American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentina and Chile, Northern Patagonia, Cochamó, Cerro Capicua, Los Gorilas del Norte and Los Tigres del Norte

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 2009

Cochamó, Cerro Capicua, Los Gorilas del Norte and Los Tigres del Norte. Tom Holzhauser, Dominik Angehrn, my brother Michi, and I arrived without plans in Cochamó in early January 2009. After checking the area we decided on Cerro Capicua, which had only two routes, both A4. With a machete and lots of big wall gear we fought through the Chilean rain forest.

The first 500m of climbing went quickly (a vertical vegetation pitch and the rest 5.10), but hauling Big Mama 1 and 2 and the portaledge (120kg) slowed us big-time. Above the big halfway ledge the wall got steep. It took me all day to climb two pitches, aiding with our best friends the birdbeaks and a Hilti drill. The rock was not especially first-ascent friendly, with closed grassy cracks almost the whole way. The second pitch off the ledge was the breakthrough, though. It looked impossible, a blank slab with a closed crack, but it went free at 5.12d. Things carried on in the same style, birdbeak after birdbeak, keeping us at two pitches a day. Higher we had four pitches of steep, dirty, grassy offwiths (5.10 Al). We climbed to the top (Los Gorilas del Norte, 1,200m, 24 pitches, 5.12d A2), but none of us wanted to clean and free-climb the upper part of this route, so we checked out another finish to the right, where we had a great camp with a ledge.

After we climbed a really grassy crack 10m left of our ledge, while rappelling I found a killer line straight off the ledge. The first few meters were blank, and I almost gave up, but I bouldered-out a full body dyno to a crimp, 800m off the deck. Perfect. After a few more tricky pitches, which Michi led, we reached the summit again, this time all free. We named the route Los Tigres del Norte (1,200m, 24 pitches, 5.12d). The final three pitches follow Adios Michi Olzowy (Frieder-Schanderl-Tivadar, 2005) free at 5.12a (originally rated A2).

We spent 18 days on the wall, with a few rests, using 40 bolts and 10 smashed birdbeaks to get the first free ascent of the wall. After I left Dominik and Michi climbed Los Tigres del Norte in one push, speeding up the wall free in 11 hours and making the trip perfect.

Jvan Tresch, Switzerland

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