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Jan 20, 2014
More beta on Arenales.
Trailhead and Approach
The trailhead involves driving on many kilometers of gravel road west of Tunuyán. We barely made it with a low clearance 2wd vehicle. If coming by public transport or a very low clearance vehicle a shuttle may be arranged by stopping at the market near the giant Jesu Christo statue (where the road turns to gravel).
You will also need to pass through Aduana as the valley is very close to the Chile border. Passport required.
Many people camp at the trailhead but a much nicer option is to hike the ~15 minutes up to the refugio.
Approaches to climbing areas from the refugio range from 30 minutes to a half day. Bouldering and several sport climbs are literally within seconds of the refugio. Several areas with high concentrations of climbs may warrant leaving your gear stashed for several days.
The refugio is very basic and offers a place to take shelter, store food and trash. Many people cook here and some people even sleep inside but it is small and in poor condition as of 2014.
Water is available from streams that run all over the valley. I drank without treatment but YMMV. Cows graze the valleys and shit everywhere. Treatment may be prudent.
The bathroom situation is already beginning to become a problem around the refugio and camping areas. Bring a shovel to dig cat holes or a latrine for your stay. Or, even better, pack it out.
Cows are everywhere and aggressive. Food and trash should be kept in the refugio or hung above ground. Prickly plants are also abundant throughtout the valley. I found a sliver kit to be useful on numerous occasions.
A guidebook is currently available by Mauricio Fernandez and is already in 3rd addition (2009). It can be purchased at climbing shops in Mendoza. It became apparent after just several days that only a fraction of the existing routes are currently documented. Another guidebook is apparently in the works as well. Also, check out: arenalesclimbing.com
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 24, 2014
Update to Kirk's beta from our trips to Arenales in November 2014.
Most importantly, the road is currently better and is passable by a regular 2WD car. This is important, because we tried to figure out various ways to get here from Mendoza and unfortunately, we couldn't find a really cheap option. Public transport to Tunuyan or another town and then a private ride up to the park itself costs about $200 round trip. Renting the cheapest, smallest car possible in Mendoza for a 4 day trip can be a little less than that and give you more flexibility. If there was a bunch of rain recently, the road might be worse.
The book mentioned by Kirk is good for route info. We bought it at a Mendoza gear shop for about $20 US. It also includes some other areas around Mendoza besides Arenales. There is also a good beta picture of the canyon on the website Kirk mentions.
If you wanted to climb at the lowest walls (which have some great rock and great routes), you can park just before the entrance / control point and avoid the passport / checkpoint issue. The parking is on the left a few hundred meters before the control point.