Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aguja Innominata (aka Aguja Rafael) Solo

After my Standhardt adventure with Jorge, I got in two days of rest in town before another mini-window appeared in the forecast, and I hiked back into the Torre Valley. I spent the night of Dec. 7 at the Polacos bivouac, and departed at 5:00 am the next morning for a solo attempt on the Anglo-American route on Aguja Innominata (aka Aguja Rafael).

This past summer in Squamish I dedicated some time to teaching myself how to rope-solo, and I went to Innominata in part to test these skills. However, all my rope-soloing in Squamish was on routes with bolted belays and 100% sound, clean rock. Due to the often flakey and loose rock on Innominata, I sometimes put 5 pieces of gear in to make belays that I felt were completely trustworthy of upwards and downwards loading.

I think that I rope-soloed approximately 50% of the terrain on the route, and free-soloed 50% of the terrain. However, I would estimate that I spent 90% of the time on the ascent rope-soloing, and only 10% of the time free-soloing. All in all, soloing Innominata took a lot more time and effort than I had expected!

Correction (Dec. 16):
In 2005 Jon Walsh fixed two ropes on a new route on Innominata (called "Comono"), and returned a few days later to complete the route to the summit by himself, making the first solo ascent of Aguja Innominata in the process. In 2007 Chilean climber Jimmy Mora soloed the Anglo-American route, making the second solo ascent of Innominata.

Morning light on the Torres from the Innominata-Poincenot approach gully:

Looking up at Aguja Innominata from the Innominata-Poincenot approach gully:

Rope-soloing a pitch on the lower ramp:

Jugging back up the last pitch to gain the west ridge:

Jugging back up one of the last pitches:

The view of Aguja St. Exupery from the summit of Innominata:

On the summit of Innominata, a lot later and more tired than I had expected!

The next morning, rain showers and morning sunlight mixed in the Torre Valley for some awesome lighting. The view of Cerro Solo from the Polacos bivouac:

And yet again, a Torre valley rainbow!