja Desmochada in the Fitz Roy massif. We spotted the line during our unsuccessful attempt of the Ragni Route on Poincenot in 2019, when the conditions and weather forced us to retreat just below the summit.
In the east face of Desmochada you have to be lucky with the warm weather, in order for the few cracks to be dry and free of ice since the wall receives the sun for only for 3 hours during the day.
A few days after our arrival at El Chalten we were lucky to get an amazing weather window – 4 days of perfect and sunny weather. It was the second big window this season and we didn´t hesitate a second.
We started from Niponino camp in the afternoon, and made a bivy almost directly at the start of the route. This “approach” (III, 700m) took us about 7 hours. Our bivy on the righthand side ofof the Poincenot couloir was well protected from the falling stones and ice.
We started climbing around 5.00 a.m. Despite conditions being far from being perfect we climbed 7 pitches up the small tower in the middle of the wall. From the tower we continued the steep climbing via a beautiful system of the thin cracks. This led us to the base of the 70m corner to the right side of the big couloir. The 11th pitch (7a, C1) was a bit harder and required aid, but with dry conditions it should go free at around 7c (2 sets of TCUs are recommended for a free ascent).
Before reaching the top of the pillar, we had to traverse to the right where we climbed a perfect hand crack. At the top of the pillar we had a cold bivy in down jackets and climbing shoes. We slept maybe one hour.
At dawn we climbed the last pitch, and shared the last 20 meters with the route Puerta Blanca. We didn’t stay on the summit for very long because of the icy wind and we quickly started rappeling down Circus Pets. On that same day we continued down to Niponino and returned to El Chalten.
Unfortunately our joy of completing the first ascent did not last for very long. On the descent to the Niponino, we heard about the accident on Cerro Torre. This tragedy hit the climbing community in El Chalten so hard. Corrado ‘Korra’ Pesce was one of the most inspiring alpinist of this generation. R.I.P. Korra.