When we started planning for this trip, we fantasied about all the free time we’d have to perfect amazing new hobbies. For me one of these dreams was to learn traditional rock climbing and do some cool climbs in Patagonia during our travels. But in reality, being always on the move can make it challenging to pick up a new sport. There is so much cool stuff to do (trekking, surfing, kiting, yoga….) and we also needed to balance out what each other wanted to do. Additionally, frequently factors like the weather just didn’t line up, like when I convinced Jenine to camp 3 weeks in Los Barriles Baja to let me kitesurf and the wind didn’t blow for two weeks.
It looked like a rock climbing trip wasn’t going to be in the cards either. We first wanted to climb in Cochamó valley in Chile, but that was too advanced. Then we struck out our first time in Bariloche Argentina in December due to limited guide availability and then again in El Chaltén Argentina due to a week of intense winds. However, we finally scored the rock climbing trip of our dreams in late March when we drove back through Bariloche while driving back north in Chile almost at the very end of our adventure.
This short week we spent climbing in Refugio Frey in the Argentinian Andes just outside of Bariloche was beyond incredible. We are both hooked, and it might be the first sport that Jenine and I actually do together 🙂 Jenine might be the better climber with her good balance and light frame – all that yoga paying off. It was so much fun, that maybe if we had gone climbing early in the trip, we might have spent the whole 18 months climbing
Our rock climbing trip was made posible by the guides at Andescross in Bariloche. We spent 5 day camping in the valley (which was the best free camping I’ve ever seen) This allowed for maximum time on the rock. The climbing in Frey is world class and incredibly beautiful. Climbers come from all over the world to camp in this gorgeous valley and attempt these amazingly scenic routes. March is probably the best time to visit too, as we heard that the camp is very crowded in January and February, but we shared the place with just a small group of awesome climbers.
Our guide was Luciano Fiorenza who is a local legend. He’s opened many many new routes in Frey, Fitz Roy, Cochamo and all over the world. He was an excellent teacher and pushed us very hard.
At the end of the week we were tackling 5.10 routes and we climbed the highest tower in Frey, Torre Principal a 5 pitch route. This was a full day climb, and the views were beyond incredible. All though Luciano was the one always leading, the route really tested us to the core. Reaching the top also instilled such a wonderful love / rush of the sport that still today I get chills thinking about it.
It was an unforgettable time and it has us already ordering gear and planning future trips into the Cascades when we get back to Oregon in June and July.
See all the pics here.. Also some pics of the big van clean up we did after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up . We literally got rid of about 40% of the things in our van. I wish we had read this book before we left. I HIGHLY recommend it.