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Patagonia/ South America this fall/ winter

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A friend and I just booked a trip to South America this November and will be starting in Patagonia/ El Chalten and travelling north through the next couple months. Im more of a climber than he is but am bringing gear to do both alpine/ sport routes although I dont have any specific bad-ass objectives in mind. Its mainly a travel experience but we plan to do as much biking, climbing, backpacking, dirtbagging as possible.

Im comfortable leading 5.9trad 5.10+ sport and have a fair bit alpine experience in the Cascades.

Mainly looking for advice from others who have been there both for climbing and general travelling information. Also looking for climbing partners too! My buddy is leaving Beginning of January so I plan to dirtbagging till money runs out but want to spend as much time climbing as possible!

Thanks for any advice. Cheers

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Option 1: Bariloche and the Frey Valley

If you are heading north and want to dirtbag you can't do much better than hike up to the Frey Valley outside of Bariloche and camp just uphill from Refugio Frey. It's a granite playground with a lake for swimming and dozens of spires with many routes rated 5c (5.9 YDS) and under. In particular Aguja Frey (immediately in front of the refugio)has a lot of easy routes including the classics Diedro de Jim and Sifuentes Weber, which are both rated under 5.9. Ruta Normal on the tallest spire, Torre Principal, is all low 5th class until the last pitch which is 5.10a and short and bolted and easy to hangdog if you aren't feeling it. With the exception of this one pitch on Torre Principal, I believe everything else in the valley is trad. All belay stations are bolted with rap rings. The rock is solid and grippy, the views are spectacular, the people hanging out at Refugio Frey (Bosco and Federico are the proprietors) are great. January is the busiest month. Lots of climbers and school kids on vacation from Buenos Aires are hanging out there. Jan is too hot to climb except in early AM and the evenings.


Refugio Frey info:


Online guidebook for Frey Valley:



If you go to Bariloche don't overlook the multi-pitch trad routes on Cerro Lopez, up above Bahia Lopez, about 25km west of town by bus. The approach is scrappy (choss and brush), but the granite gets better the higher you go. I had no partner for this so didn't do much more than drool. The Palatinos route is a fun scramble up the north ridge of Cerro Lopez. Here's the online guidebook for the immediate Bariloche area:



Cerro Tronador is a good objective if you want a moderate snow and ice climb. I didn't climb it for lack of a partner, but I think other than traversing a glacier and placing an ice screw or two for the final mixed scramble to the summit it is a fairly easy technical climb.


Both guidebooks are available in hardcopy form at Club Andino in Bariloche. You should go there first and get maps, ask questions, etc. If the tourist office has no one knowledgeable or if you are getting the tourist runaround go outside to the Club Andino office door on the street and knock on the door. There is usually someone more knowledgeable upstairs.


PM me for more details if you have questions.


Option 2: www.cochamo.com

I've never been here, but lots of people were talking about it...

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