Hannah Preston, a rock solid guide from Campbell River, BC and Michelle Kadatz from Keremeos, BC will be attempting the first Canadian all female ascent of the North Pillar of Mount Fitzroy. Their plan is to climb light and fast, and free climb the seemingly endless pitches of golden granite that makes Fitz’s North Pillar so renowned!
Hannah says “I'm very excited, most climbers can't look at those massive granite spires without feeling psyched. It's a mix of emotions for me though. I'd always heard about them when I was younger, but it wasn't until a friend passed away climbing down there that it really solidified for me I wanted to go. That was in 2012, since then Patagonia became a massive hurdle to get to and get passed. I'm going to say goodbye; to be in and experience the mountains that drew her to them and now hold her.”
Hannah and Michelle will make a strong team based on their combined skillsets, Hannah being based mostly in Squamish over the last decade climbs granite cracks with grace, power and unbelievable footwork. Michelle has been mostly based in the Canmore/Calgary area and specializes in ice and mixed climbing with such enthusiasm as to earn her the nickname “MK-47” amongst her friends.
They are supported by the Alpine Club of Canada’s Jen Higgins memorial fund, which promotes young women to follow their dreams in the mountains, and the MEC expedition fund. See photos from their expedition by following @hannahraepreston and @michellekadatz
Will Stanhope, also a rock solid guide from North Vancouver, BC and Chis Brazeau from Golden, BC will likewise be down in Patagonia to attempt climbs on the big spires. Their team is similar in that Will is a master of granite and Braz is the ice/mixed expert, between the two of them there isn’t much terrain that would stop them.
Having done multiple trips to the range Will says “It’s either really on down there and you can climb or if it’s not on then it’s really not on and you just can’t go.” We hope Patagonia will turn it on for their trip, and when asked about his plans Will smiles and shrugs and says “Cerro Torre, it feels like the right time”. The two hope to have the right conditions to attempt Cerro Torre which is surely one of the world’s most difficult mountains to climb. Please follow along @willstanhope and www.willstanhope.com
We wish both teams the very best for their safety and success, and should conditions be unfavorable for climbing we hope they enjoy the Argentine red wine, red meat, chocolate and salsa!