climb: Valle Cochamó
Know Before You Go
This is not a beginner area. Extensive experience on multipitch trad routes is required. Most of the easiest multipitch routes start at 5.10c / 6b+ and from there go up, and range in length from 8 to 20+ pitches. There is no rescue nor medical services. Frey – near Bariloche – can be a good alternative for easier and shorter routes.
Thousand meter granite walls border the valley along the Cochamó River. Valle Cochamó’s rock provides route potential beyond the imagination. The area has already become a world class climbing destination. If you’re into mainly long routes, short routes, establishing new routes or just hanging in a gorgeous landscape, Valle Cochamó is one of South America’s best.
Many climbers familiar with Yosemite Valley have found Valle Cochamó to have many common features, as well as differences. Comparing the two may be sinful, but as you enter between the glacially-formed granite walls it’s difficutlt not to. Long bold lines make their way to the top. Cochamó, however, lacks some of Yosemite’s obvious aspects. Traffic, motors and generator noise don’t exist since there are no roads. Camping and the refugio often fill up in January and February so make a reservation at www.cochamo.com/reservations. If you will be sleeping in the upper valley’s, please see this post.
200 big-wall routes. Some of the popular classics are No Hay Hoyes (5.11a, 6 pitches), E.Z Does It (5.10d, 10 pitches), Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnio (5.11b, 20 pitches), Al Centro y Adentro (5.11+, 500 m), Las Manos del Dí (5.11+, 500 m), Todo Cambia (5.11+), Postive Affect (5.12b, 1000m) and Tigres del Norte (5.12d, 1200 m). Uh, and Presencia de mi Padre (5.10, 1500 m) may be one of the longes routes in South America. Ideally a double rack is best to get you up a majority of routes.
More than 100 cragging routes from 5.6 and up. This includes sport routes, mixed (bolts and gear) and all gear cracks. Many groups opt for easier days on cragging areas, which are popping up around the valley. These include sport, mixed and crack routes from 5.6 to 5.13. One paticular wall, Pared Seca, remains dry and climbable when it rains. If you come just to crag, bring a small rack. Just a few cams and nuts will enable you to select from many more routes.
Opening new routes
New routes are everywhere. Even many walls have not yet been touched. So many lines to open, life’s too short. The area has minimal development compared to its potential but when including its shorter routes too, more than 300 routes already exist. The rock quality is excellent. Nevertheless, unclimbed cracks tend to be dirty and vegetated in places.
Bouldering: Minimal bouldering exists. Opening new problems requires extensive cleaning.
For topos and descriptions of routes, go to www.cochamo.com/topos. More detailed route descriptions, photos and topos can be found at www.cochamo.com/routes. Physical copies of the topos are no longer kept in the camping or the refugio.
See the essential beta page for more detailed info for planning your Cochamó climbing trip.