El Chaltén / Cochamó / Frey

The previous summer while climbing on northern Spain’s multipitch limestone with rope partner “Samu”el Ortega and teaming up in Chamonix with Silvestre “Silver” Barrientos, I got to listen to some stories of Patagonia, from which the most probable moment of exposure was, when enduring two consecutive – colder than usual for the Alps – summer bivouacs, they let me know that they had never had such conditions in the mountains around El Chaltén and, that, the granite there was as good and better. Surprised by what I had just heard, availabilities for the end of the year were almost immediately discussed, as well as projects and more about the last seasons’ accounts – with increasing activity, better weather and forecasts. My conceptions of climbing in the far South latitudes started to change and, the fair rock and temperatures climber in me begun conceiving a go on some of the walls that occupied a space of fascination in my mind. Motivated by the challenges ahead, September marked the beginning of a training regime methodically progressing (as never before) until the moment of departure. Tales of long and tiring approaches, non-stop climbs and epic descents, brought disciplined running and slowly building up climbing hours, volume and intensity to the goals. Here’s a selection of some moments from late December, January and February (50 days) travelling and climbing in Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia.

El Chalten_Fitz&Torre group_Clouds

El Chaltén_Escalada

Sampling the routes and views around El Chaltén. Giovanni Zaccaria stretching arms after having made the most of a short and cold christmas window up Supercanaleta.

El Chaltén_Cerro Solo

Southern beeches (Nothofagus) along the Fitz Roy river valley.

El Chalten_Laguna Torre

Laguna Torre.

El Chalten_Rua

El Chalten_Gato Negro

Very good boulders in the outskirts of town to keep the psyche going.

El Chalten_Aprox_Paso Marconi

Trekking to get to know the range.

El Chaltén_Laguna Pollone

Laguna Pollone and Cerro Chaltén (3359m a.k.a. FitzRoy) playing hide and seek.

El Chaltén_Pista

The usual walking (or hitchhiking) on the dirt road back to El Chaltén.

Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno

El Chalten_Piedras Negras

Morning time at Piedras Negras after an interesting night approach and tent pitching under the snow and gusts… Neither a window nor conditions for rockclimbing!

El Chalten_Supermercado

El Chalten_Skyline FitzRoy

Río Blanco and Co. Chaltén skyline.

El Chalten_Reconhecimento Paso Superior

Recognition day to Paso Superior: Samu, Hélène and Marc.

El Chalten_Laguna de los tres

Early evening at Laguna De Los Tres.

El Chalten_Adriu_Boulder

El Chalten_Casa_Paco_Silver

Paco and Silver resigned at home.

After a few weeks of the above illustrated routines, checking the weather charts at least twice a day, the locked low pressure situation was getting way too obvious to be avoided. Strong winds, cold temperatures and snow plastered faces were conjuring for impossible climbing conditions, with no windows bigger than twelve hours and non-suited for the rock. It was very curious to observe in-loco how social media polarizes things nowadays. So, when local authority Rolando Garibotti stated and posted the above atmospheric conspiracy (“Maybe it was time for the place to recover its status of mythic inaccessibility”) and Colin Haley moved out of town; all of a sudden, it seemed everyone’s forecasting literacy (beyond meteograms) came to light, and epiphany, the time has come to move on!

I resumed to accept things in the way I already suspected they were likely to happen, enjoying the way and lessons travelling to and from these objectives. Road to the north towards Chile’s beautifull Cochamó valley and a visit to a friend in Bariloche to get to know Frey and its quality climbing. Aí va!

Ruta 40_Pneu furado

Just one hour after our departure from El Chaltén.

Ruta 40

Ruta 40.

Puerto Montt_Pernoita

The glamorous climbing life; one must love it. Overnight in Puerto Montt.

Cochamo_Chegada

Cochamo_Gardens of Galaxy_Paco

Cochamo_Gardens of Galaxy_Marc

Cochamo_Trinidad_Anfiteatro

Cerro Trinidad and Anfiteatro.

Cochamo_Sinal_caminho

Cochamo_Anfiteatro_Al centro y adentro

Cochamo_Anfiteatro_Cerro Capicua

Cochamo_Anfiteatro

Cochamo_Pincheiro

Hélène arriving with her pilchero (Ariel).

Cochamo_tobogan_dia

Cochamó’s tobogan.

Puerto Montt_Bandeira

Puerto Montt_Janelas

Puerto Montt_Restaurante

Tasting ceviche and sopaipillas at Puerto Montt.

Bariloche_Arranjo mota

Streets of Argentina.

Bariloche_Pared Blanca_Corsário Negro

Pared Blanca, Bariloche.

Bariloche_Pared Blanca_Turma

Local crew at the crag.

Frey_Plantas e bosque

On the way up to Frey.

Frey_Janela_Refúgio

Frey_Arquitectura

Frey architecture.

Frey_Rockmasters 2017 wall_Hormi

Cleaning, opening and rehearsing new routes on Frey RockMasters 2017 wall. Hormi on duty.

Frey_Mati

Local powerhouse and cool climbing mate: Mati Korten.

Frey_Diedro

Cerro Tronador

Cerro Tronador from Catedral’s ridgeline.

Buenos Aires_Recoleta

Big city life, Buenos Aires.

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