This venue entertained us for several days, as a series a small (up to 60m high) white pinacles line the skyline of Cerro Otto, high above the town of Bariloche. Thankfully, you can drive to either the top or the bottom of the crag via a dirt track. Meaning that the approach was anything up to two minutes from the van. WHich is my kind of walk in. The area also had a sensible mix of trad and sport across the easy grade range.
The second day we went to this sport crag on the outskirts of Bariloche, just of teh Ruta 40, as you head south towards El Boson. There were some great routes, and for the first time in the trip we ran into other rock climbers!
Bariloche is so swiis it even had St Bernards, the place was deliberate built in the image of switzerland in the 1920’s, as a retreat for the argentinian elite to relax and enjoy the environment. As such it has a long tradition of recreation that now includes skiing, climbing, trekking, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and many other sports.
If you read the Lonely Planet or chat to people then the Ruta 40 is like the Route 66 of the US. ALthough I didn’t travel its length I did take in a vast portion of it. If ever asked what it was liek I say well it was good for the first hour, after the tenth it got a bit boring.
Don’t get me wrong the plateaux section across semi-dessert is amazing, as you really experience the curve of the earth, as the mountains sprout from the nowhere, and slowly grow and grow. However this experience does get a little old after a while, although it should also be noted that the road is generally straight, which when you have a van that struggles with going in a straight line, due to years of being hammer on dirt tracks, then the concentration require to go straight becomes exponentially more tiresome hour by hour.
There are some great roadsigns though!
The following took place a couple of weeks back, the story saved till I was safely out of Argentina!
“Don’t Mention the War!”, only as they left my month did I realise that I was turning into Basil Fawlty, although I took the sign above to indicate that they had started it, they did invade The Falklands after all, and they brought up the whole thing again with there sign. Facing chile as if giving the V sign to Chile. Something that I didn’t understand was the hate between these two nations split by a mountain range.
It appears that whilst Chile didn’t actually pull any punches, the UK used parts of Chile as a staging post. The anger still continues and on either side of the mountain border crossing we past through. In the first town below is a Battalion of soldiers, posed in something that resembled the cold war but on a patagonian rather than world level.
Argentina also ‘harboured’ Nazi after WWII, in fact I was told one of the top dogs was arrested on the high street of bariloche for war crimes. Another story tells of one of the Hitlers scientist, the really nasty one who experimented on humans escaped to argentina, and there is a town with somewhere in the region of 900% more than usual number of identical twins. Although much of this is the conspiracy thoerist wet daydreams, there is a book called the Nazi’s in Argentina, although only available in spainish.
That said across the border other than having a van with chilean plates, meaning many argentines hoot you or make strong jestures that don’t look encouraging. The actual locals I met face to face were extremely nice, friendly, approachable, helpful and everything I wasn’t expecting from a nation that outwardly seemed to not like the English, although I cheated and played the ‘Welsh’ Card (Sorry to all Gogs, I know I as unwelsh as an Englishman can get, but the welsh card worked for me!).
Well I am back in Chile and reconnected to my faithful macbook. Which means that I have downloaded the images from Argentina to my computer, there are thousands of them from the two week trip. So rather than put together one massive post, I might just add pictures by crag/day, and set the lot up to come out automatically over the next couple of days, finishing with the images of frey.
I warn you that you will soil your pants when you see this place and the rock climbing.
I also returned to find that Climber have added a review of How to Climb Harder from a reader to there webpage. If you want to visit then visit here. Thanks to Andy the editor and the reader who took the time to write the review.
Frey was awesome. I mean truly one of the best granite climbing venues in the world. Given that I have been to a few of them I really do mean this. Good rock, in a great place, and a Refugio with Ale on tap. Although we successfully drunk them out of beer, and red wine, and dare I say it, nearly white wine as well!!!
We only got three days climbing, due in part to the weather, which was still patagonian at times. With my guyd I climbed the classic Aguila Frey route Weber/??? and Dierdro Jim. As well as a classic Corner on M2.
We would have climbed more but for the wind. Also when I returned from M2 for dinnr, before climbing some more I was met by the horrific sight of a Child surrounded by some Mountain Rescue giving CPR. After an hour an a half an aircraft landed and whisked the child away. After that I really wasn´t in the mood for climbing. And neither was the most of my group.
Anyway, we are back in Bariloche, readying ourselves for teh epic journey back! I can´t wait to get the photos online they are epic from our trip to chile.
Well. My bags is packed, am I am ready to go to frey. ALthough I ssupect the hike in to be hell. As I have a rack and 7 days of food. Who cares though when the climbing is meant to be soooooo goooood!! Psyche out of my mind.
See you on the other side!
We have had a great coupleopf days climbing aroundbariloche, although the last couple have been windierand colderthan usual.Hopefullythe weather will pick up in a couple of days and thenwe can head up to Frey. Althoughit looks like itwill be very cold up there sowill have to tuckmy skirt in if I amto survive up there.
The computors space bar isknackered, and I can´t get my email on it either. So I will be brief. Asta Manayana