There are so many things I will miss about traveling, not least of which are the funny little oddities that occur when switching back and forth between two similar languages. Saw this gem in Ushuaia while we were in route to meet the Germans buying our van! (more…)
After a quick drive where we nearly ran out of gas thanks to limits on how much fuel you can buy per day at gas stations, we arrived in El Calafate and wasted no time driving straight out to the Perito Moreno glacier. It was astounding. When we drove around the corner and saw it for the first time I was absolutely astonished by its size and how close we were to it! (more…)
I can’t really think of a better word to describe our trip south from Mendoza. A force, a campaign, a giant van, and momentum. Unstoppable movement. We hit the road with our freshly repaired van as well as something very unfamiliar to us thus far: a deadline! We would have a lot to do and see before meeting the buyers of the Craggin’ Wagon in Ushuaia: thousands and thousands of kilometers to drive, multiple rock climbing destinations, insanely beautiful national parks, massive glaciers… it’s a long list. So we went bombing down the famous Route 40 towards Patagonia with a tail wind so strong I wondered if we were using any gas at all. Patagonian winds are wonderful… when they’re behind you!
The meat sweats. A joyous, sometimes unintentional consequence of awesomeness? A higher state of protein infused enlightenment? A rare and prestigious achievement of compulsive hyper consumption? In my eyes the meat sweats encompass all of that and more. One thing is for certain, the meat sweats have been a plentiful occurrence in Mendoza. But first, just how did we get to Argentina – this wine soaked mystical steak heaven? Well, it’s an oil burning, wallet busting story, but it’s a story worth telling nonetheless. I mean, how often does one get to drive a campfire van named Bertha over the Chilean Andes?!
Planning on Selling Your Rig at the End of the World?
We had done a great deal of research into this and still found ourselves surprised when we tried to execute the steps. The process seemed pretty simple:
Sign the title over
Go to a notary and get a power of attorney
Go to Aduanas to cancel and reissue import papers.
We visited three of the four notaries in Ushuaia and were told the same thing at all of them. Apparently they cannot issue a poder if the title hasn’t been officially translated into spanish. This, we were told, could only be done in Buenos Aires.
So, we did the best we could with what we had available:
First, we downloaded a standard bill of sale for used vehicles in both spanish and english and printed them out. We then signed and exchanged a version of each with each other.
I signed the title over to him and made a copy of it for my records.
I photoshopped my Colorado registration for the vehicle and replaced his name with mine. We never used our title at borders, only our registration paper. And although this registration would be a fake, there didn’t seem to be a more effective, better option.
Finally, we took our papers to the Aduanas office where a woman canceled my import permit in her computer but told him he could get his new import paper only at the border. We inquired as to whether it was okay to drive without import papers to the border to which she responded that he needed to carry the bill of sale, title, and my (supposedly) canceled import paper with him.
Escaladas en Mendoza has fairly good info for most areas in both English and Spanish. You can purchase it at any climbing store in Mendoza.
Arenales – Arenales is awesome and not to be missed. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive South of Mendoza. You can park before customs and climb multipitch trad with a short approach, park at customs and climb tons of trad or sport, or continue up the valley for legit alpine. Don’t forget your passport! If heading up valley, the camping at the refugio is excellent. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk from the car, so you can shuttle supplies in pretty easily without breaking your back. The refugio is great for cooking and hanging out in. You can sleep upstairs on very old mattresses/floor or bring a tent and pitch it in one of numerous good, flat spots around the area. They say the water is fine to drink without treatment, but given the amount of cow shit around I opted to use my filter. The approaches for the alpine routes are harder and longer than they look. There aren’t really any trails going up the scree and it’s as steep as anything you’ve hiked. For a big day, try Mejor No Hablar de Ciertas Cosas (Better Not to Speak of Certain Things), 500m / 6b (1,640 ft / 10c), ~16 pitches, it is everything you would expect from a big alpine route. You will definitely need two ropes for Arenales.
El Salto – Up highway 7 towards Chile. It’s about an hour drive from Mendoza, just outside of Portrerillos. Fun sport, good place to burn a day. The left side is all fun, easy 10s, all the routes in the wave are 12 and up.
Portrerillos Area – On highway 7 before get to Portrerillos are two canyons with sport routes in them. There is also a area near the river in Portrerillos. These spots aren’t well documented in the Mendoza guide, the best info I found on it was here: http://josieroquerandthedude.blogspot.com.ar/2013/02/topoe-s-c-r-b-j-omzaarg.html
The Frey – Well, if you’re a climber and you’ve made it this far, the Frey doesn’t really need an introduction. Endless, perfect, splitter alpine spires just out of town. Spectacular setting, even better rock. Amazing!!! There’s tons of other stuff to climb around Barriloche but we pressed on to be sure we’d be in Ushuaia in time to meet our buyers.
If you see a cliff or some rock somewhere, it’s probably developed. If the weather isn’t good or you’re not climbing one of the infamous, giant alpine routes, there is infinite sport opportunity everywhere you look. We saw lots of people bouldering as well. Also, if you’re going to sell gear on your trip, this is THE place to do it – just stop by Porter’s and start chatting up the locals.
If you’ve been following our climbing posts we didn’t want you to think there wasn’t anything good in the Northern and Central parts of Chile. Unfortunately because we were having mechanical issues with our van that forced us to high tail it to Mendoza we were unable to stop at many spots that we would have otherwise not missed.
One place was about an hour south of San Pedro de Atacama called Toconao (Quebrada de Jerez). Definitely bring supplies to camp and climb in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. There is also a ton of climbing around the Santiago area, too much to list here having not been there ourselves.
Hopefully when we get further south we’ll dip back into Chile and update this page accordingly.