American Climber Free Solos Fitz Roy in Patagonia

Move over Alex Honnold, there’s a new free soloist making headlines this week. American rock climber Jim Reynolds has garnered a lot of attention over the past few days as it was revealed that he made a free solo ascent of Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia. What’s more, he did it at solo and at an extremely quick pace.

The 3405-meter (11,171 ft.) Fitz Roy is considered one of the most iconic climbing destinations in the entire world, offering stunning views to go along with its challenging routes. One of the biggest hurdles for climbers to overcome is a difficult 1525-meter (5000 ft.) rock face that is massive in scope and scale. Reynolds took on the mountain along its Northwest Ridge, free soloing the climb both up and down. Perhaps most impressive is that he also did it in under 15.5 hours round trip.

While this was Reynold’s first trip to Patagonia, he isn’t a complete unknown amongst rock climbers. Back in 2017 he set a speed record for climbing The Nose in Yosemite, making that ascent with Brad Gobright. He’s spent the past three months exploring the climbing scene in southern Chile and Argentina however before making his epic ascent of the mountain. You can bet this expedition will definitely put him on the radar amongst rock climbers and alpinists alike, as the skill needed to free solo a mountain like Fitz Roy is impressive indeed.

Honnold received a lot of attention for his free solo climb of El Capitan, and rightfully so. But this ascent of Fitz Roy is even more impressive thanks in no small part to its grander scale and more demanding terrain. The route that Reynolds took to the top boasts a 5.10c rating, which is less difficult than Honnold’s climb up Free Rider, which carries a 5.13a rating. What makes this climb impressive however is its length, shifting terrain, higher altitude, and the longer amount of time requires to stay focused.

To learn more about this amazing feat, check out this story from National Geographic. It helps to put the entire climb in focus and to understand what Reynolds has accomplished here. It is pretty fantastic.

Kraig Becker