A Big Wall Ski Descent in Patagonia

On September 21, Vivian Bruchez, Aurelien Lardy, and Jules Socie skied a big wall on 3,002m Aguja Poincenot in Patagonia. The Whillans-Cochrane route (5.5/E5/300m) had been skied once previously, by Andreas Fransson, who described the ski descent as the steepest and most exposed line of his life.

Bruchez skiing in the middle section of "Whillans-Cochrane".

Bruchez skiing the middle section of Whillans-Cochrane. Photo: Vivian Bruchez


Bruchez wrote on social media that he agreed with the difficulty: “I have the same opinion [as Fransson], 11 years after his death I can confirm that I have never skied something as difficult as this line.”

“It’s a wall that, from a distance, the ramp looks wide. But in reality, at its narrowest part, it measures 1m and 80cm wide, suspended with 1,000m of space under the skis. I honestly didn’t measure the slope because I was getting scared, but I think it was 60°,” Bruchez added.

The following day, the team made a second ski descent. This line was less exposed and they named it Mini-Whillans (5.3/E4/300m).

The two lines on Aguja Poincenot, skied by Bruchez, Lardy and Socie.

The two lines on Aguja Poincenot, skied by Bruchez, Lardy, and Socie. Photo: Vivian Bruchez

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.