Serrania Avalancha, Espiadimonis

Chile, Región de los Lagos
Author: Silvia Vidal. Climb Year: 2012. Publication Year: 2012.

Serrania Avalancha is a huge, east-facing, granite wall situated eight hours, through the Valdivian forest, west of the tiny village of Puerto Cardenas, at the northern end of Lago Yelcho. The approach requires a machete and a crossing of two wild rivers. I enlisted two Argentinian climbers to help with the haul bags, and we made two journeys, each of us carrying 25kg. The face rises from a lake, and to reach the base I used an inflatable dingy. I chose a line up the center, and after spending two weeks fixing 350m to my first camp, spent 32 days alone on the wall, from February 8 to March 10, 2012. After a vertical rise of 1,300m, the wall tips back, and I continued up 200m of snow and easy terrain (UIAA IV+) to the summit. I named the 1,500m route Espiadimonis (Dragonfly in Catalan, A4 6b).

Of the 32 days I spent 16 sitting out weather inside the portaledge. It rained a lot, which is normal for this area. At times the wall turned into a river, making it impossible to climb or rappel through certain sections. I frequently doubted whether I would reach the top or whether even descent would be possible. As usual I went with no means of communication, no radio, telephone, or means of obtaining weather forecasts.

Getting to the top was only half the adventure. I rappelled the route in three days, struggling with stuck ropes and twice having to cut them, despite trying my best to recover them. This counts as rubbish I have left behind, and I am not happy about it. I also came across garbage at the remains of an old fishermans hut by the lake. This area is little frequented, and these things matter to me.

I then spent a week, alone, ferrying the haul bags back to the village (five carries of 25kg). A river we had waded on the approach, with water up to our waists, was now impassable. I had to wait four days. Three consecutive days without rain brought the level down. During nearly two months alone in this region, climbing became less important than the overall experience.

– Sílvia Vidal, Catalonia,

Editor's note: The wall had been climbed once, in 2007, by Mariana Gallego, Martin "Fideo" Molina, and Luis Molina. Their route, Araucania (1,000m, 25 pitches, 6c A3), more or less follows the line of a rounded pillar on the left edge of the face. They climbed alpine style, with bivouacs at the top of pitch seven, pitch 16, and most likely one during the descent. They reached the top of the wall, but the late hour and snowfields discouraged them from continuing to the summit. Martin Molina had attempted the line with Matoko Erroz in 1999, climbing 15 pitches. The wall forms the flank of a ridge southwest of Cerro Cascadas.