Realizing a Dream to Rock Climb in Patagonia

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.

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I love it


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

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Not a bad place to hang out and belay

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Jenine heading up the wall

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The view of camp Frey below from the top of the surrounding cliffs

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.

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Cooking breakfast at our sunrise spot at Camp Frey - Bariloche Argentina

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Enjoy the view of Aguja "The Needle" one of the most popular climbs in Frey

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The Andes

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Heading back to camp Frey after a long day of climbing

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.

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Luciano giving us motivation to get to the top

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Nice place for lunch

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.

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Jenine climbing up Torre Principal

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We both made it! The view was nothing short of incredible at the highest peak near Bariloche Argentina

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That little finger in the distance is Torre Principal which is the highest point in the valley and where we climbing on our 3rd day

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Back to climbing on Day four. This was actually the hardest route a 5.11 section above

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.

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This place is just unbelievably beautiful right?

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After rock climbing, we headed back down to Bariloche and camped on one of the beautiful lakes

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A double fisherman's knot I believe

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.

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Puerto Varas - we camped next to this statue on our way to Bariloche Argentina

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Just about my favorite spot in the world

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First climb in Frey

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Cooking breakfast at our sunrise spot at Camp Frey - Bariloche Argentina

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Enjoy the view of Aguja "The Needle" one of the most popular climbs in Frey

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Not a bad place to hang out and belay

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Learning the ropes at Frey

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Building some confidence

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Jenine heading up the wall

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The view of camp Frey below from the top of the surrounding cliffs

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Jenine was a natural climber

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Heading back to camp Frey after a long day of climbing

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Laguna Frey

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Jenine climbing up Torre Principal

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Torre Principal with a great view of the mountains in the back

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Luciano giving us motivation to get to the top

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Jenine about to summit torre principal

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We both made it! The view was nothing short of incredible at the highest peak near Bariloche Argentina

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We did it!

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View from about with Bariloche in the distance

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Luciano the stud - our fearless leader

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I love it

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Nice place for lunch

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Jenine about ready to rappel down Torre Principal

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Jenine rappeling down the Torre

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The Andes

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That little finger in the distance is Torre Principal which is the highest point in the valley and where we climbing on our 3rd day

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This place is just unbelievably beautiful right?

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Sunrise over Frey

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Sunrise at camp

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Back to climbing on Day four. This was actually the hardest route a 5.11 section above

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Working through the hardest section of the week

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After rock climbing, we headed back down to Bariloche and camped on one of the beautiful lakes

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Working on my knots!!

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A double fisherman's knot I believe

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The camping around Bariloche is the best in the world, I think

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After reading "The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, we decided to tiddy up the van by giving away about 1/3 of our stuff....

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Jenine doesn't like to part with her things, but she did a great job Tidying Up - Marie Kondo would be proud

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Jenine summiting Torre Principal in Frey Bariloche

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The BEST chocolates in the World - Mamuschkas from Bariloche...

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2 comments on “Realizing a Dream to Rock Climb in Patagonia
  1. jared zlotnick says:

    was just looking up that spot! beautiful! and so cool to find this hobby together.

  2. Patty says:

    All the two of you have experienced together is exhilarating and calming at the same time. I am so happy for you. I know you are flying back today. As you know, this part of the world you will have to seek out the exhilarating and calming. It is easy to get swept back into the ugly American way of life. But I have faith, that is not you two. You will be the calm in the storm, or what we think is a storm. We Americans are so dramatic. Hey do either of you want to run for president? Our two choices are rather distasteful. We have one that encourages riots and the other can’t tell the truth to save her life. Wow, did I digress: (. We love and miss you. Can’t wait to see you!