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Gracias por el Aguante

December 9th, 2009

Find out about climbing in Argentina in this latest post by climber Crystal Davis-Robbins. Robbins made a first ascent in Arenales with Ignacio Elorza and María-José Moisés. The ascent was 600m 7a+ (5.12-).

Within the immense valley of towers in el Cajon de Arenales, the peak “El Cohete” sits in the forefront, known for its splitter cracks and for having the longest routes in the area. Although the East face is climbed very frequently, all the other faces are practically unexplored. The North face had no known previous routes on it until this month.

After four days of vertical gardening and rock-tumbling, we completed “Gracias por el Aguante.” The route meanders up the middle of the North face, with wandering crack systems. It begins with a few rope lengths of easy climbing. Then one chooses between a 5.10 dihedral and a fist crack slightly easier just to the left of it, I recommend the dihedral.

After a couple more rope lengths of moderate climbing that traverse leftward, we arrived at the base of a prominent dihedral that spits the face into two. We climbed the dihedral for about twenty meters than followed a thin crack that eventually separates out right and turns the corner anther twenty meters (5.10). Then, after a lot of weed pulling, we exposed another great pitch of 5.10+ finger crack, that dies out about thirty meters later, and ends with a couple of memorable slab moves out right to another system. We roared.

The next pitch is the crux, a finger crack out a small roof, with a pocket of crystals that is used as a salvation hold after the most difficult moves. Majo and Nacho named the pitch “el techo de las faldas” (the roof of skirts) after I had yelled out that I was wearing my skirt on the on-sight attempt.

After that there are four more quality pitches including “el paseo de los cristales” where the wall had a sea of crystals embedded in the cracks. I knew that I was in the right place when I came across this pitch. The last pitch is a strenuous slightly overhang fist crack in a red dihedral. As we were finishing the route with the last light, it started snowing upwards; time to get our butts down. We drilled a total of nine two bolt anchors to the ground.

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