American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cerro Kuralemu, El Camino del Puma

Argentina-Chile, Northern Patagonia, Parque Nacional Puyehue

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Juan Señoret
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

Through our constant pursuit of discovering overlooked places in our majestic backyard cordillera, Max Didier, my brother Diego Señoret, and I found a large granite wall in Chile’s Parque Nacional Puyehue (Puyehue means “stone forest”) on Google Earth. The landscape here is full of rivers, dense vegetation, and burned forest from the last time the Puyehue stratovolcano erupted. It looked like an adventure just to get there.

We set out on March 12, packing for a five-day, alpine-style trip. The hike was 56km in each direction. There were no signs of humans but plenty of puma tracks. I’ve lost count of the number of rivers we had to cross and the struggles we had in the dense forest. It’s just a nice memory now.

Our chosen wall rises from the north shore of Lago Gris, a few miles west of the border with Argentina. We brought one really tiny inflatable boat with us to reach it. With only an 80kg load capacity, we had to do two trips across the 3km lake, dangerously surpassing the raft’s capacity each time.

Once we had everything below the wall, we began climbing almost immediately (around 1 a.m. on March 14). Our line connected different crack systems before reaching the headwall, which had a few more demanding leads. The climbing was incredible. We reached the summit at 9:45 p.m. after a single 20-hour-push, climbing 15 pitches of high-quality granite.

It took approximately eight hours to descend back to our boat, which we reached at 4:20 a.m. We waited until dawn to paddle back across the lake. We called the wall Cerro Kuralemu (1,705m) and our route Camino del Puma (700m, 7a).

–­ Juan Señoret, Chile

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