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Two Climbers Missing on Fitz Roy, One Dead

A pair of Brazilian climbers are currently missing on Fitz Roy in Patagonia and another, a Czech, perished while descending.

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Fitz Roy in Patagoina.

Two Brazilian mountaineers attempting to summit Mount Fitz Roy on the Chilean-Argentinian border are currently missing.The Brazilians were slated to return from the 11,000-foot peak on January 20, but never did. Search operations have been continually frustrated by inclement weather. A 37-year-old Czech climber, in an unrelated climbing party, also died of hypothermia while descending. His partner managed to make it down.

A group of Italian climbers, that share a Facebook page under the name Dai Che Nem, were the last to encounter the missing Brazilians. The Italians were descending as the Brazilian duo was heading up on January 19. The Italians also took part in the search operation, and reported on Facebook on January 22: “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.”

The legendary Russian alpinist Denis Urubko, who rescued Elisabeth Revol on Nanga Parbat earlier this year, also participated in the rescue attempts. At press time, the search had not resumed, and with multiple days of brutal weather, the outlook is grim. Nonetheless, Urubko, the Italians and others remain standing by in the nearby town of El Chaltén, ready to launch another rescue attempt should a weather window arise.

Fitz Roy is notorious for harsh, unpredictable weather and a highly technical cadre of routes. Many climbers have perished on the mountain over the years. In 2014, the prominent American climber Chad Kellogg was killed descending Fitz Roy, after a rappel rope jammed and attempts to free it caused a fatal rockfall.

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