New Routes in Patagonia

Two new routes recently opened by local climbers on Cerro Redondo in Patagonia prove that even this year, this remote and sparsely populated region is not totally lacking in climbing action.

Although some of Patagonia’s most famous spots, such as Torres del Paine National Park, are closed because of COVID-19, Patagonia spans two countries and over a million square kilometres, with landscapes ranging from deserts to glaciers.

A faraway peak in a faraway place. Cerro Redondo’s location, green arrow.


Some corners are not closed. Case in point: Northeast of Torres del Paine and south of the Fitz Roy massif rises Cerro Redondo, an isolated peak in Chile’s Baguales range, on the Argentinean border.

At the beginning of October, Eduardo Weber, Chacho Navarro, Gonzalo Vásquez and Karla Barría went there looking for ski lines, but changed their minds at the sight of the mountain’s sheer south face. They swapped their boards and skins for crampons and ice axes, and 15 hours later, they had completed “Painakan” (800m, 65˚/70˚ with short 90˚ sections), a new route named after a local indigenous chief who ruled the area. Theirs was possibly the first ascent of the mountain.

Local climbers have Patagonia all to themselves. Photo: Patagonia Vertical


When the triumphant climbers returned home, a second group of locals — Antonia Alduna, Sebastian Pelletti and Nicolás Secul — caught wind of their success and straightway bagged another new line on the face. According to Patagonia Vertical, “the first pitch climbs a steep waterfall (WI5 60m), then follows snow ramps (60˚) with short mixed sections. A traverse to the right led to another two-pitch ice section (to 90˚), and more snow and mixed terrain to the ridge.”

On their way back, the team passed two ducks struggling to swim up a swift river, and dubbed their new route Contracorriente, Spanish for “crosscurrent”.

The two new routes on Cerro Redondo’s south face. Photo: Karla Barria/Patagonia Vertical