Piedra Parada – El Bolson, Argentina Feb 2017

From Peninsula Valdes I turned west towards the Cordilleras de los Andes. In the area Piedra Parada and El Bolson I finally was able to use all the sports equipment (some call it “self-realisation devices”) which I am carrying with me.

Piedra Parada (“the Standing Rock” - a mighty rock which once stood in the middle of a powerful river) and the Buitrera Canyon (called after a bird) originate from the time when the region still was located in a humid environment. As the sites are not mentioned in the international travel books they usually is not known to foreign tourists. The town El Bolson located at the Ruta 40 is a center for outdoor sports which is less posh than nearby Bariloche.

The below pictures show

  • Driving west through the semi-desert partly on asphalt and partly on gravel road.
  • Besides Gauchito Gil a woman called Difunta Correa (the deceased Correa) is the second unofficial popular saint in Argentina. The story goes back to a woman who tried to follow her husband through the semi-desert who had been forcefully drafted by the army. When she died from thirst her baby miraculously was found alive as – according to the legend – the breasts of dead Correa continued to provide the baby with milk. In order to honour her and to seek her support devotees leave water bottles at her shrine.
  • The Buitrera Canyon is some 300 me deep and 6 km long. Once you start entering canyon the scenic landscape lures you deeper and deeper into the gorge as behind every corner there is a visual sensation. Imagine the powerful river which millions of years ago carved the canyon out of the volcanic rock.
  • The Buitrera Canyon also hosts one of Argentina’s finest climbing area with hundreds of bolted routes and a potential for thousands more. The last climbing pictures show a climber in a route called Le Merlin which has the difficulty grad 7c (out of a maximum of 9a). For non-climbers: Sports-climbing is safer than it looks like. As you may see from the pictures I am certainly a better photographer than climber.
  • In Argentina joint cooking and dinning (normally at around mid-night) is an essential part of any sport activity. By the way: Many thanks to Gabriel, Jose, Leon, Lucia, Nacho, and Pablo, a bunch of Argentinian climbers who were so kind to make me part of their group.
  • The unpaved roads invite for biking, but believe me: It is not easy to make a selfie while riding a mountain bike on gravel road.
  • The Rio Chubut (which means transparent river) is a slowly flowing river which crosses the Pampa from the Andes to the Atlantic coast. Luckily we had strong tailwind during our boat ride.
  • Surrounded by mountains El Bolson is known for its excellent paragliding site. There is a small camp where paragliding pilots stay together. Many thanks to “Mono” and Mariela for introducing me to the complicated wind system and hosting me in the camp.