Way Down in Cochamó: big wall climbing in Chile's premiere big wall destination

Way Down in Cochamó: big wall climbing in Chile’s premiere big wall destination

Overview: Cochamo Valley is the premiere granite big wall climbing venue in Chile. Cochamo boasts beautiful bullet proof granite, continuous crack systems, heavenly views, and miles of unclimbed big walls. Many call Cochamo the Yosemite of South America, however this fails to capture the beauty of the untouched beauty and lack of human traffic.

Season: December through March is the high season due to “dry” weather compared to the rest of the year.

Time needed: 2 weeks is the suggested minimum amount of time due to the possibility of rain, and remoteness of the climbs, however one could easily spend an entire season (2-3 months) climbing classics, and putting up new routes.

Gear: Climbers will want to bring at least a double rack from #0-4, and two sixty meter ropes. #00’s and #5’s are used on many climbs. Offset nuts, micronuts and offset cams are very useful on flaring Cochamo cracks.

Level of Adventure: HIGH!

rhane-in-cochamo

Rhane Pfiefer high up on Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnia

Cochamo routes are generally committing, isolated, wilderness experiences that are craved by some, and terrifying to others. Daniel Seeliger (the biggest advocate for development in Cochamo Valley), has fostered an ethic of generally safe and reasonable bolting where no protection is available. That said, Self-rescue is an absolute must, as climbers often will be the only party on the wall, or the entire valley. There are currently no rescue services available, nor cell service.

cochamo-no-hay-hoyes

Lee Neale climbing the third pitch of No Hay Hoyes

Getting There:

To Puerto Montt

By Plane: LATAM Airlines offers affordable flights ($100-$200) from Santiago Airport (Arturo Merino Benitez) to Puerto Montt (Tepual) Airport that leave throughout the day (almost every hour).

By Bus: From the Santiago Bus Terminal (Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3850), take a south bound bus to the town of Puerto Montt. The trip typically takes between 10-12 hours, and leaves in the morning or evening. Tickets are usually between 15,000-30,000 pesos depending upon level of comfort chosen.

Check out current bus schedules from Santiago to Puerto Montt, here

From the Bariloche, Argentina Bus Terminal (12 de Octubre, San Carlos de Bariloche), take a 6 hour bus to Puerto Montt. You will pass through Chilean customs, which is very strict; make sure to eat/give away any organic matter!

From Puerto Montt to Cochamo town

By bus: From Puerto Montt there are four (less on Sundays and holidays) buses daily to the town of Cochamó or Cochamó-River bridge. The trip takes more than two hours. It’s important to know that buses will NOT stop in Puerto Varas if full leaving Puerto Montt’s terminal. This is especially common during the busy traveling season of January and February. It’s recommended, therefore, to take the bus starting in Puerto Montt. If you are planning to hire pack horses or save energy for the hike in, it’s recommended to get off in town and arrange a taxi to the trailhead. Otherwise get off at the Cochamó-River bridge and walk the gravel road heading up river for six kilometers (one hour plus walk) to the trailhead. ***Taken directly from Cochamo.com; check out this amazing resource for more info!

Pack horses: We strongly recommend Southern Trips based out of Cochamo town, for all packhorse needs. They typically charge 30,000 per horse, per day, (for riding or packing) which can carry up to 65 kilos. They treat their horses well, are kind people, and understand the needs of climbers.

From Trailhead to La Junta

The trail to La Junta takes about 4 hours at a medium pace, and passes through beautiful forest. The trail is well-marked and generally very muddy.

Around town (Food, and Accomodation):

Puerto Montt: Puerto Montt is a very large town with everything you need; large supermarkets, local markets,

Puerto Varas: This quaint town has loads of quaint hostels, microbreweries, restaurants, and a large grocery store. You can resupply everything you need here.

Cochamo: The Town of Cochamo has a couple of basic guesthouses and hostels, small restaurants, and small general stores. You can easily resupply at the General stores with all basic items; fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, mate, etc.

Resources:cochamo-traverse-pitch-on-homo-santa

Cochamo.com: The website for the La Junta Refugio and Campground. Contains loads of great info, and topos to
some of the classics.

Guidebook in the Refugio: Ask for the topo book upon arrival; all the classics and other not-so-classic routes are here.

Routes in the area:

Al Centro y Adentro 5.11c (1500 ft.) IV

No Hay Hoyes 5.11a (650 ft) III

Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnia 5.11a IV 20 pitches (3000 ft.) IV

Todo Cambia 5.11 b/c pg13 (1500 ft) IV

Photo Gallery:

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