Climbing from Chile to Alaska

Climbing from Chile to Alaska while traveling in a van

While our trip in « La Pepa » (our van!) we’ve been trying to climb every now and then. Some times we go specially to some renown climbing spots and other times we just end up at an unknown spot. We are average climbers trying to have fun and preserve our climbing fitness while we travel. As our trip develops we will go updating more and more this post.

Climbing in Chile

As we were residing in Chile it wasn´t difficult to find some awesome climbing spots while we travel along this narrow country. Climbing has had a boom here since a couple of years, kind of from 2005 onwards. Topos can be found online, just need to search the specifi spot in google and add the word topos or you can go in to the following pages were you will find tons of information.

Where to climb

Indoor

Some times we want to mix city touring and climbing, here the indoor gyms we went to.

  • El Muro (Santiago): Lead/Boulder www.elmuro.cl best climbing gym in Chile, they have two locations one in Larrain … which is the newest and best equipped of the two, and another at Americo Vespucio which has everything you need as well.
  • Zenit (Santiago): Boulder www.zenit.cl Great Boulder gym with new problems every month.
  • Mall Sport (Santiago): Lead www.muromallsport.cl tallest indoor lead wall in Santiago, reaching up to 17m.

Outdoor

There are many great climbing spots all over Chile. Most of Chiles climbing spots can be found in the climbing away app and all TOPOS, locations and aproach march information can be found online either by searching them through google or directly at http://www.guiaescaladachile.com/. Here the list of the spots we know.

    • North Region
      • Socaire: World class route climbing.
      • Totoralillo: Boulder climbing at the beach.
    • South Region
      • Chillan: Recently equiped route climbing sector.
    • Center Region (In order of preference)
      1. Valle de los Condores: AMAZING! Climbing for all levels, plenty of places to camp, and a big parking ground, not far from the routes, where you can leave your camper. Wheater changes quickly and sometimes it gets windy at night, so plan accordingly.
      2. Petorca: Easy to camp, plenty of shade, climbing for all leveles, short aproach march (10 min descent).
      3. La Mina: Beutiful climbing spot with high top quality rock, climbing for all levels but mostly advanced to elite. It gets really cold during the night, but you can camp close by the routes. Medium aproach march, 20 min ascent.
      4. Las Chilcas: Great lead climbing spot, with climbing for all levels. The rock is conglomerate and climbing is fisical. Parking lot is right next to the highway, theres stories of cars getting broken in to, so don’t leave anything insight.
      5. Palestra: Mostly adherence climbing. Rock quality is great, all granite. Climbing for all levels, low level routes are still quite challenging. Long aproach march, 45 min going uphill. You can camp right under the routes.
      6. Punta de Cortez: Climbing from 6a to 7b. Easy to camp ontpo of the routes or at the bottom of the hill if you are in a camper. Medium aproach march, 25 min going uphill.
      7. Los Manyos: Climbing from 5c to 7b, beutiful rock. Long aproach march, around 1hr going uphill.
      8. Chacabuco: Lead climbing next to Santiago. Easy to camp, climbing from 5c to 7b, medium aproach march (20 min ascent).
      9. Pangal: Climbing from 5c to 7a. Short aproach, 10 min. Need your own car to get here.

Climbing in Argentina

We loved climbing in Argentina, there are many many great sectors and plenty with short aproach. At times we found it difficult to get the Topos.

Indoor

  • Salta Janujman Climbing gym: Small gym with plenty of friendly and knowledgeble climbers. Great to get good advice on where to climb and where to find the latest topos.

Outdoor

  • Provincia de San Juan: Topos for the whole province can be found at XXXX.XX. Many climbing spots for all levels, we only got the chance to go to Valle Fertil which was great, we parked right infront of the sector called techitos. We had shade, a river where we  could wash ourselfs, and great phisical routes just infront.
  • North of Argentina: We visited two spots in the north, but there are many more. A lot of information about topos can be found at www.facebook.com/rokeros.ar at the images section. Also you can ask climbers in the same page for advice or topos. The places we checked out where
    • Tafi del Valle, where we could’t climb because of the rain, but the area and samall town are beautiful. There was climbing for all levels. We found the topos at wikiloc.
      • TOPOS: https://es.wikiloc.com/rutas-escalada/vias-de-escalada-el-mollar-tafi-del-valle-17469678
    • Cafayate, great slab climbing, very technical. The spot is 2km away from Cafayate and you can either camp right next to the routes or at Cafayate. The routes are behind the property of the Lera Family, who have set a camping area for climbers. Ask for Gustavo who can help you with the aproach to the further sectors, Disney Rock for example.

Climbing in Bolivia

Climbing is not that big in Bolivia, yet, but it has great potential. We only visited one spot and it was AMAZING.

Outdoor

  • El Edén – Climbers Paradise: This sector is just amazing, the rock is volcanic and you can find all kinds of climbing. There’s climbing for all levels, and the spot is really beautiful. There is a refuge where you can stay for free and make a donation at the end. The key to the door is under a tile next to it. If you need to enter with you car, you can ask for « La Llave de la tranca » to the locals that live next to the refuge. German Huanaco is part of the family who owns the property, he is really kind and helpfull. You can contact him through whatsapp at:+59173877064 to notice him of your visit.

Climbing in Perú

Perú has alot of potential and alot of developed climbing spots. We visited the following.

Indoor

  • Lima – PIRQA: 15 m high indoor walls in the best neighbourhood in Lima, Miraflores. After a session you can either go party or have a great dinner close by. There is climbing for all levels and both boulder and routes are great. Really clean, friendly staff and a parking lot right infront. Definitely worth a stop if in Lima.

Outdoor

  • Pitumarca: Amazing volcanic asphalt rock with climbing for all levels. There is 100+ routes ranging from vertical to overhanging. The spot has been developed by the fellows of cuscos climbing gym 7a who have done a great job. The altitude is 4200m, so get prepared. The road to the spot is a 7km kind of narrow dirt road that starts from Pitumarca, we strugled a bit on our Peugeot Boxer 2WD but we made it all the way up.
  • Hatun Machay: La Meca of climbers in Perú and one of the best spots in South America. The sector was discoverd and developed in its begginigs by an Argentinian climber and entrepeneur who equiped most of the routes and developed clambing in the area. At the same time, he built a high quility refuge and made money through renting rooms and serving food. Unfortunately as the years passed there was friction between him and the locals and things ended up badly, for some time the sector was closed and now that it has reopened the refuge is detroyed and some routes are missing the first bolts. Non the less Hatun Machay has recoverd with the help of local climbers and its more than 300 routes are all waiting to be sent.
    The altitude is 4300m and the weather is rainy during the summer (Dic-Feb), but you can still climb in the mornings as it rains in the afternoons. The road is mostly asphalted and the last 5km are well mantained kind of flat dirt road, no problems for 2WD when is not raining while you drive this last part.

Climbing in Ecuador

Climbing in Ecuador is quite developed, there are many gyms in the main cities and rock climbing spots are well equiped and signaled.

Indoor

  • Cuenca
  • Quito
    • Campo 4: The biggest indoor boulder gym in Quito. Its spacy and has many problems with change everyweek. The day pass is 7USD. [PAGINA WEB PENDIENTE]

Outdoor

Rock climbing is great in Ecuador. We visited two of the main spots but there are many more. Our recomendation is to watch the videos ofLatitud Cero Climbing on youtube that give you a great overview of all the rock climbing spots in Ecuador.

  • Paute: Awesome sport climbing 1hr away from Cuenca. There is climbing for all levels and you can either park your van or pitch your tent at the bottom of the routes (30min walk up) at a secluded even area next to a creek.
    • TOPOS: They can be found online at monodedo or you can swing by C3 climbing gym in Cuenca before heading here and check out the topos.
  • San Juan: In our opinion one of the best spots we have visited, even worth it if you do not climb. There is climbing for all levels and preferences. The camping area, in case you sleep in your tent, is at the bottom of the routes, and surrounded by rock, a waterfall and a natural water source (small creek). And if you are not into camping, there is a refuge where you can stay and sleep in a bed and they cook for you as-well, of course this option is more expensive.

Climbing in Colombia

Climbing was amazing in Colombia, is well developed and there is many hard routes and strong climbers.

Indoor

We didn’t have the time to visit any indoor gym while in Colombia, but we saw there was many good looking gyms in Medellin and Bogota.

Outdoor

Colombia has some really really great climbing parks, and the only privately owned one that we have ever visited.

  • Machetá: Hard overhanging routes, thats the summary of this place. Its really close to Bogota, 1,5hr drive, theres hostels/refuges where you can stay, aproach is a 25min walk uphill on a decently signaled path, routes are hard and mostly overhanging and they range from 6c to 8c.
    • TOPOS: not online but can be bought at refugio paraiso de la roca that is just at the bottom of the routes, before the approach. You can look for el refugio in gmaps before hand.
  • La Mojarra: What a paradise. This privately owned place cosists on more than 200 routes of different levels (5b to 8c) and types. The rock is magnific and the hostels, just minutes away from the routes, are outstanding. When entering the park for the first time you have to pass a quick empirical test to show you know what you are doing, if this is not the case for you (just getting started), someone else has to sign taking responsability for you, and pass the test of course. If you are staying at Refugio la roca day passes are included, other whise you have to pay 3USD for each day of climbing.
    • TOPOS: can be found at the entrance of the park, where you can take pictures of them.

Climbing in Mexico

Mexico is world known for its great climbing spots. While we were here we got the chance to visit a few of them.

Outdoor

  • Arcotete (San Cristobal de las Casas): As if San Cristobal wasn’t amazing enough, with its yoga studios, great affordable food, beautiful markets and cold weather (yes we needed to escape from the warm weather of the sea level Mexico) it has great climbing just 20min away. Arcotete consists in an Arch with a river that goes through it and you have got great roof climbing. There is about 40 routes, some easy ones but mostly really physical one considering they are mostly overhanging and pass by the roof.
    • TOPOS: You can find them online at: or ask the climber who equipped the area who’s name is Martin through his facebook page.
  • Potrero Chico: Amazing us expected. This amazing rock park, which Alex Honnold made world famous after free soloing the multi pitch Sendero Luminoso. For camping/parking you can either wild camp next to the crag, which isn’t quite at all, or go indulge yourself at La Posada, which we recomend 110%.

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