American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chile, Región de los Lagos, Serrania Avalancha, Espiadimonis

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2012

Serrania Avalancha, Espiadimonis. 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, www.vidalsilvia.com

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