Jim Reynolds solos Fitz Roy
- Thursday 6th August 2020 at 1.14pm
April 2nd; 2019
American Jim Reynolds made an astonishing solo ascent of the Afanassieff (5.10c) route on Fitz Roy in late March.
Jim Reynolds (@chimney_jim) IG page on which he outlines his thoughts on his ascent.
Reynolds' ascent was not only achieved in the remarkable quick time of 15 and a half hours but he soloed up and then reversed soloed the route down to complete his ascent. Whilst the Afanassieff route isn’t especially difficult it’s a long and continuous route in a mountain environment so involves snow and ice as well as rock climbing. Reynolds carried limited gear (a short rope and other equipment) on his ascent but crucially he wasn’t able to use it having forgotten both his harness and abseiling device; something which he didn’t realise until well into the climb.
During his ascent Reynolds deviated from the normal route close to the summit to avoid the threat of falling ice blocks; his alternative route is said to be harder than the original. The descent however was even more problematic given that the lower slabs were not only wet but it darkness had fallen forcing Reynolds to down climb using light from his headtorch!
Patagonian expert, Rolando Garibotti, not surprisingly highly rates Reynolds' remarkable ascent saying “You could technically argue that this is the first free ascent of Fitz Roy.”
Previously Jim Reynolds hit the headlines with a speed ascent of El Cap in 2017 with Brad Gobright stopping the clock just under two hours and twenty minutes. Summertime sees Reynolds working on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team but this is Reynolds' first visit to Patagonia.
During his visit Reynolds has also completed a number of successful up and down solos of other Patagonia’s peaks; initially he soloed Chiara di Lune (5.11a) on Saint-Exupery and then the West Face (5.10c) on Rafael Juarez.
Reynolds' solo efforts in Patagonia this year follow in the footsteps of other American climbers such as Dean Potter who soloed Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy back in 2002. Potter however, abseiled down the route rather than free soloing down. Tom Caldwell and Alex Honnold also made the headlines in 2014 with their first ascent of the Fitz Roy Traverse.
The first ascent of the Afanassieff route was done in 1979 by Jean and Michel Afanassieff, Guy Abert and Jean Fabre.
For more info on this route and the climbing in the area click through here to go to the PataClimb website.
To read an in-depth account of Reynolds' ascent click throuh here to the National Geographic website.