Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Rappelling off Cerro Principal
Lago Toncek and Refugio Frey behind

Completing the Clemenzo route (6a=5.10a) marked the end of our five day tutelage in the valley of Frey. We learned more about how to work together as an effective team. Pulling down on the granite is only part of the Journey. The friendships gained in the mountains are more important than the actual routes. After all, climbing is just another conduit for exploring inside oneself.
The difficulties encountered while climbing bring us out of our comfort zone and into character building mode. How we react to these challenges defines who we are. More importantly, what we learn from the experiences can be applied to the next, greater challenge. -Joel

Spires everywhere!!

The spires of the valley of Frey are formed by the erosion of a granite monolithe. Similar to the Bugaboos in Canada on a smaller scale, the surrounding rock is not granite. Not to be confused with Batholithe, which would be much larger intrusion.
Geologic time is now! We were reminded of this when an Argentine climber pulled a large block onto his belayer on the South Face of Torre Principal while we were on the East Face climbing Clemenzo. The Refugio caretakers associated with Club Andino de Bariloche conducted a commendable rescue. The climber was flown by helicopter to the hospital in Bariloche. The entire rescue took approx. 4 hours.

Looking across the Andes to Chile
Tronodor is the grande strato volcano! 3478m

This scene reminds me of the North Cascades of Washington. Tronodor has many of the same characteristics of the volcanoes we work and play on in the US.

Torre Principal Summit
The Biggest Spire Around...sick views!!!

La Vieja

Torre Principal Summit 2400m

Mini summit of Cerro M2

We climbed Del Diedro (5 plus, aprrox. 5.9 plus), a single pitch of finger locks and the occasional hand jam. Real ¨feel good¨ climbing. Once in a while it´s good for the psyche to climb something easy, especially in a new area. We found the crack grades to be close to the equivalent Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). However, it was hard to decipher just how runout the face climbing between, presumably hand drilled on lead bolts and pins, would be.

The weather in Bariloche Argentina has been amazing for the last week; we´ve been climbing in the Frey and soaking up the Sol! Frey is an awesome alpine zone with dozens of beautiful granite spires and very exciting climbing. Having not face climbed in a long time, the runout 6b (5.10) granite faces get your attention pretty quick! The rock is reminiscent of the City of Rocks ID, with lots of excellent cracks and golden patina...and every climb has a super summit! The climbing scene at Frey is very social, and we met people from all over the world; Brazil, France, Israel, US. There is a wonderful Refugio on the lake, a stone building with kitchen, dining room, and beds upstairs.
Bail! We got out just in time, today is rainy...we bought bus tickets to El Chalten, Southern Patagonia, leaving tomorrow night and traveling for 32 hours!!! We plan on staying there for 4-8 weeks waiting for the fickle Torre weather windows...wish us luck!!!
Hasta leugo amigos!


TKingsbury said...

NICE!!! Looks like you boys are having a blast!

Good luck with those weather windows, and be safe!


Tom & Pat, hanging at lunch

Unknown said...

Neil you're a baaaaad man! I'm heading to Bariloche in Jan. Any key travel tips would be much appreciated. What city did you fly into?

Joel Kauffman said...


We flew into Santiago de Chile (SCL). Once on the ground in Chile it´s nescisary to hire a minibus to take connect to the Cetro de Buses. From here it´s possible to purchase an international bus ticket to Mendoza, over the Andes, and then on to Bariloche. This route comprised of about 27 hours on busses. Another option is to fly into Buenos Aires, avoiding the 100USD airport tax in Santiago, and take a 20hr bus ride to Bariloche.
Once in Bariloche, ask a taxi driver to take you to La Bolsa Alberque (climbing youth hostel). From the hostel, walk one block down hill, and two blocks North to find the ticket window and bus stop for 5 de Mayo busses to Cerro Cathedral. Follow signs to Frey Refugio once at Cathedral (4hr hike). Rolo´s guide book is out of print, but are available at Club Andino de Bariloche.


Josh Gage said...

Che, Buena suerte hermanos! Sigue conquistando los cumbres y nalgas de argentina! Guardaremos hielo para que ustedes puedan subirlo.



Graham said...

Looks like you guys are having a real shitty time in the America of the South. Life's a bitch, eh? Happy and safe climbing fellas! Lovin' the blog!