Lionel Messi Inspires Two New Climbs in Patagonia

Two separate teams have opened spectacular new routes on Patagonian spires.

Last week, Matteo Della Bordella, Leo Gheza, and Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll succeeded on the East Face of Aguja Mermoz, in the Fitz Roy massif. On the same day, Facundo Saubidet, Jere Castana, and Santi Scavolini opened another new line on the Aguja Guillaumet, the tower right next to Mermoz.

“I couldn’t have dreamed of a better start for our Patagonian season,” Della Bordella wrote about the new 500m line, with difficulties up to 7b.

the climbers smile to the camera, helmets on.

Left to right: Villanueva O’Driscoll, Gheza, and Della Bordella on Aguja Mermoz, Jan. 10. Photo: Matteo Della Bordella/Facebook

 

While a complete report is yet to come, the team is hinting at some exciting details, such as the story behind this picture:

climber cutting a rope with a pocket knife.

Cutting damaged ropes on Aguja Mermoz. Photo: Mateo Della Bordella

 

“[That’s] Leo Gheza cutting one of our two ropes after a core shot on the second pitch due to rock fall,” Della Bordella wrote on Facebook.

O'Driscoll looking at the granite spires shinning in the sunrise light.

O’Driscoll at the first anchor at sunrise on Fitz Roy and Mermoz. Photo: Matteo Della Bordella

 

Facundo Saubidet also offered some details about their 400m Aguja Guillaumet climb.

“It’s a perfect crack line, including some sections for fingers, hands, and fists (but not a single meter of off-width) plus some steps on smooth slabs,” he noted.

climber at the bottom of a huge granite dihedral.

A dihedral section. Photo: Facundo Saubidet/Facebook

 

“We free-climbed up to 7b pitches and resorted to short sections of aid climbing in order to overcome a wet section, and another really hard section — so we didn’t free-climb it entirely,” Saubidet noted. They estimated that these sections could reach 8a when free-climbed.

climbers follow a beautiful crack line up the granite wall.

A perfect crack line. Photo: Facundo Saubidet

 

Check a short video below.

The Messi connection

Both teams chose the names of their new lines from a recent viral quote from soccer star Lionel Messi.

“Qué mirás, bobo? Andá p’allá!” (check the accents for a perfect Argentinian Spanish pronunciation) is what Messi snapped to a Dutch player after the quarter-finals in the World Cup. It means, “What are you looking at, stupid? Just go away!”

 

The match had ended up tied and had to be resolved by penalty kicks, finally won by Argentina. Throughout the game, there were some tense moments between Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi, and the Dutch player Weghorst, who scored the two goals that forced the tie and led to the penalty shootout.

After the game, Messi was answering a journalist’s questions when Weghorst approached to ask the Argentinian star for his jersey. Messi obviously decided that it was not the right moment (and possibly not the right guy) to interrupt his interview.

Surprisingly, given his usually calm temperament, he delivered the put-down. It immediately became viral in Argentina and gained even more popularity after Argentina won the World Cup.

On Instagram, Matteo Della Bordella leaves no room for doubt about the inspiration for the name of their new Patagonia route.

 

O’Driscoll and Della Bordella called the new line they opened on Marmoz, “Que miras, bobo,” while Saubidet and company christened theirs, “Anda p’alla”.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.