Parnell / Kirkpatrick Success

Patagonia a land with some of the worlds most beautiful granite spires but also home to some of its worst weather.Icy tempests and 100 mile an hour winds and thats just the summer!Who would consider going in the winter? Andy Kirkpatrick and Ian Parnell thats who.Heading out for the beginning of August the pair walked to base camp in storm conditions only to have their faith confirmed with a 5 day spell of cold but clear weather.During this brief window Kirkpatrick and Parnell made the second ascent and first winter ascent of Vol de Nuit, a 650m extreme mixed route on Mermoz, sister peak to Fitzroy. Vol de Nuit was first climbed by thin ice guru Andy Parkin, solo, an achievement that highly impressed Kirkpatrick and Parnell.The pair found lots of sustained mixed climbing up to Scottish VII, a couple of sections of A1, intermixed with almost bottomless vertical snow.One climbing highlight was a 70m thin ice goulotte 6 inches wide and with ice at times less than an inch thick that the pair were forced to simul climb part of.Kirkpatrick and Parnell spent 2 nights on the wall, with the second bivi a sleepless sloping bum scoop affair during which Kirkpatrick came close to hypothermia. For Kirkpatrick this was his 3rd route completed in the Patagonian winter and one he rates as “the most rewarding as we always thought there was more chance of failing than suceeding before we could reach the top”