OverviewTo the W of the entrance of the Horcones valley (which takes you to Plaza de Mulas and the normal route to Aconcagua), a small cliff offers several ice-falls and mixed climbing routes. There are options for all styles and grades and the climbs are easily accessible from the road. Routes (and conditions) are described here.
1: Zona peligrosa (120m, WI3). This is the largest ice climb. By always going for the easiest sections, you can climb the fall without exceeding 75° (WI3) but the fall is very wide and you could also link up harder sections of up to 80-90° (but never very sustained, 10m max - WI4/4+).
2: Right hand-side couloir. This snow couloir (up to 60°) offers a short ice-step at its base (70°). It is likely that with a lot of snow, the step cannot be seen. The couloir is a good alternative to get down the main ice-fall (#1) but beware of avalanche hazard from the "bowl" above.
3: A curtain of near vertical ice (WI4+?). It seems the curtain never forms fully and it is rarely climbed.
4: Atahualpa: A snow couloir (60°) with a one-pitch ice-fall on the right. The ice-fall offers a 4-5m step of 80° ice (WI3+).
5: Chacal rebotante (45m, WI4+). A very appealing one-pitch ice-fall with some 6-10m of 80-95° ice (WI4+).
6: Moderate mixed route (above a short goulotte).
7: Several very short ice-steps (<3m) of 80-90° ice a the base of the larger ice-fall are very good for practising with minimal equipment.
8: A one-pitch ice-fall (70-80°?) at the back of the rocky spur on the left of the main ice-fall (looking up). See the photos below to get an idea.
Further east, where the cliff is decidedly steeper, a hard mixed route was opened in 2008. Above the Laguna Horcones (exposed to the E), another one-pitch ice-fall offers more steep ice (WI4-5?).