Climbing Magazine: Huge conservation victory in Cochamó! - Freyja Foundation

Climbing Magazine: Huge conservation victory in Cochamó!

14.09.23 — Cochamó Valley, Feature

After many months of negotiations, 309 hectares of critical land have been purchased by Freyja Foundation in southern Chile’s Cochamó Valley. The parcel is a narrow strip of forest which borders the Río Cochamó for approximately eight kilometers. Almost all of the tens of thousands of annual visitors to Cochamó (including countless climbers from all over the world), hike the length of this chunk of land on their way into the valley, making it a key acquisition in the long term conservation strategy being actively pursued by Freyja, and various other NGOs in the region.

Often referred to as “The Yosemite of South America,” Cochamó is a veritable climbers’ paradise. With multiple walls as tall as El Capitan, more reliable weather than further south alpine areas like the Torres del Paine and Chaltén Massif, and plenty of room left for new routes, Cochamó has become one of the most sought after global destinations for trad climbing during the Austral summer (winter in the northern hemisphere).

But unlike Yosemite, Cochamó is not a protected national park. It’s a collection of private parcels, loosely managed by numerous owners. That means there are no paid workers—trail crews, rangers, sanitation departments, janitors, etc.—to manage the effects of visitation. On the other hand, there also are no grocery stores, gift shops, ice cream stores, power lines, or roads into the valley. Everyone who visits Cochamó arrives by foot, or on horseback. In that sense, Cochamó is much more wild—both in terms of the experience, and the native ecology—than Yosemite Valley.


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