Climbing in Cochamó Valley, Chile – The Yosemite of South America

~ By JonnyPublished February 3, 2016


There are many amazing climbing destinations across the globe, but few remain as untouched relative to their absolute scale and potential as Cochamó Valley in Chile. This location easily rivals the much more popular El Chalten and Torre del Paine locations, however, very limited development has been done in the two most accessible valleys (El Anfiteatro and Cerro Trinidad) in the area. This incredible valley is home to some of the largest and most accessible granite big walls on the planet, and yet has still seen little exploration or development to date.

Logistics

Cochamó Valley is most certainly a remote location, both in terms of local geography and globally. Getting there involves a fair bit of air travel with a few stops, a drive from the closest airport, and a minimum of 4 hours of hiking to access the walls themselves.

To access, it is recommended to fly to Puerto Montt via Santiago, then bus or rent a car to Cochamó. From here, you can drive or take a bus to the trailhead and begin the 13km hike to the campground far up the valley.

The trail itself is quite adventurous, including many bridges, stairs, and other features crossing the often wet and tricky terrain.

Once you arrive, the huge walls are relatively untouched, unexplored, and involve a great deal of difficult climbing – much in line with what you would find in Yosemite Valley, California.

The camping in this location is Pack in, Pack out, and requires bringing all your gear with you on your back. This makes the location much more in line with the Bugaboos in Canada than the drive-in accessibility of Yosemite.

You can hire Pack horses to help with travel, and this is likely a good idea given the slightly more involved access.

Climbing in Cochamó Valley

The climbing in Cochamó Valley is very serious, adventurous, and involves a fairly significant level of climbing ability to consider. You should be at least comfortable leading 5.11 granite on natural protection in an Alpine environment. There is currently very little development done in this area, and the majority of the beta is hand-drawn topos with some information on Mountain Project

The total known number of climbs is currently around 44, with the majority in the 5.10-5.11 range, and nearly 90% are clean trad (natural) protection with few bolts.

There are a few shorter introductory climbs, such as the classic Apnea (5.10b, 2 pitches), and many longer routes between 10-30 pitches, much in line with what you would find in Yosemite.



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