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.
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 I already suspected 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. Ahi va!