OverviewSupercanaleta is a beautiful east-facing couloir on Rincon, a mountain in the Vallecito valley near Mendoza. The climb offers moderate snow climbing with a high objective hazard from rock fall. Fit climbers who can climb through the dangerous sections quickly will appreciate this route as a nice diversion from the standard acclimatization routes in the valley.
Getting ThereFrom Mendoza, arrange transport to Vallecito via one of the innumerable outfitters in the area (e.g. Fernando Grajales Expeditions). Vallecito is a ski resort in the winter and a popular destination for acclimatizing climbers. Thus, it is well known to all of the major outfitters and is an easy (but not cheap) place to secure private transport. There are several refugios at the base of the valley that offer affordable lodging and a good place to store gear.
From the refugios (elevation ~8,000 feet), hike uphill along a well worn path that follows an alpine stream to base camp (Salto de Agua, elevation ~14,000). Although one can easily hike from the refugios to base camp in a half a day, there are several nice places to camp along the way for acclimatization. Supercanaleta, the most prominent snow feature on Rincon (see photo), is obvious for most of the hike up the valley.
Route DescriptionFrom Salto de Agua, hike north and west over the glacier to the base of Rincon’s east face. Kick steps up a snow cone at the base of the route and cross a small schrund that marks the start of the route. Continue up the gully until it dead ends at a rock band at the very top of the face. Climb south (left) out of the dead end up a low angle snow ramp with small (2-4 foot) rock step. Follow the gentle snow slope up and left to the summit. The topo of this route we found in Mendoza showed the exit to the North (right). However, in 2005-2006 this exit seemed to involve either a WI4 pillar or scrambling up terrible rock in a chute that was releasing toaster-sized rocks every other minute. The south exit described here does not require any technical climbing and was free from rock fall.
Descend the mountain using the normal hiking route that threads its way north, then east along the crest of Rincon. Once you are even with Salto de Agua, there is a low angle snow slope that will lead you back to the valley floor. Do not get impatient with the roundabout decent as there are steep faces and crevassed slopes that ensure an invigorating outing for those who try to shortcut the decent route.
Objective HazardBeyond the danger of committing to the wrong route (described above), Supercanaleta has several hazards that must be considered. As with all of the rock in the area, it is of extraordinarily poor quality and tends to shed large chunks when exposed to the sun. In our 2005-2006 ascent of the route, we employed the unusual tactic of having one climber look for incoming rocks, which were numerous, while the other sprinted from one covered area to the next. It would be very dangerous to be stuck midway up the route when the rocks start falling and climbers should plan on being off the face by dawn. Furthermore, the route is subject to avalanche danger, which we discovered a couple of days after our accent when the entire route slid.
1 60m rope
The route does not offer safe rock pro, although pickets (3-4) may be useful for some parties.