Cochamó, Cerro Trinidad, La Orca
South America, Argentina, Northern Patagonia
Juan Tarditti and I arrived in Cochamo, Chile, mid-February 2010 after a long rainy season. The trails that approach the Refugio Cochamó in La Junta had become rivers; people and horses were engulfed in knee-deep mud. We arrived to stories of rain, rain, rain, yet blue overwhelmed the skies. First we climbed the classic Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnio, a 20-pitch route that meanders up the east face of Trinidad. We were so charmed by the endless white granite and technical climbing on Trinidad that we decided to give Trinidad another attempt, this time on the 500m south face.
La Orca starts with moderate climbing through a series of flakes and continues up a crack system with discontinuous dihedrals. A long horizontal ledge then traverses right for 30m (3rd class), to the giant dihedral. Several pitches head up the dihedral, ranging from fingers to offwidth. We freed everything on lead (up to 5.11) until the final 30m of the dihedral, which was a jungle. It’s a drainage pipe from the summit and had grown an inch-thick layer of black moss and a diversity of plants. We cleaned it, but the vegetation will probably return. At this point you reach a huge ledge, and 20m left the route finishes with a fun moderate dihedral that leads to 150m of 3rd class and the summit. Descend the standard way, with two rappels to a col and then walking.