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South America, Argentina and Chile, Central Andes, Chile, Cordon Granito, Overview

Cordon Granito, overview and various ascents. Cordon Granito is part of the Río Cipreses National Reserve, located in Chiles VI Region, about 100km south of Santiago and just north of the better-known Torres del Brujo Range. Before we visited the area I spoke with a few people, some of whom described remote and unexplored granite walls supposedly up to 900m.

The area was first explored in 1883, when German pioneer Paul Gussfeldt climbed several 3,000m peaks and even photographed the Agujas del Palomo. In 1959 Eduardo García, Pedro Durand, and Francisco Vivanco made the first ascent of one of the range’s most challenging peaks, Dr. Hernán Cruz (4,565m). Since then only a handful of teams have climbed in the area, the last to put up new routes visiting in 1993.

We left Santiago in January 2005, a team consisting of Basques Mikel Martiarena and David Segurado, German David Bruder, and Chileans Waldo Farías (from the 1993 expedition), Jose Edwards, and I. Given the remoteness of the range, we hauled gear and food to last for 30 days.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy to get to the walls. It took five long days to finally reach them. As we got closer, the walls got smaller, and we could not help but feel disappointed after such a long approach. Instead of 900m walls, we found mostly 200-300m walls, although longer routes exist in the Dr. Hernán Cruz area.

Our disappointment, however, didn’t keep us from putting up several new routes, including a 700m alpine line on Dr. Hernán Cruz’s west face, two on Sandra’s west face of about 300m, three

new routes, up to 500m, on an apparently unclimbed peak we dubbed “Punta María Ángeles”

(ca. 4,300m) and several shorter routes on a nearby crag. All the action took place above 4,000m.

After two weeks, part of the team left. David Segurado and I stayed, moving camp to the Agujas del Palomo, a magnificent chain of a dozen granite spires, up to 200m high, with steep west faces. There wasn’t a single climb reported from this area.

Our plan was to climb a spire a day for as long as our supplies lasted. In five days we climbed five spires. Overall, we put up more than 20 new routes in 21 days. All the routes were climbed ground-up in alpine style, without the use of a hammer and only leaving slings and jammed knots for rappels.

Cordon Granito is still a wild and remote range, and to date there is not a single piece of fixed pro. It is our responsibility to keep it like this, as a wild adventure-climbing destination for future generations to enjoy.

Jose Ignacio Morales, Chile