Blockbuster, a new route on West Face of Mojon Rojo

Luka Krajnc and Tadej Krišelj opened a new route in Patagonia

"Coming to Patagonia with big goals can be an unpredictable thing. The Patagonian weather kept to it’s reputation and so Tadej Krišelj and I found ourselves at the wrong place below the triangular snowfield on Cerro Torres E face surrounded by snowflakes and spindrift with the first signs of avalanches. Backing off was taken more as a lesson than a failure and a few hours later we were squeezing under a dripping boulder bivy surprised by the snowy outcome of the relatively good weather forecast. The next morning the sun welcomed us with it’s warmth which was perfect for drying the soaked equipment and regaining some climbing motivation. It became obvious to us that the good weather window hasn’t disappeared, it just came later than we expected. Walking back to Chalten in this weather would almost be a crime, so we took a rest day at Niponino and switched to backup plan mode in our heads. The pyramid shaped west face of Mojon Rojo looks steep but unappealing on first sight because of it’s red colored rock. But from any angle you look at it, you can’t fail to notice the obvious dihedral that runs through the center of the wall. I always wondered how come such an obvious line is still unclimbed. Now was the perfect time to figure that out and there was just enough unknown factors to make the whole thing a bit more interesting. The early start from Niponino was a bit chilly but the steep moraine warmed us up and after a few hours of approach we stood under a wall, both silently thinking that it’s steeper than we expected. The rock was not that bad by our standards and we were surprised how “blocky” it’s nature was. I never climbed a route with so many blocks stacked one atop of another. It was interesting that none of them actually moved as they were connected to the wall by some kind of a static formula that our brains don’t completely understand. The climbing itself proved quite serious which slowed us down a bit and the higher we got, the more obvious it became that following the obvious dihedral to the end won’t be a smart choice, as it’s steep wide cracks with less than perfect rock didn’t seem like they would allow a fast progress with skills and gear that we had. Following our instinct we found a great passage that took us towards easier terrain and into the amazing splitter headwall where we joined a route called El Zorro that Colin Haley and Sarah Hart climbed two years ago. We free climbed and aid section of their route which we shared for four pitches until reaching the top of the wall with the last rays of sun. After down climbing some easy terrain our rope got stuck on the only rappel of the day. Using the “let’s pull it a bit harder and see what happens” tactics released a block which managed to split the rope in half in a single hit. Feeling tired and dehydrated after a long day we didn’t seem to care too much since we knew we won’t need it further down on the descent. We made a classic mistake of thinking that the descent will be just a formality. Finding the right gully to descend to Laguna Sucia in dark was anything but that for the state of mind that we were in, so we decided for an unplanned bivy. A few hours of classic bivy routine (shivering and checking the clock every five minutes) followed. In the morning we descended the gully that now seemed easy and walked to Chalten for anr overdose of fresh bread topped with extensive amounts of dulce de leche. We decided to name our route Blockbuster by the nature of it’s rock. It is 700m long of which 550m are new. The difficulties never exceeded 6c and we climbed the whole route free and onsight, using mostly traditional gear and without leaving anything behind. It will probably never become a classic, but it may just be a right choice for climbers looking for something different and a bit more “spicy”." Luka Krajnc