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Cochamó Valley in Chilean Patagonia is at Risk

An effort to protect thousands of acres of endangered forest has been launched by grassroots organizers

A petition by the Chilean government has been launched to protect Cochamó Valley in Chile from potentially being sold to private developers and to make the area a Nature Sanctuary. Up to one-third of the area is on the market

The area has been called the Yosemite of South America thanks to the number of big walls up to 1,000 metres and steep forested areas. It’s been at the centre of an international climbing scene for decades. There are no roads and the climate is similar to Squamish.

Climbing started back in the late 1990s when Crispin Waddy cut a trail into the base of one of the walls. He returned the next year with a team and climbed three new routes on Trinidad in 1998: Ides of March, Sundance and Welcome to the Jungle. There are now over 200 routes, from easy trad climbs to multi-pitch adventures and 5.13 sport climbs.

A 131,000-hectare privately-owned hacienda in Cochamó Valley was on the market a few years, but was taken off. It was recently re-listed for US $150 million. There are no legal protections to the land or resources. There are important archeological findings from the Tehuelche culture, huge redwood trees and several endangered species, like the condor, puma and the Southern Darwin’s Frog. For recreationalists, it offers world-class hiking, kayaking, fishing and climbing.

The organizers of the petition hope to get the attention of the Chilean government in order to declare the land a Santuarios de la Naturaleza or Nature Sanctuary to stop any projects that could impact the valley. Over 67,000 people have signed the online petition as of today. Sign the petition here.

Climbing in Cochamó Valley