From February 8–26, 2018, Rodrigo Lobo Villarroel (Bolivia) and I completed a trip to the Avellano Towers. We approached from Chile Chico up the Avellano Valley—this is the southeast approach, which is the more expensive but “inspiring” option. Starting with a one-day boat ride, we then acquired horse support from a man named Brulio for the final two days to base camp.
The Avellano Towers are a group of large granite spires, each fortified by its own glacier. Despite the excellent quality of the granite, and the fact that many of the spires have been climbed before, there remains much opportunity for new routes.
Rodrigo and I first climbed the east face of Avellano Tower by the previously established route Avellano pal Verano (360m, TD- 5.10, AAJ 2006). Next, we established a possible new route or variation up the central wall of “Cerro Square Face,” located just northeast from the main towers, which went at the grade of E4 6c+. (This route appears to be similar to the Last Gaucho (E5 6b), established one month prior in January 2018; see linked report.)
Our trip culminated in an epic, three-day, north-to-south link-up of all of the seven major summits via the Skyline Traverse. This was a hell of an adventure as we endeavored to stick to the real skyline at all times. We encountered pitches up to 5.11+ and soloed about 80 percent of the traverse.
We exited the area to the northeast, which is the “quick” option. This involved a 14km walk to a 4x4 we had arranged to meet. It’s approximately 39km total to the main road from the base camp.
– James Moneypenny, U.K.