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Sergio Infante, Ignacio Vergara and Armando Montero during their ascent of Volcán Corcovado on 28/09/2013.
Photo by Armando Montero
Sergio Infante, Ignacio Vergara and Armando Montero on the summit of Volcán Corcovado on 28/09/2013.
Photo by Armando Montero

Volcán Corcovado in Patagonia


On the 28th of September 2013 the Chilean mountaineers Sergio Infante, Ignacio Vergara and Armando Montero made a rare ascent of Volcán - or Cerro Corcovado in Chile. The report by Armando Montero.

Beginning at the port of Chaitén early on the 27th of September, Sergio Infante, Ignacio Vergara and Armando Montero traveled 45 kilometers in a local fisherman's boat which then dropped them off at the beach in front of the volcano. Here they left a cache of food and headed straight up to establish a high-camp at the upper limit of the vegetation. The following day and in a 24 hour push they summited and returned to their high-camp. The next day they returned to the beach where they celebrated with steaks, beers and wine. They returned to Chaiten on the 30th September.

With regard to the climb; in the final 250 metres the Chileans climbed 8 pitches of 70° ice, with some sections up to 80°. To reach the summit the trio had to breach the 5-metre overhanging ice-mushroom. In general the climbing was exposed to the constant risk of the overhanging ice mushrooms looming above the route.

It is unclear how many times Volcan Corcovado has been summited in the past and there are reports of only two previous ascents. The first, in 1945, by the Chilean/German team comprised of Gerhard Kress, Alfredo Gash and Hans Engels, for which there no accounts nor photos. The second dates to 1993 when American Douglas Tompkins and Chilean Carlos Alvarado climbed to the base of the final ice-tower. From there, Tompkins climbed the final 250 metres alone to reach the summit.

Volcán Corcovado is perhaps best known internationally for its appearance in the 2010 documentary "180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless" that traces the North American climbers and their unsuccessful attempt to reach the summit. From the top of the volcano there are extensive views onto Chilean Patagonia; the ocean with its islands and archipelagos and the vast mountain ranges.

Armando Montero, Coyhaique, Patagonia, Chile.





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