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NEWS: Reverse Fitz Traverse Solo by Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll

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 UKC News 12 Feb 2021

Belgian climber and musician Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll has made the second ascent of the Fitzroy or 'Fitz' Traverse in Patagonia, Argentina, first climbed by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in 2014. Sean completed the line solo and in reverse. It consists of 5km of granite spires (5.11d C1 65 degrees, 5000m). 


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 Tom Last 12 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Blimey. 

 John2 12 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Do we know how long it took him yet?

In reply to UKC News:

Wow. Just wow.

In reply to UKC News:

Astounding. 

 Sean Kelly 12 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

In many ways more impressive than winter K2. Look forward to read the full account of this audacious achievement!

In reply to UKC News: the more you think about it, the more impossible it comes, rock gear, ice gear, sleeping gear, food, fuel, everything else, on your own in Patagonia, weather, route finding etc. Nothing but brilliant beyond belief. Well done, stay safe, keep that tune in your head!

 Pete Graham 14 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Got to be one of the most impressive feats of solo alpinism every! It took Sean 6 days and he self belayed and hauled all but the easier pitches. Anyone who has ever self belayed and hauled a big route will know how the physical effort is more than doubled when compared to climbing with a partner. You have to effectively climb every pitch twice and carry/haul more weight per person. It took Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell 5 days to climb the Fitz Traverse moving together for most of the climb. The fact that Sean managed to do it solo, self belaying and hauling in 6 days completely blows my mind. It would have been cutting edge/ world class if it was done with a partner, but doing it solo is probably doubles the physical effort and phycological commitment required. The thought of being alone on top of Fitz Roy several days in with a disintegrating rope sends shivers down my spine.

 Rick Graham 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Pete Graham:

Nicely put, son.

Would just comment that the physical effort  and phycological commitment level is arguably far more than double solo compared to being in a team.

The full details will no doubt be revealed but my guess is that Sean  VoD would have free soloed some sections, back looped and hauled some sections. Only Z climbed the very hardest pitches. Otherwise he would have taken an implausible ,with patagonian weather windows , 12 to 15 days compared to the original traverse mostly simuclimbed.

Amazing.

Post edited at 10:55
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Would just comment that the physical effort  and phycological commitment level is arguably far more than double solo compared to being in a team.

> The full details will no doubt be revealed but my guess is that Sean  VoD would have free soloed some sections, back looped and hauled some sections. Only Z climbed the very hardest pitches. Otherwise he would have taken an implausible ,with patagonian weather windows , 12 to 15 days compared to the original traverse mostly simuclimbed.

Caldwell and Honnold's traverse seemed to me of great historical significance because they were applying speed climbing techniques developed in Yosemite, hitherto used to do stuff faster just for the sake of doing it faster, to achieve something which would otherwise have probably been logistically impossible. So, if the reverse traverse is of comparable difficulty, SVoD has either pushed free soloing to almost unimaginable levels of boldness or been unbelievably efficient in his roped soloing (or a combination of the two). Or maybe Caldwell and Honnold are actually slackers. Or maybe I am missing something. The whole thing is quite astonishing.

 Tom Last 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

There's a bit about his tactics etc on Patagonia Vertical here:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLQZZGHjqIc/?igshid=eovarh1dpctf

 Only a Crag 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Honnold and Calwell made a meal of out of it, Sean performed a one hour tin whistle set on top of Fitz Roy, that's the new benchmark in composure. All those years Caldwell spent faffing about on Dawn Wall, I wonder how long SVoD  might take. 

 Fergal 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Conditions make a huge difference, it's very dry there just now, the previous ascent was made in a season with lots of storms, they encountered a lot of rime and icy cracks didn't they.

 Rick Graham 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Fergal:

> Conditions make a huge difference, it's very dry there just now, the previous ascent was made in a season with lots of storms, they encountered a lot of rime and icy cracks didn't they.

As an observer, at the moment sat in my armchair, I wonder if some hot shots are contemplating the possibility of a two man traverse in ideal conditions.

3 days? 

 Pete Graham 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Fergal:

I climbed the north pillar on Fitz Roy in the same window Alex and Tommy climbed the traverse. The headwall above the pillar was very wet/icy and I know it slowed them down, but the rest of the routes was responsibly dry. Rock climbing conditions are always better on the north faces, so it's hard to know whether it was less icy for Sean in general. To compare the Franco Argentine was completely caked in verglass after 5 days of good weather when we descended it.

 bensilvestre 15 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Just really struggling to wrap my head around this. What an absolutely incredible effort. Hats off to the man. 

In reply to UKC News:

Full interview here. Apparently he chose the direction just because it was new. To me the most amazing thing is that he bothered taking a toothbrush and toilet paper.

https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/interview-sean-villanueva-odriscoll-on-the-solo-first-ascent-of-the-moonwalk-i-e-the-reverse-fitz-traverse/?cn-reloaded=1

In reply to Robert Durran: Priorities!

 TechnoJim 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

That's a great interview, he seems like an absolute dude.

In reply to TechnoJim:

> That's a great interview, he seems like an absolute dude.

One has to wonder how much of it is "British" style understatement!

In reply to Robert Durran:

Surely a real musician would have taken a guitar... 

 MischaHY 17 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

I'm actually a little perplexed because in his whole kit list he doesn't include a single belay device. 


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