For Kate Rutherford and Madaleine Sorkin, a women’s place is on top. During the recent splitter weather in Patagonia, this dynamic team of American alpinists climbed Fitz Roy for the massif’s fourth all-female ascent on January 16. Climbing the route Mate, y Porro y Todo lo Demas on the North Pillar, Sorkin and Rutherford endured three nights on the wall during their ascent, which is also the first female ascent of Fitz Roy via the North Pillar.
“Mate, Porro y Toto lo Demas was a great choice for us,” Rutherford told Rock and Ice. “Great sculpted rock, nice cracks, and only a little ice in the chimneys.”
The route Mate, Porro y Toto lo Demas was first climbed to the top of the North Pillar by Rolando Garibotti and Bean Bowers in 2008. In 2011, Matjaz Dusic and Lovro Vrsnik finished the route, taking the line all the way to the summit of Fitz Roy.
Sorkin and Rutherford climbed behind fellow Americans Colin Haley and Sarah Hart, and decided to take the Gringos Perditos variation near the top of the route “to avoid rock fall and congestion.” The pair spent one night at the top of the eighth pitch, another on top of the Pillar, and a third night on a tiny ledge during their rappels down the Franko Argentine.
“The crux for me might have been the rappels,” says Rutherford. “I have had some horrible weather up there, and was scared to be there longer then we had to. I feel proud we pulled it all together.”
Although Sorkin has climbed around the world and made cutting edge trad ascents—such as the third ascent of the Hallucinogen Wall (5.13+) in Colorado's Black Canyon—summiting Fitz Roy was her first taste of Patagonian climbing.
“I've officially been hazed in Patagonia with the climb of a lifetime,” wrote Sorkin on Facebook.
Rutherford, however, has spent six seasons in Patagonia, and as of January 22—after climbing the Pilar Rojo on Cerro Mermoz with Sorkin and Lisa Bediant—she has reached all seven summits in the skyline of the Fitz Roy range.