VALLE COCHAMO

Posted on: September 1, 2006


Located in northern Patagonia, near the Chilean city of Puerto Montt, the Cochamo Valley's warm weather and big walls have led to its frequent comparison to Yosemite. Jerzy "Jurek" Stefanski and I spent February in the area, establishing one new route and making ascents of two others.

Our trip began with two days of sport climbing on the Pared Seca wall, followed by attempts on the Brazilian Alendelaca (7b, 300m) on Trinidad Sur and on what we thought was a new route on the Gorilla Wall (we withdrew after reaching blank slabs at ca. 450m). On February 14-18 we transported our equipment to the Barrancas Pass. There, we bivied, and the next day descended without sleeping bags or cooking equipment through an almost vertical forest to a valley and the walls below. The 1000-meter east face of El Monsturo has one particular weakness: a corner that turns into a crack/chimney. We started up it at 2 p.m.; the beginning sections contained difficulties up to 7a (which we onsighted). After a cold and uncomfortable bivy, we climbed all the next day, including two pitches of 6b+ and 6c, plus 200 meters of a snow ridge, to reach the summit at sunset. We called our new route La Gran Raja ("The Great Crack": 7a, 1300m).

On February 24, accompanied by American Justin Griffin, we made an onsight ascent of Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnio (6c, 920m) on Trinidad Norte. Then on March 2, Jurek and I climbed El Pesto Viene, El Hombre Se Va (6c+ A1) on Trinidad Sur.

In this valley there are five 1000-meter walls and plenty of smaller ones, most of which are unclimbed. Although rain ended our expedition early, we noted great potential for more new routes.

—Boguslaw "Bodziu" Kowalski, Torun, Poland

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