In November 2013, Christian Quezada, Ricardo Hernandez, Ulises Espinosa, and I (all members of the Grupo de Alta Montaña de los Perros Alpinos), traveled to the University and Cortaderal glaciers, which are located south of Santiago and comprise the second largest glacial zone in Chile; the Patagonian Ice Cap is the largest. The area is composed of more than seven independent glaciers, covering an area approximately 70km long and 5km wide.
Absurd access restrictions have been imposed by the private hydroelectric companies Pacific-Hydro, Hydro-Chile, and Maitenes, which make it very difficult to enter the area. Therefore, most of the mountains have had few ascents, and possibilities for opening new routes are high. The remoteness of the area only adds to the difficult logistics, and the slender, challenging mountains make the climbs a tremendous undertaking.
Due to the lack of legal foot access, we approached the area by helicopter. We spent approximately a month on the glacier, operating out of two base camps, the first on the University Glacier and the second on the Cortaderal Glacier. We climbed new routes on the following peaks (most summits had only two or three prior ascents and the vertical gain from the glacier to these summits ranges from approximately 700m to 1,500m): Pilar Meridional, west face (AD 5.7 65º); Nor-Este Torreón (secondary summit of Corona del Diablo), Goulotte West (D+ 5.8 60º–90º); Nevado Cisne, southeast ridge (AD 60º–70º); Pilar Occidental, Playboy Rabbit Goulotte (AD 5.7 55º–60º); Gran Torre del Cortaderal, (MD 5.9 55°); Nevado Penitentes, south ridge (AD 60º); Corona del Diablo (AD 5.8 70º). [Editor’s note: See Gastón San Roman’s report about the first ascents of some of these summits in AAJ 1965.]
Elvis Acevedo, Chile