„Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ on Fitz Roy

„Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ on Fitz Roy

„Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ on Fitz Roy

„Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ is an iconic and challenging climbing route on the west face of Fitz Roy, also known as Cerro Chaltén, located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field near the border between Argentina and Chile. This route is celebrated for its technical difficulty and the sheer audacity required to climb it. Below is a detailed description of the route, including its difficulty, the climbing sections, and the history of its establishment.

Overview and Significance

Fitz Roy: Fitz Roy stands at 3,405 meters (11,171 feet) and is one of the most recognizable peaks in Patagonia. It is known for its steep granite faces and severe weather conditions, which make any climb a formidable challenge.

Route Name: The name „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ translates to „Mate, Weed, and Everything Else,“ reflecting the laid-back yet intense spirit of the climbers who first ascended it. „Mate“ is a traditional South American tea, while „porro“ is slang for marijuana.

First Ascent: The route was first climbed by a team of Argentine climbers, Rolando Garibotti, Lucas Fiorini, and Alberto Maria de Agostini in February 2003. Their ascent pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible on Fitz Roy’s west face.

Route Description


The approach to Fitz Roy’s west face typically begins in the town of El Chaltén, a hub for climbers and trekkers. From El Chaltén, climbers trek through rugged Patagonian terrain to reach the base of Fitz Roy. This journey can take several days and involves navigating through dense forests, crossing rivers, and traversing glaciers.

Base Camp: Climbers often establish a base camp near the Laguna de los Tres, a glacial lake that provides a stunning view of Fitz Roy’s west face. This base camp serves as a staging area for acclimatization and final preparations before the climb.

Climbing Sections

The route „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ is known for its technical difficulty, requiring a mix of free climbing and aid climbing techniques. The climb is divided into several pitches, each presenting unique challenges.

Pitch 1-5: The Lower Slabs

  • Difficulty: 5.10 to 5.11
  • Description: The climb begins with a series of lower-angle slabs that gradually increase in difficulty. These pitches require careful route finding and solid slab climbing techniques.

Pitch 6-10: The Crack Systems

  • Difficulty: 5.11 to 5.12
  • Description: The middle section of the route involves climbing through a series of crack systems. These pitches are highly technical and demand proficiency in crack climbing. Climbers need to place protection skillfully due to the mixed nature of the rock.

Pitch 11-15: The Headwall

  • Difficulty: 5.12 to 5.13
  • Description: The crux of the climb is the headwall, a nearly vertical to overhanging section with thin cracks and small holds. This section tests climbers‘ endurance and technical abilities. The exposure is significant, adding psychological pressure.

Pitch 16-20: The Summit Ridge

  • Difficulty: 5.10 to 5.11
  • Description: The final pitches lead to the summit ridge. These pitches are less technical than the headwall but require careful navigation and steady climbing. The ridge offers spectacular views but is exposed to high winds and severe weather.

Summit and Descent

Summit: Reaching the summit of Fitz Roy via „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ is a significant achievement, offering climbers breathtaking panoramic views of the Patagonian landscape. The summit experience is often brief due to the rapidly changing weather.

Descent: The descent follows the Franco-Argentine route, a more straightforward path compared to the ascent. However, it still requires careful navigation and the ability to rappel safely. The descent can be complicated by weather conditions, and climbers must be prepared for sudden storms.

Early Exploration

Fitz Roy was first climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone. Since then, the mountain has become a beacon for climbers seeking to push the limits of alpine climbing. The west face, where „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ is located, was one of the last major faces of Fitz Roy to be conquered due to its technical difficulty and harsh conditions.

Establishment of the Route

In 2003, Rolando Garibotti, Lucas Fiorini, and Alberto Maria de Agostini set out to establish a new route on the west face. Their ascent took meticulous planning and execution. The team faced numerous challenges, including severe weather, difficult route finding, and technical climbing obstacles.

Route Naming: The name „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ reflects the climbers‘ personalities and their approach to climbing—combining seriousness with a sense of humor and an appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. The climb was as much about the journey and camaraderie as it was about reaching the summit.

Climbing Conditions: Patagonia is notorious for its unpredictable weather, with strong winds, heavy snowfall, and rapid temperature changes. These conditions make climbing on Fitz Roy particularly challenging. The 2003 ascent was no exception, with the team having to wait out storms and climb during brief windows of good weather.

Technical Difficulty and Challenges

Technical Grade: The overall grade of the route is approximately 5.13, making it one of the more challenging routes on Fitz Roy. The combination of difficult crack systems, thin face climbing, and exposed ridges requires a high level of technical skill.

Physical and Mental Demands: The route is not only physically demanding but also mentally taxing. Climbers must be prepared to deal with long days on the wall, limited opportunities for rest, and the psychological strain of climbing in such an exposed and remote environment.

Gear and Preparation: Climbers need to be well-equipped with technical climbing gear, including cams, nuts, ice axes, crampons, and a robust rack for mixed climbing. Proper acclimatization and physical conditioning are essential for success.

Modern Ascents and Legacy

Repetitions: Since its first ascent, „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ has seen few repetitions. The route remains a significant objective for elite climbers seeking to challenge themselves on one of the most formidable faces of Fitz Roy.

Legacy: The route has cemented its place in the history of Patagonian climbing. It stands as a testament to the skill and determination of the climbers who first ascended it and continues to inspire those who aspire to push the limits of what is possible in alpine climbing.

„Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ on Fitz Roy is a route that epitomizes the challenges and rewards of high-level alpine climbing. Its technical difficulty, combined with the harsh Patagonian weather, makes it a true test of a climber’s abilities. The history of the route, marked by the bold ascent of Garibotti, Fiorini, and de Agostini, adds to its allure and mystique. For climbers who seek to push the boundaries and test themselves against one of the toughest climbs in the world, „Mate, Porro y Todo lo Demás“ remains a pinnacle of achievement.