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Rock Climbing in Argentina

There is a vast amount of rock in Argentina, particularly in the west of the country which in many ways resembles the west of the United States of America. However to date only a few small areas near some of the larger towns such as Mendoza and Bariloche has been explored. Further south in Patagonia there is some climbing around Esquel and of course on the famous granite of Cerro Torre and Fitzroy. The potential for new routes is enormous.

 


  Mendoza Area

There are several good areas reported near Mendoza including Arenales near Tunuyan and some smaller climbs out at Potrerillos.

Mendoza

Mendoza

 


Bariloche Area

There are several very good areas near Bariloche in northern Patagonia. Described and pictured below are three of these, Valle Encantado, Catedral and Piedra Parada.

 A general view of Valle Encantado near Bariloche

The picture above is a general view of Valle Encantado, a really beautiful spot by the highway about one hour from Bariloche towards Neuquen. Lots of easily accessible climbs on the west bank of the river, many of them really near the road, and lots of less accessible climbing on the other side of the river (take a boat). Best time of year is probably late spring - October to December, but it really doesn't get too hot here in summer either and there is plenty of shade.

Located near the city of Bariloche, a well developed area. Rolando Garibotti has produced a great local guidebook, giving details of hundreds of sport routes on the walls and ascent routes for the many pinnacles. Best time of year is mid-summer, January and February.

Rock Climbing near Bariloche, Argentina

Campanile Esloveno (Left) and the highest peak of Catedral (Centre Right), Catedral Range, Argentina

Rock Climbing Index


Esquel Area

Located just two hours from the town of Esquel in northern Chubut (and four or five from Bariloche) is the very scenic climbing area of Piedra Parada.

Located just two hours from the town of Esquel in northern Chubut is the very scenic climbing area of Piedra Parada.

A general view of the Piedra Parada area in Chubut - the big pinnacle at the back is the Piedra Parada itself - an awesome chunk of rock nearly 250m high that overhangs on all sides. Easiest route up this is a 6b line around the crack on the northeast side, but in fact the climbing is not all that good.

Much better is the Canon de las Buitreras (seen in the foreground) a most impressive narrow canyon with good climbing in many areas, the majority of it single pitch sport routes but with some pretty big and adventurous stuff too.

This pinnacle has been climbed on aid, the free ascent will go at about 7a/7b

This 300m pinnacle  in the Canon de las Buitreras has been climbed on aid, the free ascent will go at about 7a/7b

Climbing in the Ca?n de las Buitreras

Climbing in the Canon de las Buitreras

Best time of year to climb here is spring (October and November) it can definitely get too hot in summer, though there is nearly always some climbing in the shade. Access to the Piedra is quite easy - its right by the road, access to the canyon is a bit more tricky - you have to get across the Rio Chubut first, it is possible in autumn to do this with a 4x4, but the rest of the year you'll need a boat!


Southern Argentine Patagonia

Big serious routes on hundreds of famous peaks, including Fitzroy, Cerro Torre, The Torres del Paine, Cuernos del Paine, Fortaleza and Escudo. There are no shortage of things to go for, but bad weather and iced up routes make this considerably more serious than  the cragging destinations described above.

Fitzroy at sunrise from above Chalten  

Fitzroy at sunrise from the east.

High on the compressor route on Cerro Torre

High on the compressor route on Cerro Torre - photograph courtesy of Pere Vilarasau, www.infinito-sur.com


Guidebooks

The following guidebooks are all reasonably easy to find (once you get to South America!!) and are reasonably accurate and useful.

Argentina

Guia de Escaladas - Cerro Catedralnbsp; (Spanish)   by Rolando Garibotti.

Cerro Otto - Guia de Escaladas (Spanish) 

 

Patagonia

Patagonien (German or Italian editions) by Gino Buscaini and Silvio Metzetlin

Cuadernos de Alpinismo - Chaltel (Spanish) Ed. Pyrenaica

 

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