Four strong climbers recently visited Valle de la Plata in Chile’s Northern Patagonia and established a new 16-pitch 700-metre 7a (5.11+) they called Bailando con la Lluvia. Max Didier, Austin Siadak, Ian Siadak and Siebe Vanhee’s new route is the first up the west face of Pared de La Plata.
“In three climbing days over a span of eight days, we fixed ropes and climbed to the summit,” said Vanhee, “mostly in very unstable and wet conditions.”
On their first ascent, they climbed it at A2, but returned to free it at 7a (5.11+). The wall had been attempted in 2014 by four other climbers, but was unclimbed until February 2020. This area has a number of unclimbed big walls. See below for more about the splitter looking line.
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Well, we went looking for big granite, and we definitely found it. Phew! The last three weeks truly felt like a different universe. There will be a lot of moments from this trip to share, but this had to be one of the best. Soaking in the last rays of sun from our portaledge camp high on Pared de La Plata, having just finished most of our work to open a route to the previously unclimbed summit above us, finally getting a chance to simply relax and enjoy the stillness- a rarity during an experience mostly filled by brutal bushwhacking and biblical rain. Thankfully it was still happy hour at the “Serranía Saloon” (named after the 1300m wall in the background) and we took the opportunity to close the place down in style (swipe left for video 🙂 I am beyond indebted to @siebevanhee @maxdidier_ and @iansiadak for their Herculean efforts, the bellyaching laughs, and for being the best team I could have imagined. ¡Son titanes!
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* Bailando con la Lluvia ? ??? * In three climbing days over the period of our first 8 days camping below the wall, we managed to reach the summit using fixed ropes. The unnamed peak and wall we baptized “Pared de la Plata”. This first ascent we called “Bailando con la Lluvia” (Dancing with the rain). This name refers to the difficulty we experienced these days climbing in between the rain curtains that turned the walls into raging waterfalls. We sneaked into every little peephole (tiny weather window) to reach that summit on a very grey, unstable day. On this first ascent, the obvious itinerary of pitches 10 to 12 didn’t go free because of the wetness, mud and moss in the cracks. Check out the second picture. We returned two days later with a good weather window ahead. We packed our well-prepared big wall kit and moved camp up on the wall, to the top of what we called “Puerto Pillar”. The next one and a half day we freeclimbed a variation to the left of the original aid pitches, check the third picture. One hand-drilled bolt was necessary to traverse out left into another corner system at pitch 10. This was the beautiful freeclimbing we were looking for. “Bailando con la Lluvia” has an original aid version (7a / A2, 16 pitches, 700m, Yellow Line on topo) and a free variation to the left (7a, 16pitches, 700m, Red Line on topo). Pared de la Plata has first been attempted in 2014 by Tola Señoret, Juan Señoret, Mike Sanchez and Sebastian Schmidt but the wall remained unclimbed (Blue line on topo). They climbed fourteen pitches, retreating just shy of the end of the difficulties. “Bailando con la Lluvia” shares parts of pitch three and four with their attempt in 2014. Many thanks to all the locals in Chaíten and Puerto Cárdenas for helping us with logistics. Big thanks to local gaucho Pierre Angelo who helped us cross Rio Avalancha by horse on our first day. Thanks to Rolo Garibotti for the accurate weather report, crucial for that threatening summit day! @thenorthface @thenorthface_climb @thenorthfaceuk @thenorthfacede @thenorthfaceit @lasportivagram @avventuraoutdoor @climbskinspain @frigyesvandenauweele @sportpraktijk @klimclubhungaria