Patagonia’s ‘Unseen Mountain’ Sees First Ascent

Climbing in Patagonia isn’t always about testing one’s skills against some of the most famous mountains in the world.

Just ask Felipe Cancino and his four-member first ascent team, who traveled in December to the Northern Patagonia Glacier on a bid to climb what Cancino calls “The Unseen Mountain.”

Nobody had summitted Cerro Pared Sur (evidently the formation’s proper name) before the group. Precious few had even laid eyes on it.

As Cancino wrote, the peak “cannot be seen from any valley, is flanked by mountains, and is constantly wrapped in storms and bad weather.”


The intrigue proved worthy for Cancino and his cohort of little-known mountaineers: Riley Rice, Frank Preston, Scarlett Graham, and Mitchell Harter.

Getting to the formation was half the battle.

“The first ascent of Pared Sur was a difficult puzzle to solve. There were years of research and work,” Cancino wrote. Thanks to some local help, “we managed to put a couple of pieces together that would be enough to plan an expedition and go out to set an attempt.”

That’s what they did starting Dec. 6, and by Dec. 19, they stood on The Unseen Mountain’s summit. As of this writing, little information exists about the formation or the ascent itself.


The simplistic footage the team released on YouTube paints a picture of a classically remote expedition. Boggy bushwacking, windy ridgelines, and heavily crusted snowfields proliferate.


“We came back with happiness and joy after 25 days…and with many experiences that marked our way to the summit and back home,” Cancino concluded.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.