Trip Report
My summer in Patagonia...with a wee bit of climbing
Tuesday March 6, 2018 11:04am
I just returned from nearly three months at our home in first summer for the 2018 calendar year.
Angela relaxing in our living room in Patagonia
Angela relaxing in our living room in Patagonia
Credit: donini
We were greeted within hours by Stumpy our adopted Caracara. This is the fourth year in a row that he has appeared on our deck. You can see his handicap, he was probably caught in a fox trap. Somehow he makes it thru Patagonia winters.
Credit: donini
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Our first trip was to the Exploradores Valley to fish for salmon. It is blessed with some beautiful virgin rainforest.
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
I got lucky and caught a 18 pound Chinook
Credit: donini
The evening clouds were special
Credit: donini
The trout fishing was pretty good too
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Credit: donini
Pack rafting was one of our main past times
Angela on the Rio Salto
Angela on the Rio Salto
Credit: donini
And a bit of kayaking
Credit: donini
And of course an asado
Credit: donini
For several years I had noticed an attractive peak on the western skyline when driving south on the Carretera Austral.
Credit: donini
A little research determined that it’s name was Cerro Chueco and that it was unclimbed.
Angela and I took an exploratory two day hike to see if we could find a way to the peak.
The forest was open enough to negotiate...thank god!
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There were several river crossings.
Angela negotiating the Rio Maiten
Angela negotiating the Rio Maiten
Credit: donini
I made two additional solo hikes into the area and established a cache above tree line directly below the peak.
Credit: donini
A couple of weeks later my partner from two years ago, Tad McCrea, arrived from guiiding Aconcagua and off we went.
Credit: donini
A little phot essay of the climb.
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
The summer ended with me scoring a helicopter ride with my research geologist frieng, Greg De Pascale, to collect rock samples from the San Valentin (highest peak in Patagonia area.
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Credit: donini
Off to Cochise Stronghold tomorrow in search of warm rock.

  Trip Report Views: 2,619
About the Author
donini is a trad climber from Ouray, Colorado.

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Grizzlyville, WY
  Mar 6, 2018 - 11:29am PT
Wonderful. Absolutely gorgeous geography.

Thanks for sharing!

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Mar 6, 2018 - 11:39am PT
Thanks for shareing!

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
  Mar 6, 2018 - 11:45am PT
Some folks know how to live ! Thanks for the share Jim.

Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
  Mar 6, 2018 - 11:45am PT
Congrats on your FA, Jim and Tad!

Great you had a very nice first Summer this year, and hope the second one will be even better.

Have fun at Cochise,


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Mar 6, 2018 - 12:01pm PT
Jim: Always great to see how you manage to amuse yourself in the mountains. Thank you for taking the time to share your adventures.
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Mar 6, 2018 - 12:02pm PT
Awesome, thank you!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Mar 6, 2018 - 12:08pm PT
Jim, you are truly an inspiration for me.

You continually overcome the inertia of life,
get out there and seize the good stuff,
and bring back samples to share with us all.
Thank you.

Blue Ridge Mts, Shenandoah River
  Mar 6, 2018 - 12:17pm PT

Trad climber
  Mar 6, 2018 - 12:43pm PT
Almost heaven..

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
  Mar 6, 2018 - 01:00pm PT
So glad Stumpy is still with us and loyal to his stomach. Judi and I enjoyed Stumpy and I took many pictures of him. Thanks for sharing your adventures.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Mar 6, 2018 - 01:50pm PT
Tough duty, but somebody has to do it. Glad it’s you.

Trad climber
Red Rock
  Mar 6, 2018 - 03:49pm PT

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Mar 6, 2018 - 04:25pm PT
That last picture is a great example of three glaciers dumping into what is essentially a fjord (or maybe glacial lake?). It would be interesting to take a picture of the same scene on the same date, say, 10 years from now. The middle one is already disconnected from the water on this date.

  Mar 6, 2018 - 04:23pm PT
I don't see any traffic jams, nor any hoards of people, nor any Mcdonalds hamburger stands, no malls, subways, freeways, etc.

Donini is spreading fake news for sure ...... :-)

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Mar 6, 2018 - 04:27pm PT
That is not a tidewater glacier. It's the Leones Glacier dropping into Lago Leones at about 1,000 ft. above sea level. On the other side of the ice cap the San Rafael Glacier enters a salt water fjord at approximately 46.5 degrees south latitude making it the closest tidewater glacier to the equator in the world.

The Leones hasn't changed dramactically, at least from a distance, in the twenty years I have been viewing it.

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Mar 6, 2018 - 04:57pm PT
Nice to know.

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
  Mar 6, 2018 - 05:15pm PT
Looks glorious! TFPU :)
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 6, 2018 - 06:04pm PT
Awesomeness abounds 👍👍
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 6, 2018 - 07:33pm PT
Nice Jim. What a beautiful area. What do you do with your place when you are not there?

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Mar 6, 2018 - 08:52pm PT
What a neat looking dike on that rock!
So when are you inviting me down, Jim?
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 6, 2018 - 09:23pm PT

T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Mar 6, 2018 - 09:43pm PT
Livin large Jim!

Gym climber
  Mar 6, 2018 - 09:56pm PT
Congratulations, Jim!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Mar 6, 2018 - 11:32pm PT
Nice giant brownie, Angela! Olé!
colin rowe

Mountain climber
scotland uk
  Mar 7, 2018 - 03:34am PT
Mr Donini is a climber I admire and I aspire to follow in his footsteps in the service of a good life well lived.

Balcarce, Argentina
  Mar 7, 2018 - 04:09am PT
An asador who plays the bandoneon and chivito for 30 people; that must have been quite the fiesta!

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Mar 7, 2018 - 05:16am PT
Living the good life!

Ice climber
  Mar 7, 2018 - 07:55am PT
Charming report sir. If you don't mind my asking what song were you listening to?

Thanks for id yanqui.

Día del Bandoneón

Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Mar 7, 2018 - 06:35am PT
Jim, Thanks. You really are an inspiration.
John M

  Mar 7, 2018 - 06:38am PT
splendid summer! I'm salivating over that salmon and drinking in the views. Thank you for sharing this with us Jim.

  Mar 7, 2018 - 07:02am PT
Nice TR. Too bad the fish were so small!

So, did you climb up that white dike?

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
  Mar 7, 2018 - 07:07am PT
Hey, could you put in a piece of pro?

Great photos, a fun climb and a great chinook.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Mar 7, 2018 - 08:10am PT
wonderful "what I did on my Summer break" report Jim...

...IC is calling but finding an open time is a work in progress.

Social climber
  Mar 7, 2018 - 08:51am PT

Sweet JD, but tell us more about this place...

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Social climber
great white north
  Mar 7, 2018 - 09:42am PT
Cracking good report Jim!
Nice job on that FA, the pic of that quartz dyke was something to behold.
The fish looked ok too....
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Mar 8, 2018 - 08:15am PT
Every time you post your great photos of Central Patagonia, I have to get on Google Earth to relive a 2 week visit out of Coyhaique from 12 years ago ;-)
3 days in Puerto Rio Tranquilo were our highlight.
Thanks for all your TR's.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 8, 2018 - 09:20am PT
The stuff of fantasy yet again Maestro as you pursue the Endless Summer of early surfing fame.
Have a blast in the Stronghold. I hope Geir points you at some uncrowded gems of which there are many since you clearly don't mind walking a bit.
Jim Clipper

  Mar 8, 2018 - 11:47am PT
Thanks for beautifying the taco. Trip of a lifetime for most mortals. You deserve a retirement.

  Mar 8, 2018 - 12:22pm PT
Life goals... your version of retirement is pretty sweet Jim.


  Mar 16, 2018 - 11:36am PT
Jim spoke with Andy Anderson about his climbs in Chile for the new episode of the AAJ's Cutting Edge podcast. It's great fun to hear him tell these stories.

Social climber
  Mar 16, 2018 - 01:37pm PT

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JD is this where your at?

Social climber
Butterfly Town
  Mar 17, 2018 - 06:35am PT
Looks like a great time down there. Thanks for sharing!
PSP also PP

Trad climber
  Mar 18, 2018 - 11:08am PT
WOW! Amazing place.
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