Alpine Climbing in Patagonia

10:43 p.m. on July 13, 2006 (EDT)
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Any recommendations on easy to moderate alpine climbing routes in the Torres de Paine area, Fitzroy group, or otherwise? Two partners and I are heading south in December for about a month, looking to challenge ourselves within reason (we'll be a long way from home to have things turn sour...). One partner is a very experienced and competent aplinist, other partner and I have limited alpine experience but are in excellent shape and are experienced rock climbers. I really want to get into alpine climbing, tell me if you think there is a better place to learn at this time of year, most of the U.S. is pretty cold and nasty. Any advice would be appreciated.

12:13 a.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
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There are a couple books on the routes down there, which Brian can recommend. But you should know that weather there can be cold and nasty during the Patagonian "summer", or in fact any time. You might want to consider New Zealand as an alternative.

2:49 p.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
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Supposed to be an awesome spot...but...I surely wouldn't head there if I didn't have a ton of alpine experience already.

If you have to go to South America, I'd suggest headin' to the Barloche area more north in Argentina. Tons of stuff there, and much better weather. Or, as Bill says, that time of year would be best for some spot down under like NZ or Australia.

Plenty of venues in Europe that time of year too. Spain, Italy, Croatia...

-Brian in SLC

6:30 p.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)

I've got no experience with Patagonia, just second hand stories of the weather. As both Brian and Bill say, New Zealand is a very good alternative.

If you're after long alpine routes on granite with maybe a dash of snow and ice thrown in then the Darran Mountains are the place to go. You can base at Homer hut (New Zealand Alpine Club) which has a great atmosphere and is stocked with regulars over summer, or you can lug your gear off into the more remote valleys and base yourself there. Though not as bad as Patagonia the weather can still be impresive in the Darrans and it can be pot luck if you get a good spell or not, but there are certain times to go to give yourself the best chances (late Feb-March is the most stable).

If you want to do more snow and ice climbing with the option of some moderate rock then the Mt Cook area is awesome. Cook has some good rock routes although they are mostly on less than perfect rock. Again, timing of weather and conditions are critical but you can maximise your chances by going at the right time (Dec/Jan for routes with glacier access...which is most).

For when you come out of the hills, there's also lots of great cragging within a short drive of good coffee and beer all around the South Island of NZ.

I sound like a tourist brochure. NZ is great.

12:19 p.m. on July 22, 2006 (EDT)
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Winter climbing in the US is good training for climbing in Patagonia. As far as easy routes in the Fitzroy region, well there is not a lot...The Amy Colouir on Guillamette is 5.8ish with snow and ice but remember it is Patagonia and speed is of the essence. Another thing about Patagonia is waiting to climb. I spent two months in my tent and the weather window did not open until I flew home...

May 24, 2018
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