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The southwest face of Aguja Desmochada, showing (1) El Condor (VI 5.11 A2, 15 pitches, Bridwell-Dunmire-Smith, 1988). (2) El Fac?n (V+ 5.12a A1, 16 pitches, Bowers-Bransby-Tresch, 2004). El Fac?n was the second ascent of the peak. [Photo] Rolando Garibotti

On February 5, Jvan Tresch (Switzerland), Ben Bransby (England) and I (Yankeelandia) hiked from the town of Chalten with three energy bars, five gel packets and two liters of water each, plus one ice axe for chopping steps. We proceeded up the Torre Valley and climbed easy, but loose, fifth-class terrain to a bivy below the southwest face of Fitz Roy. We had wanted to do a dihedral on the left side of this face, but upon closer inspection we found the dihedral would require some tedious aid and might not go at all. Thus we opted for the Slovak Route (ED, 2300m, Galfy-Oroli?n-Petri?k, 1983), which diagonals up the face from left to right until it joins the top of the California Route. Starting at 6 a.m. from our bivy, we simulclimbed and pitched out the 1400 or so meters at 5.10d, arriving on the summit by 7 p.m. We did the route in three blocks; each of us led our pitches free, while the followers jumared in awkward or hard spots, but also mainly free climbed. We descended the Franco-Argentine Route through the night, and after some hot cocoa in Rio Blanco continued on to town, from which we had departed forty-eight hours earlier.

On February 13, the three of us hiked up the Torre Glacier to the base of Aguja Desmochada, our sights set on a new free line to the right of the only route on the formation, El Condor (VI 5.11 A2, 15 pitches, Bridwell-Dunmire-Smith, 1988). Our line, which started on the southwest face in the obvious crack system on the right side of the lower slabs, went straight up the left side of the overhanging south prow until it turned onto the upper south face, where it joined the last two pitches of El Condor to the summit. We named the route El Facon (Knife of the Gaucho, V+ 5.12a A1, 16 pitches). We went very light, with one pack between the three of us, one bag of raisins and prunes, three gel packets each, and two liters of water total. The A1 is for three hangs on the gently overhanging five-inch crack of Pitch 10. The top pitch, led by Jvan, sported sixty feet of unprotected 5.10 offwidth. Buyer beware!

— Bean Bowers, Bozeman, Montana