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[TR] Southern Hemisphere Sampler - A Mixed Bag Of Stuff 3/1/2015

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Trip: Southern Hemisphere Sampler - A Mixed Bag Of Stuff


Date: 3/1/2015


Trip Report:

A 7-week stretch away from work and climbing a somewhat random sampling of Southern Hemisphere’s crags. We started in the lush, rainy but beautiful Tasmania where the things we ticked were not large but very unique (sea stacks) and quite memorable (snakes). The upside of climbing in the “developed” parts of the world is that bits of nature are sometimes actually preserved. We then moved on to South America via a weeklong stopover at home which included a day of climbing in Joshua Tree. In Chile, we spent about 12 days in Cochamo Valley. On balance, we had a decent stretch of weather: a 3 days of sun, 2 days of rain pattern. Multiple days of sunshine are pretty essential there as the approaches are significant and the routes are long (& formations seep for a day after a good downpour). But a good day in Cochamo really bumps up the pitch count. We’d go back. From Chile, we bused over to Argentina’s Frey, home of mid-sized granite spire climbing. Funny how from afar things look like Shiprock at Smith but are actually composed of clean, solid, brown granite for the most part. Had excellent weather… on day one. This was then followed by 5 days of cold temps and high and sustained winds. The climbing was very good – even with numb hands and fingers: crisp cracks and friendly faces. However, we’d check out other places before heading back to Frey though.


Here's more: http://chossclimbers.com/collections/southern-hemisphere-sampler/


Some Pics:


Light is right! Shirley and our 202 lbs of gear waiting at the rental car counter in Hobart:



Welcome to Australia. Cute...



…and tasty:



Tasmania…if you're into sheep…book your tickets now:



Tasman NP - approach to The Moai stack:



One minute we're merrily hiking along an overgrown booth path...



…and then we run into some tiger snakes:



Same guy:



Anyway, back to The Moai:



Pitch 2 of Sacred Space:



Couple of pitches are required to get back to the trail:



Mount Wellington is a sub-urban crag - not big but we hit some alpine conditions on our first trip there. This here Battle Cruiser route:



Tasmanian Devil (in a sanctuary):



Brunny Island cragging (attempt):



A bit of bush diving down a gully on Brunny Island off the southern coast of Tassie…how about those tiger snakes...



One day, Shirley made me a ...






Fueled up by the Australian chocolate, went back for a sea stack. Candlestick is Totem Pole's big, awkward cousin (~110 meters):



Bigger but easier than the Tote (we know…we tried). You fix a rope, rap 60 meters into the "notch of doom" and then...



What makes The Stick special is its first pitch: a 10 meter long swim through some less than warm, surging water…why it nearly cost me a pair of undies…the whole rap in & swim through the freeeeezing water was pretty fucking intimidating to us:



Whoever draws the longer straw gets there in style (photo credit: Caroline Viner):



The book makes the Normal Route sound like some grassy 5.8 gully…imagine our surprise when we found vertical-to-gently-overhaning finger to fist cracks:



Shirley on pitch 1:



Got some OK views of the Totem Pole from up high. Allowed for some photos to be exchanged with the Tote team…maybe they got the short end of the stick photo-wise…anyway, here they are returning to the mainland via a nice tyrolean:



Summit of the Candlestick:



Then it was time for the ~45 meter tyrolean (of which ~15 meters come from the vertical contribution). Shirley went first comfortably lowered on a 2nd rope:



Shirley flying high over The Tote on the tyrolean (photo credit: Caroline Viner):




Then it was my turn & w/o a 3rd rope, I was looking at a pretty quick return to the mainland…had to get a bit McGyver and still nearly shit myself. Did I mention that it was windy?



On the traverse (again, thanks to Caroline for the photo):



After a rest day (mental recovery), drove up to Ben Lomond NP for some crack climbing. Stuff up to 200 meters tall though on day one we had shitty weather and stuck to a 2 pitch line.



Splitter, multi-pitch crack routes - pretty stellar:



By the time Shirley topped out (edge of Ben Lomond Plateau), winds were gusting up to 100km/h and it was drizzling sideways:



We also went to Freycinet NP - granite domes with multi pitch lines on them …many above the sea. Here's a wallaby hanging out in the TH parking lot:



Sleepy Bay in Freycinet NP:



RH Negative - a 4-pitch 5.9ish line:



Stud City route:



They grayish stuff is lichen…Shirley's foot is about to blow on the final traverse:



A Tassie porcupine:



A two-headed, albino wallaby at a petting farm:



Went back to Ben Lomong and climbed the 5-pitch Laendler (Australian 20 or 5.10+). Like Smith's Lower Gorge but 600+ feet tall:



Unknown party next door to us…look at those cracks:



More wildlife:



Went to Cape Raoul and climbed The Wedding Cake formation (on a ridge jutting out into the sea).



The "ridge":



Here's view from mid-way up pitch 2:



A spectacular place with a seal colony below:



On the way home, had a day-long layover in Sydney. Did the usual tourist things:



Had to be home for about a week but there was a work-related trip to SoCal & we squeezed in a day at J-Tree. Here's Shirley on Apparition:



And atop Scareway on Dos Equis Wall:



We then went to Chile, specifically Cochamo Valley. First stop was the tourist trap town of Puerto Varas:



Shirley starting the ~13km hike into Cochamo Valley. Don't let the pack fool you...



…most of our stuff got a ride on one of Fabian's horses:



You hike ~12km on a muddy trail through a dense forest...



…and then the vegetation opens up and your mind is blown:



Comfy (showers) camping on the valley floor:



Our first climb was something 20 minutes outside of the camp - a 2-pitch 10b called Apnea. I could've sworn we were in Squamish:



Except the river crossings were cooler:



Hiking up to Valley Trinidad (2+ hrs from base camp):



… with this goal in mind:



We had a big goal and so spent the evening in upper camp making sacrificial tabano offerings...



to a local lizard god:



Starting up the 20 pitch Bienvenidos a mi Insomnio:



Long pitches (950 meters in 20 pitches…) and many of them at or near our limit



Grooves and pretty hard granite faces:



Pitch 8 though seemed to be in a league of its own - a 35 meter traverse:



Both the leader and the 2nd get an equivalent experience:



Some nice climbing on pitch 10ish:



We reached bivy ledges on pitch 13 and though it was only 4:30ish, we were pretty fried and had some bivy gear with us. Anyway, the morning views were worth it:



A nice 10b tips crack on day 2:



We were pretty happy to be done and on the summit of Cerro Trinidad:



Back in our upper camp:



Later we also climbed an 8-pitch line called Camp Farm - mix of nice cracks and slabs:



Camp Farm:



The hike out involved some fun (fixed) tyrolean over a small river:



We were hoping to get a route in the Anfiteatro done before leaving:



But ended up getting hosed instead - nothing like a night of rain in the body bags…I mean bivy sacks:



Anyway, our 12 days came to an end. We hiked out and had a half day in Puerto Montt:



Yeah right kid:



Chile time was over & we took a bus over to Bariloche in Argentina. Miles more comfy than flying:



Bariloche and Frey from the bus:



Next day we took a ski lift and started a bouldery hike to Refugio Frey (alternative is a good trail but with all the elevation gain):



Pretty views...



Pretty flowers:



Next thing I know, my ~80lbs pack is driving my face into a boulder



We finally reached the place in 3 (??) hours:



That afternoon we climbed the Lost Fingers route (3 pitches, 6b) - here's some unknown climbers on the beautiful last pitch:



Leading the beautiful last pitch:



The weather turned cold and very windy for the next 5 days and so we shivered our way up some routes. Del Techo (5 pitches, 6a):



If it wasn't blowing, it was dusting:



Went back to Aguja Frey over the camp & climbed the very nice Sifuentes-Weber route with Monti Finish:



Torre Principal:



Chocolate Liquido on Torre Principal:



All routes converge with the Normal route for the spectacular final pitch to the summit of Torre Principal:



Shirley arriving on the summit:



The Refugio had decently cheap wine for sale - it helped with the hours of waiting out shitty weather:



On our final day, the weather finally became decent & we climbed the 7 pitch (6b+) Objetivo Luna route on El Cohete Lunar formation:



Spectacular pitch 1 flake:



Pitch 5:



Pitch 6:



Rapping off the nice summit:



Hiked out the following day & had a day to kill in Bariloche before our trip to Chile & then home:



Sights of Bariloche:



Tons of homeless dogs in both Bariloche & Puerto Montt…yet, no obvious dog shit in public spaces in either town…a mystery for sure.



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Thanks guys! As for planning, the three countries we visited all involve straightforward logistics (think western Europe-like). Other than airfares, everything else was done probably within a month of departure. For Australia, there’s no visa required. Tasmania is expensive – renting something where you can cook your own food is nice…long term camping would suck with the wet weather but of course is doable. East side of the island has reasonable weather; west side…in 3 weeks we never really got a window to try out some stuff there (& there’s plenty). Like US, rental car is essential. Free Tasmania climbing guidebook online. For Chile, no visa again. Declare all the food you’re bringing in incl. freeze dried (they seem paranoid & happy to fine you). The website run by Refugio Cochamo (cochamo.com) has all the logistics you’ll need outlined. Reserve a camp site, arrange a cab from Puerto Montt/Varas to TH, hire a horse to carry your stuff in etc... 10 day stay is probably minimum to get some climbing in – weather was pretty on/off. We bought bus tickets for the Puerto Montt-Bariloche connection in US – cheap, easy, comfortable. Don’t forget to prepay your “reciprocity fee” before entering Argentina. Bariloche to TH is a quick city bus ride. Camping in Frey near the Refugio is free but you pay for using their shared kitchen. You can also buy food & wine/beer from them & they don’t seem to run out. Renting a car for the S. America leg seemed pointless & looked like a pain in the ass if you’re crossing the border. That’s it I think – if you have something more specific, shoot me a note.

PS have not been to any of those countries before.


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Mike, think we met you a good decade ago in Smith – to this day we reminisce occasionally about that upstanding young gentleman who shared a big piece of his birthday cake (??) with us strangers at the base of red wall (I think) :)

PS thanks gents.


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Mike, think we met you a good decade ago in Smith – to this day we reminisce occasionally about that upstanding young gentleman who shared a big piece of his birthday cake (??) with us strangers at the base of red wall (I think) :)

PS thanks gents.


Oh yes that was me!

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