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South America, Argentina and Chile, Northern Patagonia, Cochamó, Pared de Paz, Nueva Perspectiva and Joe's Pocket Monkey; Pared de Profetas, En la Senda de Gigantes

Cochamó, Pared de Paz, Nueva Perspectiva and Joe’s Pocket Monkey; Pared de Profetas, En la Senda de Gigantes. With the gracious support of a Mountain Fellowship Grant from the AAC, I organized a team—Benjamin Deering, Jonathon Estep, Chris Harkness, Tyler Overby, Jim Toman, and I—to venture into Chile’s Valle Cochamó. From early January through February, 2009, different combinations of us worked on about a dozen routes.

Before most of us arrived, Jim blazed a jungle trail far into the Valle de Paloma, an unexplored area with untouched granite walls east of La Junta and behind Cerro Capicua. Upon entering the Valle de Paloma we were immediately drawn to the largest, most prominent, and obvious wall on the east side of the valley. We eventually named the wall Pared de Paz (Wall of Peace). We called the right side of this wall Pared de Profetas (Wall of Prophets).

The first noteworthy ascent was En la Senda de Gigantes (On the Trail of Giants, 600m, IV 5.9R, Deering-Estep-Stember). This route involves some exciting slab climbing on the main part of Pared de Profetas, just to the left of a smooth, prominent water streak, and has a mountaineering feel to it, with a rewarding summit view. Next, in ground-up style up the center of Pared de Paz, Tyler and Chris established Nueva Perspectiva (500m, V 5.9 A2+) and escaped a near epic when bad weather moved in. The route involved aid climbing on seams and flares as well as fasting, since they anticipated a two-day ascent instead of three and a half. In addition to these routes, a primarily free route, Joe’s Pocket Monkey (500m, 5.11 A2+), went up 100m left of Nueva Perspectiva, on a striking system of cracks and corners. The route has amazing splitter finger and hand cracks, wild stemming, committing face climbing, and an exciting slab traverse. Ben and I established the first 400m and, after I left, Jim and Ben finished it.

While in Cochamó, we also established many excellent one- and two-pitch routes and found impressive bouldering throughout the valley. Establishing new routes in the untouched Valle de Paloma was the realization of over a year of planning, and years of learning to climb. The expedition team, trip sponsors, and the Seeliger family were all great to work with.

Sevve Stember, AAC