Type: Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 2000 ft (606 m), 15 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Don Whillans & Frank Cochrane, 1962
Page Views: 19,296 total · 113/month
Shared By: Flex on Oct 4, 2009
Admins: Mauricio Herrera Cuadra

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The Whillans Route was the 1st ascent of Poincenot and the most popular route on the mountain. The route follows the line of least resistence and has 3 distinct sections; a snow ramp, a steep mixed step, and a long broken rock section.

Start with a ~30m horizontal traverse on steep snow from the bergshrund on the E. Face to gain the upward traversing snow ramp.

Once on the snow ramp, follow this for ~300m to it's end at the base of the mixed section. The ramp is ~60 degree snow/ice and can be protected with screws or rock gear on the upper wall. This section is perfect for simul-climbing.

The steep mixed section can be climbed in 1 or 2 pitches & has 3 obvious variations that all lead to the shoulder where the East and South faces meet. The original route is the right-most of the vars. and tackles a chimney capped by a roof and has some fun climbing past a few fixed pins, ~M4. The middle variation climbs steep rock on an indistinct buttress between the original route on the right and the ice gully on the left, 5.? A?.
The left variation climbs a short, steep ice gully accessed by a rock traverse, WI4?.

Once on the shoulder, traverse left towards the upper South face for ~60m. From here the route follows broken rock for ~300m to the summit. Route finding can be tricky but the general rule is the easiest line tends to go up and left. Most pitches tend to have some short, steep crack sections interspersed with some rubble scrambling. Depending on conditions some ice may be encountered as well. Close to the top, climb up to the right towards the summit. You will actually tunnel through the summit area and emerge on the North Face with an incredible view of FitzRoy. Scramble up to the right to the final belay below the summit blade. There are no anchors on the top so you must take turns on the top and downclimb to the last anchor (1st rap station).

Descent: Follow the fall line straight down from the 1st rappel for ~300m to the ledge system that leads back to the shoulder of the East and South faces. From here descend the route. Rock anchors are found on the rock wall above the snow ramp. The horizontal snow traverse must be reversed to get back to the bergshrund.


Approach the route from the high camp of Paso Superior below the east face of FitzRoy. Allow about an hour from Paso Superior to reach the bergshrund and the traverse to the snow ramp. The start of the route is obvious.


An Alpine rack with a single set of cams to #3 Camalot, a few short ice screws, a set of ice tools & crampons per person.

Fixed pieces are scattered along the route but beware of off-route junk.

The route is littered with rap anchors and gives birth to the term "tatagonia".