It has been a dangerous and deadly week on Fitz Roy in Patagonia, one of the most iconic peaks in all of South America. It is being widely reported that two Brazilian climbers have gone missing on the mountain, while a third mountaineer from the Czech Republic has perished as well.
The unnamed climbers from Brazil had set out to summit the 11,000-foot (3352 meter) Fitz Roy more than a week ago, but were expected to return home on January 20. They’ve now been overdue for a week and were last seen by an Italian team that was descending the mountain as the Brazilians were going up. That was on January 19, with no word or sign of the duo since then. On their Facebook page, the Italians remarked:
“We didn’t have much time because in the evening the wind would get up and the weather would get worse. We’re all in radio contact, on the glacier there’s a lot of snow and you can’t get up to the breca de los … It’s hard to see something after 3 days of incessant bad weather; the wall covered with snow and ice.”
That bad weather has hampered search and rescue operations, preventing SAR teams from searching the mountain as thoroughly as they’d like. According to Rock and Ice, the famous Russian/Polish mountaineer Denis Urubko assisted in those efforts, but so far there has been no sign of the missing climbers. It was known that Urubko would be climbing in Patagonia this year, rather than returning for a winter attempt on K2.
Meanwhile, a 37-year old Czech climber –– who also remains unnamed –– in another climbing group passed away on the mountain too. He reportedly died of hypothermia while descending the mountain. His climbing partner managed to safely get off the mountain and shared the news with the fallen alpinist’s friends and family.
Located on the border of Chile and Argentina, Fitz Roy is seen as one of the top rock climbing destinations on the planet. While not as high as the big Himalayan peaks, it is far more technical that many mountains twice its height. It is currently the summer climbing season there, but as always in Patagonia the weather can be fickle and dangerous just about any time of the year.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the lost climbers.
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