Trip Reports: Jungle Granite - Cochamó, Chile - November 2011

After waiting in the rain in Puerto Varas for a week, we finally got a better weather forecast and headed out for a six day backpacking trip to the impressive Cochamó valley in Chile. We might have jumped the gun by a day or two, since it rained the entire way up; the ten mile hike was totally wet and muddy, with countless bogs and knee deep creeks to cross.

Cochamó, jungle, hiking, Chile, Cochamo, photo

Cochamó Jungle

Hiking through the wet temperate rain forest in the Cochamó valley.

Soaking wet upon arrival, we spent the first night in the Refugio Cochamó, where we dried out a bit and even had a wood-fired shower!

Chile, Cochamó, Cochamo, South America, reflection, Cerro La Junta, photo

Cochamó Reflection

Cerro La Junta towers above the Cochamó valley.

We spent the next four nights camping in our tent in the campground at La Junta, and doing hikes during the days. Fortunately the weather did get better, and we had a number of sunny days mixed in with the rainy days.

Chile, Cochamo, South America, Cochamó, sunset, reflection, photo

Cochamó Sunset

Cochamó, Chile, river, Cochamo, photo

Cochamó River Rocks

Sunrise light along the Cochamó River.

Cochamó, Chile, Cochamo, photo

Cochamó Stones

Cocham, Chile, Cochamo, Cochamó, photo

La Junta Cabin

Cerro La Junta towers above a cabin in the Cochamó valley.

Cerro La Junta, Cocham, Cochamó, Chile, Cochamo, photo

Cerro La Junta

The granite walls of Cerro La Junta (1677m) tower above the temperate rain forest of the Cochamó valley in Chile - November.

The Cochamó valley is known mainly in climbing circles, due to the vast granite walls that rise above the rain forest on both sides of the valley. The locals and resident climbers have blazed a network of trails to access the various walls and peaks – these “trails” are actually often more like roped via ferrate, with seriously challenging scrambling, climbing, and route-finding puzzles up through the steep, thick forest, and over exposed granite slabs. The vista above was a reward of an intense hike that was one of the most challenging (and fun) hikes yet for me in the Andes!