I dont want to tell you where, Chile
Thu 16 Apr 2009 - Sun 19 Apr 2009 60 °F
Sometimes while in Yosemite I wish that none of the infrastructure was there. No roads, no garbage trucks echoing through the valley, no tourists with pizza slices, etcetera, etcetra. In essence, what if I me and my friends were the only people around for miles.
Well we got a taste of what that would be like because it happened to us. The rumours of a valley flanked on all sides by towering granite walls was enough to peak our interest, so we set out for what is known as the Yosemite of Chile. It is relatively close to civilization, and we found out that once the bus drops you off its a 6 hour hike in. "6 hours? must be pretty far in", I thought. Turns out the time is due to the fact that the trail is a sloppy, wet, muddy mess. Most of the hike in is through dense temperate rain forest that doesnt allow for the sun to dry much out. So for several hours it is an obstacle course of avoiding mud. Balancing across a log. Hopping from a stone to a semi submerged branch, not knowing which may just sink under our weight, that sort of thing. The reward however was incredible as the dense trees and mud give way to open sections of fields and views of clean, gigantic granite domes.
In actuality the valley isnt completly unpopulated.It is actively used to raise a few cows, and aside from the occasional seemingly deserted cabin and an awareness that somebody is around somewhere, we felt very isolated.
We set up camp in the middle of a lush green pasture and proceeded to do a bit of exploring. A river runs right down the middle of the valley with others feeding in from adjacent side valleys. Walking a little ways up one of these we found a waterfall that would make a Vegas casino designer envious. Multi tiers of granite overflowing onto a smooth apron into a turqouise pool thta belongs somewhere in the tropics, but not here! The water is So clean and pure you cant resist pushing your face in for a drink.
Next day we set out on the 2.5 hour trail up to the base of one of the granite domes. And when I say up I mean UP! the entire time is a steep often bushwhacking experience. Some of the steeper, muddier sections have permanent ropes left from climbers accessing the area. The trail often disappears and is only found by bits of orange plastic tied to the occasional branch.
Once at the base there are obvious sites where climbers camp for several days during the climbing season as going up and down the trail daily is pretty much out of the question. From here we accessed the gully between two domes in an effort to gain one of the summits. After an hour of more straight up crumbly scrambling we were faced with some dicey moves to get on the very top. Going up might not be so bad, bud coming back down was certainly dangerous. We decided as painful as it was, it wasnt worth the risk. Knowing if there was an injury out there, even if one of us was able, it would be a couple days before someone was found to even ask for help let alone access the place to evacuate the injured.
Anyway, it was totally killer! but thoughts of returning to climb are tempered by the effort just to get in and touch the rock.
here is a link to the video