Cordón Colmillo, Punta Arisca
Chile, Northern Patagonia, Aysén Region
At the beginning of January 2015, a group of 16 students, NOLS instructors Anne Peick, Christian Steidle, Martin Arteaga, and I organized an expedition to the El Engaño Valley, which includes the Cordón Colmillo. To our knowledge this range (northeast of San Valentín) had seen very little exploration (mainly by past NOLS groups).
The summer season in Patagonia was great, but with this valley being so close to the Pacific Ocean it collects all the clouds in the area. We spent most of our 30-day expedition shuttling food up the mountains and trapped in our tents because of rain, snow, and wind.
In late January the weather finally gave us a break and we split in two groups. We climbed two peaks ascended by previous NOLS expeditions: Cerro Colmillo (1,896m) and Cerro Dedicado (1,800m) [see AAJ 2012]. The next day, using the weather window to our advantage, Anne Peick and I returned to Cerro Colmillo with the other group of students. Right after descending, students Zack Dameron and Matt Beehler and I headed for the rocky, unclimbed Punta Arisca (1,795m), northeast of Colmillo. It took us around two hours to reach the summit, after climbing terrain up to 5.5 and an exposed ridge.
Our descent was made my downclimbing and rappelling, and a few hours of glacier travel got us back to camp. The next few days were dedicated to exiting the mountains and crossing the large Rio Engaño. We celebrated our return in early February with an asado Patagónico, thankful for a good trip and with dreams of future projects in the area.
– Pedro Binfa, Chile