On Friday, July 11, I left for Catemu (100km from Santiago) to make the crossing “El Gratt”.
This crossing in the Caquiito Hill with the Caquisito through a rock crossing in the mountain range of the Melon, the part on the Cordillera de la Costa.
Arriving at Catemu, we headed to the sector the Corrales and then the Cabrerio. After passing the last houses we cross an estuary to begin to walk between the sclerophyll forest by a marked path.
We must continue along this path that zigzags with a steep slope, but that allows to appreciate the change of vegetation and the views to the mountain range with the imposing Aconcagua in the background and the classic sea of clouds.
Without taking other secondary roads we reach the bottom of the valley where it is possible to take two routes, one goes by a gutter marked to the left and the other by a path to the right. Being quite snowy the last part we had to do some more exposed steps, but in season does not present any technical difficulty.
From the Portezuelo we walk 650 meters that go down a bit until arriving at an old refuge. This refuge was formerly used by the owners of the bottom to ski slopes and then used to date by muleteers. As is common in the mountain range, this one was totally scratched and full of garbage. We were able to find a place next door to spend the night.
On the second day we walked north towards the summit of the Caquisito, after several ascents and descents we arrive at “El Serrucho”. They begin the first easy climbs and I found new plates in the rock where in my opinion they were not necessary. I think it is not fitting to equip the route with so many plates; These invade the medium and with a little ingenuity it is possible to ensure the passage.
We continued advancing and I found the most exposed step, a rather aerial pass. At this point perhaps the plates are more justified, which help to mount a handrail or have intermediate insurance to cross in assembly. In any case you could think of a natural protection.
Then we made two rappels, a climbing step and continued along the edge of the saw until we reached the base of the Caquisito.
From the base to the summit we find some steps more exposed than the rest, where there were old protections, finally we reached the summit of the Cerro of 2053 msnm.
At the top of Cerro Caquisito we set up camp and cooked a rissoto of seafood. We spent the night with quake included.
The next day we skimmed the Caquisito carefully as there was enough snow on the route.
We went down looking for a path through the forest on the left, to go down to the Romeral. It was quite difficult to find the route through that valley, many roads diverted us until finally reaching a bottom of Paltas.
We passed quickly, we greet the caretaker, we explained what we had done (the crossing could be seen from the bottom) and asked permission to leave.
In short a very beautiful crossing. You can appreciate the characteristic flora, hotspot of the world biodiversity and amazing panoramic views. All this with the adrenaline rush of the past in the saw.