Cochamo Valley, Chile: Part 3, Starting Arco Iris / by Drew Smith

After climbing in the Trinidad Valley for a couple days Chance and I began our project. We spent a day finding an old trail that lead through the jungle leading to the base of Arco Iris. It took some machete work to open the trail then we started carrying loads of gear from our base camp at La Junta up to the base of the wall. The base of the wall was about a two hour hike from La Junta, not bad considering the approach to other walls in the surrounding area was usually 4-5 hours.   
Establishing the route up the wall we would pick out a line or features from below we wanted to climb. We used a style of free climbing and aid climbing techniques to go up in the direction we wanted to go, fixing up to six pitches with natural gear. Next we picked out the best way in which it would go free climbable in an aesthetic way. Then bolted stainless steel anchors equipped for rappelling were added, cleaning was done pulling vegetation out of cracks and corners, and stainless steel bolts were added in places needed for protection. Over our period of time establishing the route it took over a day per pitch to clean.       
This is one of our camps we had at the base of Arco Iris while working on establishing the first five pitches.

This is pitch 4, before cleaning it sucked, now it's a splitter finger crack.

Part 4, King Ledge going up

After establishing the bottom five pitches we hauled all of our gear and 12 days worth of food up to a big ledge we named King Ledge. From King Ledge we worked on establishing seven more pitches before moving our camp higher.   
Peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla was our main lunch while up on the wall.

The pitches that we free/aid climbed varied from dihedrals with cracks and closed up corners, to varied crack systems splitting faces. The majority of aid gear we used was beaks, LA pitons and small DMM slider nuts. Runout bush climbing was also popular, which protected some time by slinging a root or branch.     
This is pitch 8, it was horrible to clean but turned out really good after the rain came.