The Magnetic Pull of Patagonia’s Highest Peaks

Photographer, filmmaker and climber Mikey Schaefer’s life is centered around his next ascent, and his commitment to this pursuit has brought him to some of the most remote locations in the world.

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Photographer, filmmaker and climber Mikey Schaefer’s life and work is centered around his next ascent, and his commitment to this pursuit has brought him to some of the most remote locations in the world. One in particular, Mont Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Chile, has been his biggest source of exploration and inspiration.

Of the seven first ascents Schaefer has now accomplished in Patagonia, his first happened by accident. “It wasn’t even the plan when we left camp”, he said. This initial first ascent, however, sparked something internally. “It kinda dawned on me”, Schaefer said, “maybe I can do all of these.” Known for its extremely powerful and equally fickle weather patterns, Patagonia offered immediate challenges to this pursuit. “You go get your ass kicked once up there, your next trip you’ll be a little more hesitant”, he said. “And that’s how it should be; if you don’t get your ass kicked you don’t really know what it’s gonna be like.”

Schaefer notes that people often ask why he keeps returning to this place to climb, and he’s always left without a proper answer. “There’s something about the granite spirals of Patagonia”, he said. “It’s the aesthetic of them, it’s the elusiveness of the summits, it’s the history of the place.”

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