Cerro Castillo: The challenging trekking Torres del Paine

0 27713

Tiene one of the most beautiful trails in Chile. An imposing hill with walls slowly gain fame among climbers. Huemules, glaciers, intact forests and, yet, very few visitors. Located 64 kilometers from Coyhaique, Cerro Castillo has the ingredients to become “new Torres del Paine”. And so you had to be there first.

“Noooooo, do not write”, ruega una italiana, half in jest, half serious, when I tell him I'm here just to kill the secret. Ultimately, that's what we usually do journalists. Following a data, we go to a nice deserted beach and paf!, in a couple of years it was a discovery under the sun is now a well-known ritual.

Well. The Italian who does not want to write this is Turin and takes nine months in Chile. Exchange, and now rental, Patagonia travels. The meeting at 8:30 in the morning on a Thursday February shores of the lagoon Cerro Castillo, in the Book of the same name at the foot of the hill also is named, after two days of walking through forests, rivers, mountains and glaciers you have not seen more than a handful of people. I'm wrong in itself, it is the number twelve. The Italian says he came up from Villa Cerro Castillo, arrived late last night and found the camp as “official”, I had to put his tent where he could. In this case, riverside.

The Italian is amateur climber and recently was in Cochamó, several kilometers further north, a site that several specialized media are describing as a while “el Yosemite chileno”, and this magazine has highlighted a few years ago. Hence, what counts is not surprising.

-Cochamó is very good for climbing, but it is crowded, all taxiing at the foot of the mountain. I prefer places like this, where there anybody still out. And then asked me not to do what I'm doing now (and what they pay me). I'll return a smile and scored the match in my book: I podria serve as the beginning for this text.

Day 0. The Secret

So how are Cochamó (was) “el Yosemite chileno”, the Cerro Castillo National Reserve is (be) “the new Torres del Paine”. One hundred and eighty thousand hectares of protected areas, located 64 kilometers south of Coyhaique, sheltering huge beech forests and intact ñires, huemules many who are not afraid of people-is not uncommon to find roadside- and a beautiful and imposing mountain 2.675 meters that has the name as well: from where you look, Cerro Castillo seems pretty much: a castle. A kind of Neuschwanstein basalt, one Disney Castle Rock, which is gradually becoming a new magnet for climbers in the world.

-If Cerro Castillo was in France, thousand climbing routes have already said Manuel Medina-, Pepón for friends, the twenties guide and climber who accompanied me on this path and to which I do not tell Pepón (this is not Brokeback Mountain, I write down in my notes).

Manuel is Coyhaique, you have 25 years and is really crazy about the vertical walls: last November, got-along with his fellow climber, Pablo Miranda- the first ascent of the south face of the north tower of Cerro Castillo, and now he is determined to go for more: open new routes for the North Wall, Climb hills bordering eat Old, el Facón, The Palo. Or overcome one of the hardest achievements on record so far: the route through the central gutter in the East Face of Cerro Castillo, that 2008 opened the Catalan Joan Solé and American Carlos Buhler, two climbers world-class. Buhler, de facto, was the first to climb the East Face of Everest or in Kanshung 1983 (the same as in 1992 repeat the Chilean expedition led by Rodrigo Jordan), and has opened several high difficulty routes in different parts of the planet.
But Cerro Castillo, luckily, It is not just for climbers. The reserve is that, clearly, is one of the most beautiful trekking circuits of Chile, that has been highlighted by specialized guides like Trekking in the Patagonian Andes, de Lonely Planet. And this mainly thanks to its landscapes and type of walk that is: you walk through forests, on stones, snow, rivers are passed, glaciers are, gaps, mountains no name, in several sections to look for the trail to continue, -and all this with zero people around (according Conaf, throughout 2011 only came 1.923 people).

So, walk the Reserva Cerro Castillo is a memorable adventure, in the not too distant future, should change their appearance. Where the path is lost today will soon be a road much traveled. Where there is now a slippery trunk as a bridge to cross a frozen river and torrential, there will be a wooden bridge fledged. Where Conaf today strives with the minimum to have at least one caregiver input, more people will be responsible for the maintenance of the park. But before, clear, should begin to take shape once and the interest-at least in the words- he has put this little gem of the Aysen Region. As SERNATUR, that last August Cerro Castillo elected as one of five Wilderness Areas Protected by the State to strengthen in the coming years.

With so many credentials to view, are left to walk. And what we do with Manuel Medina is an express route, the “tourist route” and recommended: three days, two nights, entering the auto industry's Big Horquetas (view map) and down from the lagoon Cerro Castillo, where we find the lonely Italian- an alternative path that ends at a private campground, and outside the Villa Cerro Castillo.

Day 1. The kingdom of the flies

Entering Self from Major Horquetas to Conaf we saved 13 kilometers, four to five hours- Walking, by a flat and rather monotonous path that would require taking off shoes to cross the four or five rivers that are in the path. Indeed, this road is private and is delimited by several gates that, happily, can be opened without problems (Let them closed, so the cows do not escape). It is one of the “problems” this reserve: is surrounded by private land that might someday prevent access.

Crossing one of the rivers we run into the only people who will see regularly on the road: one grupete six Chilean friends who come for his and that, clear, minibus came to Major Horquetas and from there they have been walking. Manuel Medina, mi partner, driving his Mitsubishi Pajero comes from 93 and putting the 4×4 whenever necessary. Then he tells me over: that coyhaiquino, who studied Adventure Tourism, having mountain courses in school Nols, you just started a business of climbing, began as guide, so few gringos met at the University of West Virginia, who then invited him for seven months to continue working beyond, yet Paid. And so he learned English and lived as a gringo in a college town and that the parties were equal to those in the film American Pie.

The talk stops when the Conaf, where we left the car (it will take a friend of Manuel that comes with us). There, a caregiver, Sandro, who spends two weeks alone and then returns to the city for five days, charge admission (5.000 pesos per person), delivery route map and we repeated the mantra: “Prudence and self, prudence and self”.

The first day's hike is short: only 40 minutes until the Turbio River Camp, where we set up the tent, fight against an army of flies (What beautiful species!), cook, eat well tomorrow (because it will be strong), we realize that we forget the services (so we improvised spoons lenga), know the primitive campsite latrines and eight o'clock we go to sleep. Listening to the sound of the river, Manuel continues to tell how he was in West Virginia. I sleep me thinking about the holidays kind American Pie.

Day 2. Uphill

Today is the strong day hike and the idea is to start early: if something happens on the road is better to have time to react. At 06:30 and we are raising for breakfast: granola with chocolate caliente, fruit and tortillas with ham and cheese. We carry our water bottles in the river Turbio, we put juice powder (not only for flavor, but to hydrate more: meltwater brings less minerals), break camp, we hang the backpack (about ten kilos) and we set. Yesterday afternoon the six Chilean friends arrived we saw on the River. When we decided to leave, they have not yet awakened.

The following can be summarized as: two-hour climb up a beautiful beech forest until the called Portezuelo Rock, a step 1.435 meters high, which is always a bit of snow. The weather is: hot and no wind. In other conditions should be tougher. Especially the descent, the hardest part of this trekking: Portezuelo comes after a steep drop in half an hour by small loose rocks where it is not easy, bell facilísimo fall.

-Let me super-concentrated here warns Manuel, who ultimately is more worried about me: if there is an accident, must run a rescue and test your knowledge of Nols, West Virginia and other experiences like that, because there would be no way to make an easy exit. But the balance is positive: despite the occasional slip, left unharmed (knees, yes, feel the effort). And, nature gives us his show: the view of the glaciers of Cerro El Peñón is awesome.

After coming down about two hours by a more or less marked trail, it gets to intern in the forest and at one point leads to the estuary Forest, running to our right and has nothing estuary: is a river that ends up having “torrential characteristics”, as the map says Conaf.

Good, there is a bridge in rigor, what's left of it: table- to cross: is what survived the last winter, snow and the river floods. So I had no problems, Although the obstacle is beyond: few meters after a stream you have to cross through a slippery wooden trunk appears. After I read in a guide that could be better spend sitting, licking their feet, rather than risk falling into the water filled, knapsack and all.

We unharmed, again. Manuel said “was entertaining” and “they had to develop a strategy to overcome a difficulty”. It is true: this reserve not have good infrastructure is, ultimately, a guarantee of adventures. But it is evident that an accident can be expensive here.

After it slippery trunk al llege second camp CONAF, Estero El Bosque, where we find a couple of Rancagua also comes with yours, they lost the trail and nearly frozen feet across the river, and here are a few days ago, but with much more weight (loaded up a teapot). There are also a school gringos Moutaineering Training School, operating in Alaska and Patagonia in forming mountain guides. But little talk with them: the idea is to keep two hours up to an unofficial camp called Teapot, at the foot of Cerro Castillo.

Day 3.Cerro below

The teapot is so called because for years there was a red kettle here a carrier left on a stone to indicate the perfect place to camp on the mountain. But last year the tea was lost. A friend of the alien took her and today the name of the camp only by oral tradition persists.

The good thing about camping in Teapot, apart from the great mountain view, is that it shortens the third day of walking and, if you arrive early, enough time for another of the jewels of the reservation, you are five minutes: the Cerro Castillo lagoon, a spring turquoise color 1.275 meters that feeds on mountain glaciers.

After the first visit, we return to camp for the last night. In the afternoon arrive six Chileans who have been following us and break the solitude in which we were. Cenamos strong-in fact, we eat all that remained- and, with the body already tired from the effort, slept like kings.

The third day we went to the 8 o'clock towards the lagoon. That's when we found the Italian beginning of this story. We took the obligatory pictures and shorten path, as we had budgeted. Because an option is to follow a day later to the Porters sector hard carrying stones, then called-up to the New Zealand camp in honor of a group of New Zealanders who made several ascents in the seventy-, and then down along the estuary to Villa Cerro Castillo Parada.

Another route, which we, Villa is down to a trail that comes from an esplanade south of the lagoon, and has a spectacular view: Lake General Carrera comes up, Villa Cerro Castillo, Carretera Austral, Ibañez River, Northern Ice Fields and Hudson Volcano.

This trail is used by tourists coming to horseback and on foot from Villa Cerro Castillo for the lake for the day. Leads to a private campsite on the banks of river, and in the background is a tierral takes about three hours to download it. Views, course, offset the tedium of going all the while asserting. And also, the desire to reach and bathe after three days.

Once down, Mitsubishi Pajero parked Manuel Medina expects private camping. Lamentation, we took the hiking boots and headed entierrados without stopping to Coyhaique, with a curious feeling: We walked on foot in three days, between rivers, loose rock gorges and glaciers, by car in half an hour we do. It's like the movie Cast Away: everything costs more when alone, in the midst of nature.

A night, already in Coyhaique, I along with Manuel for a beer farewell. On the hill, under the sun, sweating, we had been dreaming about this. But when we're here, with schop in hand, Manuel says he now just wants to return to the mountain. It is more: tomorrow will return to the same place where we were today, this time to attempt the summit of Cerro El Palo, another secret hidden in this corner of Patagonia.

I looked at him in silence, I approached him and only the glass.

El trekking

* Once in Coyhaique, you can go on the transfers that go to Puerto Ibáñez (like Miguel Acuña; such. 67/251 579) to the area of ​​Las Horquetas Great, a 75 kilometers from the city, where the trail begins. Since there are 13 miles down a private road (tranqueras with that open seamless), involving several rivers to circumvent Conaf, the real beginning of the Book. To shorten this leg-walk that takes about five hours- ideally do all this first hand car (April 1×4 it is imperative), and someone takes the vehicle, because the output of the trail is in another sector. This was done for this article, and the route took three days, as he went down the alternative path to Villa Cerro Castillo (view map). If you want to go to Camp New Zealand have to add another day.

* From Coyhaique, company Pure Patagonia (such. 67/246 000; www.purapatagonia.cl) Organise your destination with all the necessary logistics. The best time to do it is from November to March.

Text: Sebastián Montalva Wainer.

Posteado en: http://www.elmercurio.cl

Tagged with:

Related Stories