Sometimes I try to be funny on my blog, or have interesting quotes. Other times, I just dont think its worth it. I have been reading the book The Shipping News by Annie Proulx and after reading some really good writing, I almost lack the motivation to even try myself. Anyhow, Frey is an awesome place and at least I have some good pictures!
From Valle Encantado, we spent one night in Bariloche, doing laundry and buying groceries for a week of camping and climbing near Cerro Catedral and the alpine refugio called Frey. The first day was extremely stormy, but that proved great for hiking up, as our packs were too heavy and a hot sun would have been much worse. The evening that we arrived in Frey we climbed a 4 pitch route located about 10 minutes from our tent, a crack climb up the East Face of Aguja (needle) Frey.
The wind was howling and a bit of rain was falling, but it was a fun route and a good intro to the area.
(Good thing the red stripe was there to show our route or we might have been lost)
The climbs are on very nice reddish granite, anywhere from 3 to 10 pitches long and spread across two alpine valleys.
We probably climbed 8 or so towers over the course of the week, and enjoyed the friendly lakeside camping, one pizza dinner in the refugio, and memorable sunsets each night.
David and our local stand-in for Mount Baker, a volcano called Tronador.
The last day we climbed ¨El Sinestro Total¨, the longest route in Frey, and perhaps the best. We topped out on the Cerro Principal along with two young climbers who are living and working at the refugio this summer and receiving some room and board while climbing on their days off. We were impressed by the confidence and skills of these guys, and gave them a bit of gear to keep and use when we left. I think in 10 years they will be the new stars of South American climbing.
Here is my partner and the two Argentine Chicos on the summit... who is more excited?
Here is the 5.10d headwall pitch on Sinestro Total...
In addition to the two boys, we also encountered an Andean Condor on the Cerro Principal, which flew by us several times during the descent.
Why did the condor refuse to check his bag at the airport? He prefers carrion.
After the final day in Frey I was off for the 36 hour bus ride to El Chalten and Southern Patagonia.