South America, Chile, Northern Patagonia, Cochamo, Cerro Trinidad Central, Las Manos del Dia
Cerro Trinidad Central, Las Manos del Dia. In early January, 2012, with support from the AAC’s Mountaineering Fellowship Award, Chris Kalman and I set off for Valle Cochamo, determined to open a new route in the increasingly popular “Yosemite of South America.” After a couple of days searching, we noticed a beautiful, clean headwall leading to the summit of Trinidad Central in the Upper Trinidad Valley. With advice from valley resident Daniel Seeliger, we climbed the first pitch of the ArgenTrinidad, before splitting off and following a ramp system up right. Without bolts we climbed whatever protectable ground we could, eventually linking up with the Dutch Corner [550m, 13 pitches, 7c, Katharina Saurwein-Jorg Verhoeven, 2008] for a pitch and a half, before heading up corners that led to the diamond-shaped headwall. Once on the headwall we climbed a pitch of perfect thin hands to an amazing belay ledge. Above was a splitter wide crack, but without enough big gear, we bailed only two pitches shy of the summit.
We found an independent start for the route and began working on the first pitches, cleaning vegetation and installing bolts for protection and belay stations. Joined by Daniel a few days later, we pushed to the top, cleaning as we went and bolting the rappels as we descended. Daniel’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and work ethic proved invaluable, and after a few more work days, the route was ready for free-climbing.
On our first try we were defeated by weather, but on the second attempt it all came together, and Las Manos del Dia (455m,12 pitches, 5.11+) was complete. The route follows obvious systems leading to the striking headwall. The climbing is excellent and varied, featuring delicate slabs, burly corners, a wild flake pitch, and perfect crack climbing. Only two pitches are easier than 5.10, and most are 5.11. With some folks referring to it as one of the best in the valley, we couldn’t be more excited about the end result.
Grant Simmons, AAC