Cochamo Valley, Chile: Part 2, The Adventure Begins / by Drew Smith

We departed the Denver International Airport on January 3rd to start our adventure. It started with getting all of our gear on the plane. We had four maxed out haul bags, and each a 60 lb. carry-on, filled with six ropes, a triple rack of climbing gear, aiding gear, bolting equipment, and lots of other stuff.
After fourteen hours of travel we arrived to Santiago, Chile, where we caught a twelve hour bus south to Puerto Montt. We spent two days in Puerto Montt buying food and supplies planning to get enough for a two month stint in the Cochamo Valley. Puerto Montt is the closest big city to the valley where you can find stores similar to those in the United States. Prices for food and accommodation was similar to the cost in the US.

After the two days in Puerto Montt getting supplies and food, we took a two hour bus ride to Cochamo. Cochamo is a small town out of the valley where we had organized in advance through, "Southern Trips",,  transportation to the trailhead and three horses to help us get our gear into the valley.  

After packing the horses we began the four hour trek into the valley with around 500 lb.'s of gear total. 

We arrived to the valley with minds blown looking at the monstrous rock formations around us. This picture is looking towards Capicua, Capicua is the wall in the background and is known as the "El Capitan" of the valley, due to its steepness and intimidating size.

Looking back towards the Trinidad Valley.
We set up our main base camp at La Junta, it's a camping area ran by Daniel Seeliger who has being living in the valley for many years. Daniel and his family also run a Refugio in the valley, for info visit Daniel was a great help, giving us beta on climbs to do while in the valley and info on undeveloped walls with possibilities of first ascents.     

After setting up camp and sorting gear Chance and I were anxious to find and start establishing a new route.  We went to Daniel's Refugio to take a look at some walls through his binocular. Daniel told us about a wall named Arco Iris, we were intrigued by the size of the wall, and the crack and dihedral systems we could see through the binocular. The wall had been attempted by three other parties that we know of to establish a route to the top but none had been successful.  

Before we started working on our route Daniel recommended that we climb some other routes. He told us stories of other anxious climbers coming and starting a new route only to get shut down by rain and running out of time leaving the valley without ever climbing a thing.
Chance and I went back into the Trinidad Valley and climbed two classic routes, "No Hay Hoyes", and "Las Manos Del Dia". It was nice to get some climbing in and I'm glad we did because they were the only routes we had time to do besides ours in the seven weeks we were there.  
Chance on the last pitch of "No Hay Hoyes"
Chance on the first pitch of "Las Manos Del Dia"

Chance on a splitter, "Las Manos Del Dia"

Chance following the flake pitch on "Las Manos Del Dia"