Here are a couple of views of Cerro Castillo, the dramatic jagged mountain peak that stabs the sky at 2,675m (8,776ft) above the village of Villa Cerro Castillo. These were taken in late afternoon; about two hours later the skies opened, bringing on a rain that lasted through the evening and much of the night.
Located about 75 kilometers south of Coyhaique in Chile’s Aysén region, the village and its eponymous mountain are regular stops for travelers traversing this part of Chilean Patagonia’s Carretera Austral, the country’s 1,240-kilometer long southern highway through a large sparsely populated swathe of Patagonia.
As its highest peak, the mountain is also the center point of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve and has, along with most things under the sun, a Slovenian connection.
According to its Wiki entry, its first recorded ascent didn’t come until February 10, 1966, when a Chilean four-man party –Gastón Oyarzun, Osvaldo Latorre, Antonio Marcel and Raúl Aguilera– conquered it from the northeast. The next didn’t come for another decade –almost to the day– when a New Zealand foursome succeeded along the same route.
A squad of four that included Slovenian climbers Tone Golnar and Ljubo Hansel who teamed with David Waugh of New Zealand and South Korean Chil Kyou Son in the first successful ascent of its southeast face on December 5, 1982.
Both of these shots were taken from the front yard of my hostel, the Hospedaje La Casona, and face that southeast wall. They’re both long exposures (specs below); there wasn’t much color in the sky but I liked how the extra time really saturated the gold hues of the fields and made them pop. It’s exactly as I remember it, four years on.
To help get your bearings, here’s a map of the immediate area.
And a few links for future reference or future exploration:
- Cordillera Castillo from SummitPost
- A hiking guide to the area for mountain runners from I Run Far
- And finally, an eight-minute video chronicling a 2008 ascent. Check it out.
For the record: Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,146th (!) straight, were snapped near Villa Cerro Castillo, Chile, on 22 February 2013 – four years ago today.