Rock climbers at the los huasama area in chile

Here it is, the internet’s most complete destination guide for the Valle de los Condores of Chile. 

Today you’ll learn absolutely everything you need to know about Chile’s premier rock climbing destination. 

And the best part?

We’ve done all the work so that you don’t have to. 

Rest assured.

You’re in the right place if you want to learn all things about rock climbing in the Valle de los Condores! 

Let’s jump right in. 

A Quick Overview of the Valle de los Condores


In this article you’ll find:
The Valle de los Condores is one of Chile’s top sport climbing and trad destinations. 

Apart from Cochamo for its Yosemite-esqe granite bigwalls, the Valle de los Condores is the only destination I’ve found in Chile which I would consider to be world-class destination quality. 

Located high in the Chilean Andes mountains, near the Argentine border, the area has many cliffs scattered around a relatively flat, high, arid plateau surrounded by high mountains. 

To date there are around 450 routes, with a potential for many more. 

If you’re looking to find climbers, head on over to our FB GROUP and drop a post with your dates!

The climbing sits on top of a large and very exposed plateau, broken up by a braided river—El Rió Maule.

The rock is basalt, but not the hexagonal columns one associates with basalt, although there is some of that as well. 

Mostly, the rock is large, smooth, utterly frictionless panels of basalt formed in crazy geometric shapes. 

It’s a difficult style to adapt to, as you can’t smear anywhere. A sloping shelf would be a bomber stance on granite, but on this rock is slick as glass. 

Why Go Climbing At The Valle de los Condores?

Stream with cliffs in the background

In the past few years, the Valle de los Condores has risen from an obscure destination to one of the most well known climbing areas in South America. 

This can be directly credited to the area being visited by some of the world’s most famous climbers such as Adam Ondra, Alex Honnold and Alex Megos. 

The area is broken up into various sectors which have differing styles and grades. 

Where the Valle de los Condores really shines is in its very steep sport climbs, with lots of large hold, heel hooks and powerful big moves, particularly in at grades of 6c+ and up. 

If this sounds like you, look no further. 

Apart from the climbing, the area itself is incredibly beautiful. 

The area has that sense of utter isolation and peacefulness found in rare pockets of the planet. 

This, combined with a very strong local Chilean climbing community, makes the Valle de los Condores a special place. Worth taking the trip down to Chile to visit. 

When To Go To The Valle de los Condores? 

Valle de los Condores SEND TEMPS!

The Valle de los Condores is located at an elevation of 1800m (5900ft). 

It has an arid climate, with a very strong sunlight to warm up the temperatures during the day, and temperatures that plummet in the night. 

Wind is common here all year, and in general never stops. 

Winter is the only time that is considered the off season, as the temperatures drop way below freezing and often stay there, even during the days. 

climber on layback pinch on chile's suenos de cumbre
Colin O’Connor on “Sueños de Cumbre” (6c+), Pared Talca Sector

The best times of year are the shoulder seasons, fall and spring, when the temperatures are still relatively cool, but are manageable. 

You can visit in the summers, but it can get very hot, so it is not recommended. 

Keep in mind as well, that there are a nice mix of exposures and overhanging areas, meaning that you can pretty much always find something to climb. 

The ‘best’ months of the year are probably the fall months of March and April and the spring months of October and November. 

Keep in mind, with any alpine destination, that the weather is unpredictable and can change very rapidly. Many times you’ll experience all 4 seasons in one day! 

The only thing you can be sure about here is the wind. It is important that you have ample warm clothes and a very warm sleeping bag or you will be miserable. 

Suggested Packing List For the Valle de los Condores

Travel Insurance


Be aware that your health insurance will not cover you in Chile. 

Being uncovered while doing a “high” risk activity like destination adventure rock climbing is a recipe for disaster.  

(Not to mention)

Many travel insurance companies say they cover “adventure” sports like climbing, only to discover that once you read the fine print they add in special inclusions like requiring you to climb with a certified guide to be covered.

If you’re looking to find climbers, head on over to our FB GROUP and drop a post with your dates!

The fastest, easiest and most respected travel insurance in the world which covers rock climbing is World Nomads

Not only will it cover you in case you get hurt, but will also insure your flights and luggage in case anything happens. 

Be sure to select the “Explorer Plan” on the next page so that you’ll be covered for outdoor rock climbing! 

Go here to read more about travel insurance and you can’t travel without it!

60m Rope

The large majority of routes at the Valle de los Condores can be climbed with a 60m route. 

There are most likely some exceptions, but unfortunately the guide doesn’t include the route lengths. 

Nothing too specific needed here, pretty much a single rope will get you up the routes. 

Trad Rack

A big percentage of the Valle de los Condores climbs are trad, so it is definitely worth bringing some gear along. 

Your rack will depend slightly on what you want to climb, but a full rack to #4 with doubles on them from .3 to #1 will get you up most of the routes. 

Quick Draws

Regarding the quick draws, the routes are “relatively” short, meaning that you can get up most routes with a rack of 15. 

I’d suggest bringing a few more if you’re looking to leave up some projects, which there are many to be had, but you don’t need to bring too many. 

I’ll also note that there are virtually no multi-pitches here except for a few of the megga hard routes in the Carcel sector, which are only accessible from climbing the routes below. 

Camping Gear

MSR camp stove

The Valle de los Condores is 100% camping, so you’ll have to bring it all in with you: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, etc…

You’ll also be cooking all of your food yourself, which means all the normal cooking supplies. 

The only thing to note regarding cooking is that due to the savage wind here, I would suggest some sort of wind resistant cooking set up like the ever popular Jetboil or the MSR WindBurner

Where is the Valle de los Condores and How Do You Get There?

Panoramic view of la carcel sector in chile

The Valle de los Condores is located in a very rural part of Chile where the only other industry is mining. 

It is possible to get there without a car, but it will require a bit of hitchhiking at the end. 

My advice would be to rent a car, not only so that you can arrive easily, but so that you can stock up on supplies as there are absolutely no amenities near the climbing. 

Cheap rental cars can be found in Santiago and all across Chile. Reservations can be made here and should be done ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling during the high seasons (summer). 

If you’re coming by car, simply head to up to this location, where you’ll find a large parking lot immediately after a mining facility. 

The largest city you’ll pass before heading up the valley is Talca, which would be a good place to stock on up supplies. 

From Talca, the last town you’ll pass of note is San Clemente, which is also the last gas station so it is advisable to fill up the tank. 

Getting There Without A Car

Now it is possible to get there without a car, though it is difficult and will require some hitchhiking or walking. 

To do so, take a bus to Talca, which is a large enough town to where busses can be found from many nearby areas in Chile. 

From the bus terminal in Talca, you can take a bus towards “La Mina”. You will get off at the last stop which is at km 107 on Chilean Ruta-115, which is somewhere around here

Now this is where it starts to get a little bit tricky as the climbing is located at km 133. 

If you’re looking to find climbers, head on over to our FB GROUP and drop a post with your dates!

From here you’ll either have to hitchhike or walk the rest of the way. 

There is a mining facility near the climbing, which means that there is a little bit of traffic. If you get lucky you’ll find one of the employees from the mine who will take you the rest of the way. 

Valle de los Condores Climbing Overview


The rock here is all basalt and many of the cliffs are straight-up vertical. It’s here where you find the majority of the climbs, both trad and sport. 

The tallest is about 100’, and El Gran Pared is by far the best of these. 

There are a number of really short cliffs, some with routes as short as 3 bolts; while not destination worthy, they’re good for warmups or when your cliff of choice is in the sun. 

There are some caves with very difficult, high-quality routes, the best (and most popular by far) is Los Huasamácos del Sur. Here you will find incredibly steep terrain with hyper-technical routes starting at 7c+, although there are a couple easier warmups off to the sides.

Rock climber mid route on Anarquia Creativa in the Valle de los Condores

During our visit, this is the place we always saw climbers.

The famous area with the basalt columns and huge roof above—the area with photos of Adam Ondra—is quite impressive, and very difficult to reach. 

The columns are all trad, and the roof above starts at 8a+. It’s a great place to visit on a rest day although, it’s quite a mountaineering adventure getting there, and not super restful. It’s definitely worth mentioning that the surrounding waterfalls are spectacular.

We found that most routes were undergraded (i.e., sandbagged), some significantly so. This could be, in part, adapting to the frictionless rock. 

But it goes way beyond that. Be prepared to step down a few grades. 

Also, if you’re sport climbing, most of the easy routes (6c and below) are really short. I think this place really shines at 6c+ and up.

Guidebook

The updated (2019) guidebook is located here:

Paper version

Lower resolution for phones

(Make sure to click on the green download button [upper right]. Some of the other buttons are spam downloads.)

Suggested Routes While Climbing In The Valle de Los Condores

Rock climber on "Calambre" in the Valle de Los Condores of Chile
Calambre in The Los Huasamácos del Sur Area

The guide is well put together, and gives a great overview of the climbing. 

The only thing it is really missing is a start grading system to show which routes are better than the others! 

We climbed at many cliffs, but they just weren’t that good. These are the routes that were especially good. 

Outside of the Huasamácos cave, the difficult routes had no chalk, so they don’t see much traffic.

Pared Talca Area

Tinta Negra, 6c

Sueños de Cumbre, 6c+ (probably more like 7a)

Tripa de Cóndor, 7a+ (wild traversing line)

El Suizo, 6a

La Gran Pared Area

Mejor Meao que mal Acompañao, 7c+ (short bouldery crux and a “jaws” pocket)

Perfiles de Sherpa, 6c+

Tres dias y tres noches, 7b (amazing)

Arista de Artista, 6c

Diedro Lais, 6c

Changa Langa, 6c+ (some loose holds)

Titanio, 7c+ (intricate beta)

El Perro Melvin, 7b

Los Huasamácos del Sur Area

* There are many difficult routes here we didn’t do, and they all look amazing

Calambre, 6c+ (long, a little chossy, a little runout)

Chirigüe, 6c (a warmup)

Chimkowe, 6c+ (the other warmup)

Anarquía Creativa, 7c+ (amazing horizontal flakes)

Where To Stay When Climbing The Valle de los Condores

The Gran Pared of the Valle De Los Condores
La Gran Pared

The Valle de los Condores is extremely rural, meaning that there are no amenities, camping only. 

There is beautiful camping with established flat areas for tents and wind breaks for fires scattered along the rough dirt road. 

Waterfall in the valle de los condores

A branch of the river is close by for your water needs, although you must filter this water. 

Upstream are meadows used by gauchos and their animals, plus the river flows through a hydro facility near the border with Argentina. 

There is no firewood. Or trees. Bring all your own firewood. The wind is fierce and relentless here, and during our 12-day visit, we had 6 hours of calm. We had plenty of firewood, but never a chance to use it.

There is a climber’s shack in front of sector Pared Talco. You enter from underneath up a ladder. 

It’s not much, but it’s out of the wind and sheltered.

Water, Food and Supplies Around The Valle de los Condores

Climber clipping on el perro meilvin route in chile
Jim Lawyer on “El Perro Melvin” (7b) , La Gran Pared sector

As I mentioned before, there are absolutely no amenities nearby. 

All food must be carried in. 

The nearest large town is Talca where there are many supermarkets and places to get supplies. 

Plan on stocking up there. 

If you’re looking to find climbers, head on over to our FB GROUP and drop a post with your dates!

Regarding water, there are various sources surrounding the climbing area. 

The water at the Valle de los Condores is not drinkable, all must be purified or carried in. 

To save plastic, I’d suggest bringing a low cost purifier like the LifeStraw with you. 

They are so incredibly cheap and compact, there is literally no reason to not bring one.

I’ve personally been using the MSR Miniworks for years now. It’s lasted me about half a decade and has been with me across 6 continents. 

Rock climber half way up the wall on tres dias y tres noches
Jim Lawyer on “Tres días y Tres Noches” (7b), La Gran Pared Sector

I find the hand pump much easier and faster to use, especially when you’re purifying large quantities for cooking. 

We were told that the water from the Estero Bobadilla is drinkable (this river flows in front of the Huasamácos sector), but you would have to carry the water quite a distance to your campsite. 

People were also filling their jugs from a spring dripping in the Huasamácos cave, but again, you’d have to carry it out quite a distance.

Personally, I would just filter everything you drink. The nearby mining activities are sure to cause unwanted runoff into the water sources. 

And don’t forget to purchase travel insurance for Chile to protect you against illness, injury, and theft. This is a super important thing to have on hand. 

I use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance and you can get your custom quote here:

There you have it. 

Everything you need to know to rock climb the Valle de los Condores. 

Did you find it useful? 

Or is there something I missed?

(Either way)

Drop a comment below, and be sure to share this to get the word out about Chile’s incredible rock climbing destination! 

Climb on. 

For more reading like this see: “Rock Climbing Margalef: The Remarkably Brilliant Guide [2020]” and “Absolutely everything you need to know to Climb Squamish”. 

 

Published by The Wandering Climber

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