CLIMBING IN CHILE ???
The Cordillera of Chile is 4500km long.
It would be rather strange if there were just some drafty granite peaks at the
southern end and some 6000m high piles of volcanic ash at the northern end.
Well, that is probably all you knew about so far.
Modern alpine climbing
...has not a long tradition in Chile. There are interesting routes opened by
locals, however, most hard ascents have been realized by people from outside.
Curiously, Chilean climbers always tend to leave the country to ascent peaks
elsewhere. Well, simply said, there is a rather huge amount of things left to be
opened, sport climbs, ice waterfalls, couloirs, huge faces. For instance, some
granite peaks have just been discovered in recent years, such as Cochamó
and Espolones del Brujo,
reported about in international journals. The granite walls of Cordón
Granito are already waiting years for another visit.
Most things are done in sport and alpine sport climbing.
Cliffs like Torrecillas,
San Gabriel and
Zanzi offer climbs which are unique, beautiful and demanding. The distance
between bolts, which you will find only far from cracks, has not yet shrinked
down to French standards. Many belays have to be built by your own. The faces of
Punta Zanzi and around probably offer the largest potential for future
activities in this area. However, you will have to climb partly wide cracks and
loose rocks. We have discovered various cliffs up to 300m high, sandstone and
granite, without any route, and with excellent conditions to open the routes
from below. Nearly 150 routes have been opened by us from 2000 on. Really a
surprise was the discovery of the canyons in Socaire. The canyons have kilometres of rock,
incising 200m or more, and there seems to be more than just one canyon in the
area. Local climbers account for about 50 climbs, recently, 45 more have been
added by us (A.Zegers, E.Mondragón, M.Waldhoer).
Ice climbing all year round?
High altitude of about 3000m keeps them frozen in
Loca from June to September, moreover, higher up you will find ice
waterfalls all the year round, eg. Marmolejo and Volcán San José. Really giant
ice waterfalls are reported from Yeguas Heladas and Cerro Alto Los Leones. There
are much more, as we have seen in some places in mines, unfortunately in
restricted areas without access.
Alpine style faces and mixed climbs in the Central Andes
... are found mainly at peaks of moderate altitude, between 4000m and 5500m. The
rock is made up of sediments, good where sandstone and worst where gypsum
(volcanic rocks in most cases do not even form faces). Some peaks around Embalse
El Yeso unfortunately consist of gypsum, however, maybe presenting ultimate challenges to
our Russian colleagues (e.g. a direct route to
Aparejo). Acceptable quality is reported from the area of
Morado and around. There is much room left for new ascents, e.g. see
Arenas. However, the Central Andes never will be famous for their rock