American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Cajon de Arenales, El Cohete, Gracias por el Aguante

South America, Argentina, Central Andes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Crystal Davis-Robbins, AAC
  • Climb Year: 2009
  • Publication Year: 2010

El Cohete, known for its splitter cracks and the longest routes in Arenales, has a frequently climbed east face, but the other faces are practically unexplored. Its north face had no known routes until, after four days of vertical gardening and rock-tumbling in November, Ignacio Elorza, María-José Moisés, and I completed Gracias por el Aguante (600m, 7a+ (5.12-) [6b obligatory]). The route meanders up crack systems in the middle of the north face, beginning with a few ropelengths of easy climbing. Then one chooses between a 5.10 dihedral (recommended) and a slightly easier fist crack just to the left. A few more ropelengths of moderate climbing traverse leftward, to the base of a prominent dihedral that splits the face into two. We climbed the dihedral for 20m, then followed a thin crack that splits right and turns the corner for another 20m (5.10). A lot of weed pulling exposed a great 5.10+ finger crack that dies after 30m; the pitch ends with memorable slab moves out right to another system. Next comes the crux, a finger crack out a small roof, with a pocket of crystals that offer a salvation hold after the most difficult moves. Majo and Nacho dubbed the pitch El Techo de las Faldas (The Roof of Skirts), when, on the onsight attempt, I yelled out that I was wearing my skirt. Above are four more quality pitches, including El Paseo de los Cristales, where the wall has a sea of crystals embedded in the cracks. The last pitch is a strenuous, slightly overhanging fist crack in a red dihedral. As we were finishing the route with the last light, it started snowing—time to get our butts down. We drilled nine two-bolt anchors for 60m rappels (starting just right of the route and heading straight down; some of the rap anchors correspond with belays). Juan Tarrditti and I returned to add a really sweet three-pitch variation, El Cicatriz (The Scar), that branches left at a bolt on a ledge after the sixth pitch. It’s a slightly overhanging dihedral to a flaring roof, then splitter hands in a corner before regaining Gracias por el Aguante.

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