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Video: First Ascent in Patagonia

Fitz Roy footage takes video diary to a new level


“It’s cold and really fucking windy; I’m so nervous I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

These are Cheyne Lempe’s opening words in the film Viva Patagonia – First Ascent. The 6-minute video tells the story of Lempe and Scott Bennett’s fierce climb of perhaps the longest route in the Monte Fitz Roy region of Patagonia.

It was a climb that took four days and required 2,000 meters of vertical gain. To reach the top, the climbers completed the first alpine-style ascent of the Northwest Ridge and then linked up to the North Pillar of Fitz Roy.

Before and during the climb, Bennett and Lempe shot all the video. The film gives a good picture of the sometimes banal reality of expeditions. It captures the less epic days of coffee and bouldering with fellow climbers while the pair wait for Patagonia’s notoriously nasty and capricious weather to clear. It also shows the work that goes into a first ascent --  examining photos of the route and plotting potential lines. Once on the mountain, however, the filming becomes inspired, with clever angles, dramatic shadows and plenty of breathtaking views of jagged peaks and white-blue glaciers.

Lempe, who works for Beyond Adventure Productions, also produced and edited the film. At only 21-years-old, this self-proclaimed “transient climber” has some serious video skills.

To read more about the climb, check out these blog posts by Bennett and Lempe, and the Rock and Ice article about the ascent.

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