Jim Donini: First ascent of Cerro Chueco, Patagonia

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Rock and Ice - In the Aysen Region in Chilean Patagonia there has been very little climbing activity. Fortunately, this has allowed me to climb a half dozen virgin peaks in the last few years. A couple of weeks ago a good young alpinist, Tad McCrea, arrived fresh from guiding Aconcagua to join me for a go at another.
My wife Angela and I had already explored the approaches to a nice unclimbed granitic peak—called Cerro Chueco—that is clearly visible from the Carretera Austral, the main road in Aysen. Though not a giant, even mountains 7,100-feet high entail real climbing in an area where glaciers come down to the sea and tree line is 3,500 feet.
Approaches in Aysen can be very trying depending on the nature of the rain forest. Fortunately the forest below Cerro Chueco was more open than some other areas and blessed with an intermittent, overgrown gaucho trail that severely tested my route finding capabilities.
After the initial foray with Angela I made two subsequent solo trips on which I established a solid path and left a cache above tree line, directly below the peak. All was ready for Tad’s arrival. Read more..

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