This week: Santiago Mountain Film Festival

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The 17th edition of the Santiago Mountain Film Festival begins tomorrow and runs till Oct.1 in the Chilean capital.

The festival will show the best of mountain and adventure films throughout four days. The event begins with a tribute to the late Douglas Tompkins, including a screening of "Wild Legacy" and his 1968 film "Mountain of Storms," as well as selected films from the BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour. 


“Avalancha en el Volcán” returns to Villarica for its sixth annual event

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Photo: Avalancha en el VolcánPhoto: Avalancha en el Volcán
By Ignacio Palma
Translated by Rebecca Neal
It’s been two years since the “Avalanche on a Volcano” freeride skiing and snowboarding race has taken place at Villarrica Volcano. After the eruption in March of last year, event organizers were forced to relocate the event to Quetrupillán, a nearby volcano also in the Araucania region.

But today, the race is back on home turf. The hopes and expectations of founder and current tournament director Rodrigo Vera are high for what will be the sixth edition of this competition, held this year at the Rucapillán, the name of the volcano in the Mapuche language mapudungún, which means “house of spirits.”

"This year, the riders will find that there has been changes to the volcano, as well the route and security teams. The focus will be on those geographic changes for the event but staying within our past framework,” says Vera, who adds that they continue to monitor closely any volcanic information and activity in the zone via reports from the National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin).

Photo: Rodrigo VeraPhoto: Rodrigo Vera

The event is planned to take place sometime between Sept. 12 and 20. Weather conditions will be the deciding factor for choosing the exact day for competition, which consists of a guided on-foot ascent to the summit, followed by a freeride descent from the top of the massif to its base. The rules are simple: the fastest racer wins. "We hope that this year they will be able break the record set the first year (2011) of 3 minutes and 12 seconds by Chile’s own Cristobal Diaz," says Vera, a native of Los Andes, Chile, but based in Pucon the past five years.

So far, 37 people have registered for the event, which has a total of 60 places. Competitors are divided into adult men and women, in snowboard and ski, and there is also a Masters category for over-45s. There are an additional 20 places for the children’s category, called Mini Avalancha, for competitors between the ages of 11 and 17. As has been the case from the beginning, Avalancha en el Volcán will have participants from Chile, Argentina, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. The confirmed participants include one of the best freeride skiers in the Americas, the Argentine Nicolás Salençon.While the exact route of the race is still unknown, it will be released the day of the event, Vera postulates that the route will be on the north side of the massif, with a distance of five kilometers and a vertical drop of 1,500 meters.

"Everything depends on the ice conditions, the amount of snow, and that it’s in an area that is safe for all skiers," says the former mountain guide. Vera also notes that, as in previous years, each competitor will use a chip to ensure accurate timing, and will also be equipped with Avalanche Victim Detectors (DAV) in case of emergencies. For safety issues, police personnel, a team from the Chilean Mountain Rescue Association, and representatives from the Association of Pucon Mountain Guides (GAMP) will also be present at the event. 

Photo: Patricio GarridoPhoto: Patricio Garrido

In addition, there will be a base camp at the bottom of the mountain, where participants can stay overnight before the competition. This was also the case last year, when the base camp proved a success. Vera states that participants can enjoy an atmosphere of camaraderie which could coincide with the Fiestas Patrias of Chile on the 18th and 19th of September, weather permitting.

Registration (80,000 Chilean pesos for adult participants and free for under-18s) will remain open until the day before the competition. In order to have a better view of the event, the organization invites the general public to come to the ski center on the mountain, 18km away from Pucón, the nearest town,

For more information on requirements for participants, visit To stay informed about the final date, follow the event on Facebook and Instagram. 






Cautious optimism over Endesa decision to renounce water rights on Futaleufu and Puelo rivers

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Puelo River. Photo: Jimmy LangmanPuelo River. Photo: Jimmy Langman
Two of the leading groups fighting hydroelectric dam projects in Chilean Patagonia, Futaleufú Riverkeeper and Puelo Patagonia, reacted with cautious optimism to news yesterday that Chilean energy company Endesa Chile has decided to voluntarily renounce its water rights along the Futaleufu and Puelo rivers.

Sea Run Browns

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Editors Note: The following is from Issue 11.
By Rodrigo Sandoval
The geographical and physical characteristics of rivers and lakes in Patagonia have proven their prime conditions for growing remarkable specimens of both trout and salmon. This also includes the world-famous sea run browns, managing to attract anglers from different latitudes to windy and harsh-weather locations, especially to the southern tip of South America. 

Second Patagonia Winter Games called success

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Text by Ignacio Palma and James Alfaro
Photos by James Alfaro
Translated by Graham Dane
The current drought in Chilean Patagonia was the "ghost at the feast" at the close of the Second Patagonia Winter Games.  On the final day, the organizers were expecting snowfall so as to increase the scant covering of accumulated snow and therefore permit the holding of world qualifiers for the Freeride World Tour. But it just rained, saturating the snowpack and forcing the cancellation of those events for safety reasons.

The impact of heatwaves in Patagonia

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By Martín Jacques-Coper
Translated by Katy Harris

Time to protect the Futaleufu and Cordillera Sarmiento

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By Don Weeden, Jack Miller and Camilo Rada
Editors note: The following is from Edition 11.  
We don’t need to tell the readers of Patagon Journal that Chile is blessed with an abundance of extraordinary natural places. Fortunately, many such places are protected as national parks, or as nature sanctuaries (Pumalin Park is the best known example).

Alternative energy potential in Chilean Patagonia

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Photo: Marcelo MascareñoPhoto: Marcelo Mascareño
By Grant Devine
Chile is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources. Non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) is defined by Chile’s energy ministry as energy derived from solar, wind, small-hydro (less than 20MW), biomass, biogas, geothermal and marine sources. The vast potential of these resources along Chile’s varied geography has inspired confidence in Michelle Bachelet’s government to set a target of acquiring 70% of its energy from renewable source by 2050. While an ambitious goal, their confidence is not misplaced. In a recent tender by the Chilean National Energy Commission for contracts to supply 1,200 gigawatt hours of energy to unregulated customers in Chile, wind and solar outbid coal and fossil fuels with lower prices to win 100% of the contracts. With such promising economics, foreign and domestic capital has poured into the country’s renewable sector, which saw $3.4 billion in investment in 2015, up 141% from the previous year.[1] Chile’s renewable energy market is changing the game and has placed itself at the forefront of the global effort to mitigate climate change.

Ice climbing opens the 2nd Patagonia Winter Games

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(Andino Patagónico)(Andino Patagónico)
By Ignacio Palma
Translation by Zoe Baillargeon
The thrills and chills were hard and fast this past weekend at the opening events of the 2nd Patagonia Winter Games. Held at the Cerro Castillo National Reserve in the Aysén Region, the main competition was the Ice Fest Patagonico ice climbing competition.
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