Valle Cochamó Rock Climbing
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From user Daniel Seeliger:;
Visitors have labeled this Chilean valley the Yosemite of South America. Its similarities - surrounded by bigwalls, waterfalls and international climbing scene - also contribute to its unique differences - no roads thus no vehicles, no rangers, lush forest and a rainier (Squamish-like) climate.
This must-visit destination provides more than 200+ routes and potential beyond the imagination. Thousand meter granite walls border the valley along the Cochamó River. Atop the valley walls granite peaks and beautiful vistas stand everywhere, some with views to the Pacific Ocean, others into Argentina (Cerro Tronador, Aguja Principal - Frey).
Cochamó's climbing history started only recently in 1998. Its first three routes were established on Trinidad (Ides of March, Sundance, Welcome to the Jungle) in 1998. These routes were possible thanks to the dedicated efforts of British Crispin Waddy who had arrived the previous year and macheted for days through the thick bamboo to establish a trail to Trinidad's base, thus the genesis of climbing in Cochamó.
There are many committing traditional routes, big walls, and crags, even the overhanging mostly sport crag that stays dry during rainy days.
Overall the rock quality is excellent, and its texture can vary from wall to wall. If you want to open a new routes, it will likely need some degree of cleaning - some loads, others almost nil.
If you are heading to Valle Cochamó from Santiago (Chile) or Bariloche (Argentina), you must get to Puerto Montt. Some of the options to get there are below.
Air: There are a few flights a day from Santiago to Puerto Montt. The flight lasts two hours. From Bariloche, there is three flights a week and takes about 30 minutes. If you're coming from the south, there are direct flights from Punta Arenas (near Torres del Paine) and Coiyque.
Ferry: If you're arriving from the south, numerous ferrys go to Puerto Montt from Puerto Natales (near Torres del Paine), Puerto Aiysen and Chaiten.
Bus: Buses from Santiago leave in the afternoon or night and arrive early the next day. There are different classes of buses, some of which are quite confortable. Various Bariloche-Puerto Montt buses leave from early morning to early afternoon. There are no night buses.
Private vehicle. If you come in your own vehicle from the north, it's not necessary to drive all the way to Puerto Montt. From the Panamericana, Route 5, get off at the Puerto Varas exit. Get on the road along the coast heading southeast and eventually east - Highway 225. If you're coming from Bariloche, keep in mind that the border closes at 8 p.m. and opens 8 a.m. It's also possible to come from the south via the Carretera Austral but only January through February because of the ferry that connects Parque Pumalin and Horno Piren.
From Puerto Montt / Puerto Varas to Cochamó town and trailhead
Most travelers arrive from Puerto Varas, but it's also possible to take other gravel roads that arrive from the south - Puelo, Horno Piren, Parque Pumalín. Below are options for arriving from Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt.
Private vehicle: From Puerto Montt or coming from the north, go to Puerto Varas and get on the coastal road that heads southeast and turns into Highway 225 heading towards Ensenada and Volcán Osorno. After less than an hour you'll pass through Ensenada and the highway will turn heading south. A few kilometers out of Ensenada you'll arrive to a major junciton. Vere right and head in the direction Ralun-Cochamó. After half an hour, you'll arrive to Ralun and you'll cross the bridge spanning the Río Petrohue, where the turns to gravel. The gravel road narrows and borders the Estuary Relonquavi's coast for 30 kilometers until you reach the Cochamó town. This is the last place to buy supplies or arrange for pack horses. Continue past the town three kilometers. The road edges along first the estuary and then parallels the Cochamó River, entering the Cochamó Valley. Just before getting to the bridge that spans the Cocahamó River, turn left (norhteast) on a gravel road and continue eight kilometers to its end. You can park your car in the road or for $2,000 pesos a day, in the Camping Los Pozones.
Buses to Cochamó depart from bus terminal in Puerto Montt
Vía Lago Sur (65-971788) departs:
07:45, 12:00, 16:00
Buses Rio Puelo (65-544226) departs:
08:00, 14:30, 16:30
costs $2000 (Chilean pesos) and takes 2 hours
# public transportation: From Puerto Montt there are six buses daily to the town of Cochamó or Cochamó-River bridge. The trip takes more than two hours. It's important to know that buses will NOT stop in Puerto Varas if full leaving Puerto Montt's terminal. This is especially common during the busy traveling season of January and February. From the Cochamó-River bridge, the trailhead is located eight kilometers up river following a gravel road. If you are planning to hire pack horses or save energy for the hike in, it's recommended to get off in town and catcha a shuttle or taxi.
Cochamó town to trailhead
It's recommended to take a shuttle / taxi from Cochamó town to the trailhead. Fit hikers and those not in a hurry can get off the bus at the bridge three kilometers past town and hike the gravel road eight kilometers up to the trailhead. Otherwise tell the bus driver to drop you off in Pueblo Hundido - Cochamó.
Shuttles / taxis: There are many automobile owners willing to transport people to the trailhead, some of which include jumping into the back of a pickup.
The town is small enough to ask almost anyone where to catch a shuttle or taxi.
trailhead to the Refugio Cochamó (La Junta)
Click image to enlarge.
Click to enlarge image.
At the end of the road or trailhead, cross a small bridge and pass through a gate. From that point, hiking into the valley takes four to six hours. The trail is well marked and never crosses the Cochamó River. The hiking is relatively easy except for crossing through some trenches, pools and streams, which can become more difficult when or after it rains. Water proof hiking boots are highly recommended. Gaitors or rubber boots help significantly in wet conditions. Continue until you get to La Junta River, the center of activities and accomodation in the valley.
Check out cochamo.com for all the latest logistical information and great detailed maps of the area, such as a comprehensive set of topos.
Classic Climbing Routes at Valle Cochamó
Days w Precip