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News and major updates

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CHILE - Apertura 1 de noviembre / Opening 1st of November.
[posteo/posted 11 oct. 2021]
A partir del 1 de noviembre extranjeros no residentes (turistas) podrán entrar a Chile - por ahora solo por los aeropuertos de Santiago, Iquique, y Antofagasta. Deberán contar con un seguro médico (cobertura mínima de U$30 mil), PCR -72 horas antes de embarcar, y el “Pase de Movilidad” - la validación del esquema de vacunación completo: Me Vacuno. Este último paso puede requerír hasta 30 días, así que hay que planear con antelación. Todos los detalles se pueden encontrar en la página de Chile Atiende. Supuestamente Argentina también abriría al turismo a partir del 1 de noviembre, aunque faltan detalles - link al último decreto gubernamental.
As of November 1st, non-resident foreigners (tourists) will be able to enter Chile - for now only via the airports of Santiago, Iquique, & Antofagasta. They must have medical insurance (minimum coverage of U$30,000), PCR -72 hours before boarding, and the "Pase de Movilidad" - validation of the complete vaccination scheme: Me Vacuno. Note that this last step can take up to 30 days, so plan ahead. All details can be found in the Chile Atiende webpage. Argentina is also supposed to open to tourism on November 1st, but details are yet to be made public - link to the latest government decree on the topic.

Near misses and close-calls

Near misses and close-calls are the huge iceberg below the surface where all the future errors are occurring, but unfortunately we know little about them, because most of us are unwilling to discuss or report them. Maud Vanpoulle, an alpinist and sports-scientist focused on accidentology, has been the lead researcher in a project that collects such reports through the SERAC database. It is anonymous, and available in multiple languages.

The first analysis of the database, from June 2020 can be downloaded from the Petzl Foundation's webpage. The most recent analysis, from November 20202, which focuses on ski-mountaineering but that has lessons and recomendastions that very much apply to alpinism can be downloaded here (pdf).

Re-equipamiento en la zona de Cerro Catedral / Frey

A partir de 2005 se re-equiparon más de 90 vías en la zona del Refugio Frey. Principalmente en la decada del 80, pero lamentablemente hasta el 2000, se usaron para equipar brocas auto-perforantes (espits) en combinación con chapas caseras, de aluminio o zincadas, que dejaban mucho que desear, y en muchos casos eran claramente peligrosas. En este link hay una lista de las vías que se re-equiparon. Hoy se puede decir que la calidad del equipamiento en la zona de Frey es muy buena.

“Manless Rope Team: A Socio-Technical History of a Social Innovation”

Recently, social researchers Cécile Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo and Eric Boutroy, published an article in “The International Journal of the History of Sport” about the history of female alpinism in Europe. It points to the continuing challenges that female mountaineers face, outlining also the progress that has been made. A more than worthy read. Download pdf here.


With Sarah Hart and others, we created a “female alpinism baseline” for the American Alpine Journal. Since its inception the AAJ has been a male-centric publication, and has failed to provide an equitable platform. The “baseline” describes the “state of the art” of female alpinism today and will be used internally to give more editorial space to ascents done by women that come close to, or surpass it. It will do so without categorization, without using the label “female ascent”. The hope is that more editorial space for ascents by women will serve as inspiration.

A Gendered Figuration of Capital in the Patagonian Andes”

In a recent article (pdf download) anthropologist Marcos Mendoza discusses the gender inequalities that can be found in the ecotourism industry and in the mountaineering scene. How the alpine is figured as a space for certain types of subjects, robust males, while women and non-alpine men get marginalized and devalued. The narrative of heroism is at the root of this built in gender bias. If we are to aspire to a more gender neutral space in the alpine environment, do we need to start by revising these cultural constructs? Sexism is so omnipresent that it even appears in the local toponyms. The overwhelmingly male-dominated guiding industry leads to a marked socioeconomic disadvantage for woman and non-alpine men. In one powerful remark Marcos points out that “alpine men have established a near monopoly over the exclusive vertical space of consumption and recreation associated with climbing” and that “women struggle against gender barriers in alpinism, facing sexism, skepticism about their abilities, and paternalistic attitudes that deny their very presence in the Andes.” Much for all of us to think about in Marcos’ article, which although written with El Chalten in mind applies equally to many mountain towns around the world. Marcos is the author of “The Patagonian Sublime: The Green Economy and Post-Neoliberal Politics”.

PATAGONIA ICE-FIELDS. Thickness and volume. The results of a survey by Romain Millan and others was published last year in the journal Geophysical Research. It assessed the ice thickness and volume of the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice-fields. They used gravimeters, flown in airplanes, and the measurements were used to map the ice thickness. They detected places with ice exceeding 1,600m in thickness. Together, both Patagonia ice-fields hold roughly 40 times the ice volume of the European Alps. As example, the plateau between Cordón Marconi and Cordón Mariano Moreno is estimated to be 1200m deep.


A detailed summary of the most relevant climbing activity in Southern Patagonia during the 2019 / 2020 season can be found here, including short descriptions of all the important ascents, as well as comments about the accidents that ocurred, and risk management considerations.

In the next few weeks, I will incorporate the new ascents into the existing route data base. Also, in a few months there should be a responsive version of this site, which will include Torres del Paine.

CERRO TORRE GLACIER: moraine age dating.

A recent study by Scott Reynhout, Esteban Sagredo, et al., offers the most accurate dating yet of the Cerro Torre Glacier moraines. Using surface-exposure cosmogenic dating (Beryllium-10), they dated seven moraines, obtaining a chronology of the glacier’s advances over the last 18,000 years, which should go a long ways to improve our understanding of the climate fluctuations during that period. The outer most moraine studied, was dated as being 17,000 years old; the moraine in the vicinity of the trail-fork leading to Laguna Madre e Hija, was dated as being 13,000 years old; the following moraine was dated as being 11,600 years old; the moraine before Campo de Agostini is in fact two, the outer one was dated as being 6,900 years old, the inner one 6,100 years, with a younger lateral section that is 4,500 years old; and moraine surrounding Laguna Torre was dated as being 520 years old. The full study can be downloaded from this link (pdf), and a photo showing the moraine ages can be seen here.

Availability in North America.

The "Chalten Massif" guidebook is available from Mammoth Mountaineering in Mammoth, CA; Ouray Mountain Sports, in Ouray, CO; Rock and Resole In Boulder, CO; Bentgate Mountaineering in Golden, CO; Teton Mountaineering in Jackson, WY; Rock & Snow in NY; and Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada.

The "Cerro Catedral / Frey" guidebook is only available from Rock and Resole in Boulder, CO.

SOUTHERN PATAGONIA - 2018/19 Season.

A detailed summary of climbing activity in Southern Patagonia during the 2018/19 season can be found here, including short descriptions of all the important ascents, as well as comments about the accidents that ocurred, and risk management considerations.

A telegram style list of all important ascents and first ascents can be found here, with each ascent linked to it's corresponding route page.

"THE PATAGONIAN SUBLIME: The Green Economy and Post-Neoliberal Politics."

Anthropologist Marcos Mendoza has just published a revealing analysis of the El Chalten area. The book lays bare the issues behind the green economy, dives deep into the social fabric of the town, addresses mountaineering and trekking, takes a close look at APN’s regulatory approach, touches on grassroots actions and a long etcetera. If you are socially and academically inclined, buy a copy. A review here. You can buy it here.

CHALTEN MASSIF - 2017/18 Season summary. List of important ascents, and first ascents: here.

CHALTEN MASSIF - 2016/17 Season summary. List of important ascents, and first ascents: here.


Cerro Paine Grande is the tallest and bulkiest peak in the Torres del Paine National Park. It has been climbed only four times: 1957, 2000, 2011 and 2016. It certainly deserves far more attention. The purpose of this write-up is to give a quick overview of what has been done. There are still a few things that require sorting, particularly the line followed by the Japanese expedition back in 1969. Read on.

Topónimos / Toponyms

Antes de dar nombres a accidentes geográficos (cumbres, puntas, coles, etc) sugiero leer este artículo por Evelio Echevarria, un andinista chileno que lleva más de 50 años explorando y documentando la actividad de montaña a lo largo de los Andes.

Before giving toponyms to any geographic point (summits, sub-summits, saddles, etc) I suggest reading this article by Evelio Echevarria, a chilean climber and explorer that has dedicated much of his life to exploring and documenting ascents across the Andes.

© 2019 Rolando Garibotti.

Macizo de El Chaltén

A complete guidebook to the Chaltén Massif. Winner of the Guidebook Award at the Banff Film and Book Festival. The second edition is now available. Read more

Una guía completa para
las montañas del Macizo
de El Chaltén. Ganador del Premio a la Mejor Guia de Montaña en el Festival de Cine y Libros de Banff, Canada. La segunda edición esta disponible y se puede comprar desde esta página.
Mas información

Cerro Catedral - Frey

Guía completa para
las agujas del Cerro Catedral, zona del Refugio Emilio Frey, Bariloche. Segunda edición. Más información

A complete guidebook to the towers of Cerro Catedral, area of Refugio Emilio Frey, Bariloche. Second edition.
More information

Updates & Corrections

Cerro Chalten (Fitz Roy), Supercanaleta, all female ascent.

Aguja Val Biois, Don Lito.

Torrisimo, Sandy Eyes route line.

Updated the length of the Tetons Grand Traverse, from Alex Lowe's late 1990s 14-mile estimate, to Teton Ranger's 17.9 miles, apparently meassured with GPS. Thanks Teton Ranger for the correction.

Torrisimo, Donini's Anatomy route line.

Después de 42 años de la primera ascensión, apareció la cordada que abrió "Anónimo Yankee" en El Abuelo. Fueron Bronwyn y Murray Judge de Nueva Zelanda, en 1976. Habria que cambiarle el nombre a "conocido neozelandés"...

Fixed a bunch of crap on the Pollone section. Now Tridente has its own page, Cumbrecitas too. Took the liberty to rename a nameless route that Carsten put up: "Carstenissima", and call his also nameless Gran Gendarme to Tito Carrasco traverse: "Carsten's Traverse". It seemed like a good way to remember someone that loved the area so much and contributed in so many ways.

Some corrections courtesy of Hugh Logan
- Cerro Solo Cara Este headwall variation
- Cerro Mojón Rojo Cara Noroeste.

- Two new and more detailed topo / photos for the Motocross and Care Bear Traverse.

- Fixed somewhere around 80 broken links... oops. Hopefully now there are just a hadfull.

- Variation on Cerro Solo.

- Variation on El Zorro, Mojón Rojo.

- The Cerro Murallón section has been updated.

- Actualizada la sección sobre el Cerro Colorado. Ahora hace falta registrarse en la oficina de la CONAF en Chile Chico. El resistro es gratis pero obligatorio.

Update to the Cerro Colorado page. Now you must register in the CONAF office in Chile Chico. Registration is free but mandatory.

Recent articles and other

Gestión de Riesgo - Risk Management17/12//2014

El gran número de accidentes que ocurren en comparación al número de usuarios es preocupante. Acá presentamos un primer intento a una ayuda memoria sobre los puntos a tomar en consideración antes de embarcarse en una ascensión. Sugerimos también leer las paginas de la guía relacionadas con “como sobrevivir” y rescates. En español pdf aca.

The huge number of accidents that have been happening in comparison to the number of users is worrisome. Here we present a first attempt at a list of considerations to take into account before embarking on a climb. We also suggest reading carefully the pages of the guidebook that relate to staying alive and rescue. English pdf here.


More "articles" here.


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