New Route on Patagonia’s Cerro San Valentin

In five tough but glorious days last week, Spaniards Martin Elias, Oriol Baro, and Nicolas Tapia climbed Cerro San Valentin’s coveted north ridge.

At 4,058m, Cerro San Valentin (aka San Clemente) is the highest mountain in western Patagonia. It stands at the head of Chile’s Northern Patagonian Icefield. The glacier that covers Cerro San Valentin is the highest in the region.

a snowy Cerro San Valentin

Their route, ‘Arista Norte’, included difficult sections of ice and mixed climbing. Photo: Martin Elias


From Dec. 4-8, the trio worked their way up their Arista Norte (North Ridge) route (WI5, M5, 3,000m). They started a mere 47m above sea level and gained 4,000m of elevation during the climb.

Their approach took two days via the Grosse Glacier, accompanied by two others, who didn’t join the climb. Then Elias, Baro, and Tapia worked their way up the 1,000m-high west wall to reach the north ridge at 2,800m. There, the climbers bivouacked.

Toward the summit. Photo: Martin Elias


The next day, they climbed the upper part of the north ridge leading to the north summit. Then they continued on the main summit of Cerro San Valentin.

rappeling down

During the long rappel down, Baro injured his ankle. Photo: Martin Elias


The climbers had a long descent, rappelling down the same route. At one point, Baro fell and injured his ankle. The climbers then made another bivy before reaching the Grosse Glacier.

By then, Baro could not walk. A helicopter evacuated him while Elias and Tapia continued their descent.

“Complex logistics and many objective dangers [made] this ascent a very difficult challenge,” admitted Elias afterward.

the three climbers

Photo: Martin Elias

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.