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/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Cochamó: Multipitch Madness in Chilean Patagonia

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UKC Articles - on 03 Aug 2018
Gritstone-esque arêtes anyone?, 3 kbIt has been dubbed the Yosemite of South America, and for good reason! Situated in the Andes on the Chilean side of Patagonia, the clover-shaped valley of Cochamó is a plethora of grey granite domes amidst a lush green jungle landscape. The valley has a similar feel to the Yosemite Valley without the noise of cars and bustle of tourists – so imagine Yosemite before the roads were built and you have Cochamó. The area has seen increased traffic from climbers in the last few years, but climbing has been going on here for at least the last 20 years...

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benmorr - on 03 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I noted these lines:

"Cochamó new routing is a slow and dirty business but incredibly satisfying. Climbers realised early on that the crack lines on the walls weren't always what they seemed; often they'd be closed, flared and impossible to protect. In fact, the easiest way to identify a good open crack was through the lines of vegetation seen running down the wall – vegetation can only grow where a gap exists for water to run down and soil to collect. So to get into these cracks, you need to dig away at the vegetation and remove it first before climbing."

And later on there is some recognition of the wonderful vegetation in the valley. I wonder if we could hear about the plants being removed - are they common or rare? Do the cracks full of vegetation form part of special cliff based ecosystems. 

Are there so many of these vegetation filled cracks that cleaning a few for climbers won't make a difference or is it possible that we'll look back in 20 years and wish we'd taken a different approach? 

We rightly get upset when there are threats to the landscapes we enjoy climbing in - perhaps we need to encourage environmental impact assessments when promoting new routing, especially in less visited parts of the world.

1
Ramon Marin - on 03 Aug 2018
In reply to benmorr

Just like Scotland, Fairhead, Squamish, North Wales and the Lakes then... if you don't clear vegetation you don't climb. I suppose by just going climbing there's an undeniable impact. 

https://www.patagonia.com/blog/2010/11/down-and-dirty-with-sonnie-trotter/

Frank the Husky - on 04 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

A very detailed article, good to see it getting some mainstream coverage. The "When to go" section implies that you get 15hrs of daylight and good climbing weather every day throughout December - March. The reality is that in general you get 2 days of rain in every 5 days, which is a useful thing to know.


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