Argentina: Cerro Martienzo, Ruta 7

Part 2 of Argentina 2011. . . skiing Ruta 7 area

After our trip to the Valle de Colorado, Graham and I decided to return to one of my favorite backcountry ski areas in Argentina: Ruta 7 between Mendoza and Santiago.  We stayed in Puente del Inca at Portezuelo del Viento and skied from the road each day (no camping!).

Up to Ruta 7 near the tunel . . . I had looked at this peak a few years before, and have always had my eye on it . . .
Another cool looking line, a bit more up close in this picture . . . we looked it up on a map – Cerro Martienzo, named after a the pilot who perished in a nearby plane crash . . . 7 mile approach from the road and 6500′ climb

 

Although neither Graham or I thought Cerro Martienzo would be possible in a day, we both thought the other person thought it was possible, and were both willing to give it a try based on that . . . so off we went..  Unfortunately, Graham had inadvertently  left his skins up the valle del Colorado for the mules to bring later . . . made for a long bootpack!

 

Amazing rocks up high!

 

And then we made the ridge and were staring Aconcagua straight in the face – a really unanticipated and  humbling view . . . also makes it clear why they “great stone sentinel” is so called . . . an impressive piece of rock to be sure!!!

 

Summit self-portrait in more Argentine wind
Me on the descent . . . rolled in somewhat mellow, transitioning to super steep next to the ice (a developing theme), but this was the best snow we skied the whole trip, and the longest consistent skiing we had . . . a really cool day!
Graham found a super cool condor feather . . . all-in-all the day only took us 13.5 hrs and we made it back to the car by dark – not bad!

 

We had a later start the next day and were joined by dogs!
and we ultimately skied the centerline on that peak . . .  bummer was that the snow never softened – pretty brutal skiing!!

 

After our Ruta 7 ski days, we headed back to Barreal where we hoped to swoop in, pick up our gear, and head to San Juan to get to know the city a bit and take a different route back to Mendoza.  Argentina had a different plan, however, and we found ourselves waiting in Barreal all day, unsure of whether the mules would come due to a freak storm that had brought snow level almost down to town.  It had that eerie feeling of waiting for a plane in AK, and the potential to seriously derail phase 2 of both of our trips . . . but all’s well that ends well and at the very last minute (8pm on the night before I had to fly the next morning at 6am out of Mendoza!), the gear showed up.  Phew!
With that, Graham was off to Chile to meet a friend and continue skiing, and I was off to Buenos Aires, and my favorite boutique hotel in Palermo (1555 Malabia House).  A day of shopping, eating gourmet food, and seeing good friends, and I was off to Miami . . . thankful for a safe journey through Argentina.

 

Me and Patricio, a great friend from my 2009 trip . . .

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