Elevation: 1,476 ft
GPS: -42.652, -70.104 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 17,307 total · 258/month
Shared By: Mike A. Lewis on Dec 22, 2013 with improvements by Carlos Wright-Tkacz
Admins: Tony Yeary, Camster (Rhymes with Hamster), Mauricio Herrera Cuadra
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Intro: Piedra Parada "Standing Rock," is...Wow! This place is a mix of Smith Rock, Owens River Gorge, El Potrero Chico, and the canyons of Utah, minus the people. The Piedra Parada is a lovely rock feature, but not the true appeal to the area. There is a canyon within 10 minutes of walking from the campground that runs maybe a few miles long and has a number of fingers that branch off on each side. The canyon walls are probably 600ft+ at the highest. There are sport, trad, multi-pitch sport, and multi-pitch trad routes.

From my perspective, the gem of the area is the plethora of single-pitch sport climbing at a variety of grades from 5.7 to 5.14. This could change with more development - there is SO MUCH untapped potential here including many more multi-pitch sport climbs. There are multiple multi-pitch routes in the canyon, but many, many more single-pitch. I have heard mixed reviews about the multi-pitch routes due to rock quality.

The rock is Volcanic Tuff and looks a lot like Smith Rock. The climbing is on pockets, edges, jugs, small cracks, etc. Most of the climbing is slightly less than vertical, vertical, and gently overhanging. There are also a good number of overhanging and very overhanging routes from 5.10+ to 5.14.

Many single-pitch sport climbs are 60m rope-stretchers to get back to the ground. The cliff bases are generally flat. The first bolts are often only a few moves from the ground - sometimes ridiculously low.

Pros: 1)Incredibly beautiful camping beside a river, 2)Superb sport climbs, 3)Few people, 4)Flat approaches, 5)Quantity of routes, 6)Gorgeous!, 7)Mostly good rock, 8)Long climbing season.

Cons: 1)Remote location - difficult to get to, 2)Trad routes are not very good (subjective perspective), 3)Anchors are not well equipped with chains/rings, etc., 4)The most "local" climbing community is 2 hrs away, so upkeep of the bolts and routes could become a problem.

Gear: 60m rope (70m would be nice!), 16+ quickdraws, ground tarp for rope. For trad - doubles of cams from small TCUs to #3 Camelots and a set of stoppers. Bring some big cams if you want to climb some chossy wide cracks. For multi-pitch routes, bring 2 ropes for rappelling. There are some aid climbs - bring appropriate gear.

Service: Bring anchor equipment. Right now, there are single small quicklinks on many of the the anchors - this twists the rope when pulling. If everyone brings a few steel rap rings/quicklinks, it would make things more smooth.

Route Development: There is a lot of potential still in the main canyon, as well as other canyons. The current norm seems to be 1/2 expansion bolts with hangers - not sure how long, but I suggest installing long bolts due to the nature of the rock - Tuff. Glue-ins might be nice if possible.

Grades: Lots of moderate (5.9-5.10), advanced (5.11-5.12), some expert routes (5.13-5.14), and some beginner routes (5.7-8).

Guidebook: Yes, there is a guidebook, but at this time, it is no longer in print, unfortunately. There seems to be some kind of problem between Petzl and the printers (according to locals). But, you can have access to the book to take photos from two sources that I know of: Outdoor gear store owners in S.C. de Bariloche, and Mario, the owner of the campground. There are already more new routes than what is in the guidebook.

Season: I am going to guess that the season is similar to Smith Rock or the Bishop, CA area. It can be very hot at the climax of the summer (January), but shade can always be found. A nice breeze flows through the canyons and cools things off in the shade. The days are very long so climbing can be had in the morning and evening, siestas in the river during the hot part of the day. In the winter (July/August), I am going to guess that climbing can be done on sunny cliffs and there would be some days/weeks that would be just too cold due to storms rolling through. During the rest of the year, I will estimate that comfortable climbing can be found in shade or sun, depending on the day and time of day. This is a desert area so there are large variances in temperature during the day.

Caution: 1)Climbing on Piedra Parada (the 6-pitch stand alone rock feature) involves mixed climbing on heavily fractured rock that involves good route finding. Some of the routes are more solid than others. 2)Some bolts were placed in hollow rock. 3)Some anchor bolts are already a little loose. 4)This place is very remote - there is no emergency room within 2 hours of driving very fast. There is not cell coverage, and no local Search and Rescue team. Consider being more conservative than you might be at sport climbing areas in the U.S. or other more developed and crowded climbing areas around the world.

Getting There

Driving: From S.C. de Bariloche, drive south on HWY 40 through El Bolson and Leleque. Before getting to Esquel, take the exit east to Gualjaina (HWY 12, but unmarked by this number). Currently, this road turns to gravel for 1.5 hours. In Gualjaina, the road goes through town and there is a sign that tells you to take one turn but for the final set of turns there were no signs. You can ask anyone in town - they know where Piedra Parada is. The whole trip is anywhere from 5 to 7 hours depending on your speed and this does not include pit stops. Suggestion: stop in El Bolson for some lunch then ice cream at Juajua. There is a local crafts market in El Bolson Dec-Feb on Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun - perfect place to deck yourself out in the most original hippie gear.

Gas: There is no gas station in Gualjaina, but you can buy it from people at their homes if you ask around. It is best to fill up in El Bolson if driving from Bariloche. Esquel is a short drive (20 min) from the HWY 40/12 junction.

By Bus: From Esquel, there are two busses that run; one on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays, both at 9:40 am. It currently costs $94(AR). As such, you have to bus from Bariloche to Esquel on the day before, buy your ticket, and spend the night. There are lots of busses to Esquel, of various prices. It is worth searching around for the cheapest one. There is a hostel directly across the street from the bus terminal, where dorms are $100-150(AR). If that is full, there are signs for hostels heading right (facing away from the terminal) or you can head towards the town center to the left, where there is plenty of options and food.

Return: The bus stops on the main road at the t-junction that leads to Mario´s farm at 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and costs the same.

You can also hire a taxi to take you directly to Mario´s farm (the bus drops you off with about a 30-40 minute walk to get there)for $800-900(AR). What my partner and I did was head to the city information center in near the town center (walking from the terminal it is on the right about ten blocks down) and had the ladies there call us a taxi, they were incredibly sweet and helpful.


The camping is awesome.

As you drive past both Piedra Parada and Buitrera Canyon, a few hundred meters more and Mario's farm will be on the left. Go through the gates to his main gathering area. They speak no English. Bring everything you need - stoves, gas, food, toilet paper, etc.

There are tons of shady sights and the river is great for an afternoon dip. There is plenty of wood around for cooking fires (be VERY careful with making fires, the are is very dry and looks as though it has burned before)in case you dont have a stove or, like us, run out fuel. Mario has small metal grills you can use to build a small cocina. Also, if you forage around empty sites, you can find tables and tree-trunk stools to make your life a little more comfortable. BEWARE of the cows; they will eat your food and slober over everything in the process.

The camping costs $30(AR) per person per night (this may change during the high season, I do no know). Services include:

-outhouses with flush toilets
-showers with hot water from 6-10pm
-drinking water
-a pretty cool outdoor hang out area with tables and sinks and an indoor saloon for cold/windy nights

Mario also has some things available for sale, though these are subject to availability:
-climbing guide $200(AR) (you can also get this in Bariloche, inquire as to where at the club andino)
-eggs $24(AR) a dozen
-Beer $30-35(AR) large bottles
-wine, not sure how much these are, he was out by the time tried to buy some, but i think they are around $50(AR)
-cookies $20(AR)
-bread, on the weekends Mario´s lovely wife makes fresh bread. If you inquire ahead she will ask what type you want, blanco (white)or integral (whole). She also makes amazing tostas fritas, which are fried biscuits that are something like plain donuts. I can´t remember the exact prices, but they were very affordable. The bread was sold to us by the kilo and the fritas by the dozen. they were both around $20-30(AR)

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