Rappelling at Bandurrias

Rappelling is one of the most fascinating activities involving rock and the environment while putting our own physical strength to the test.

For those in search of new sensations, the mountain provides endless opportunities if they are willing to attempt different sporting activities. Cerro Bandurrias in San Martín de los Andes is a great place to try rappelling, an artful exercise requiring more skill than brawn under the guidance of experts.

We spent a beautiful, windless morning with a group of beginners like us, giving rappelling a try. A stone’s throw from the city center and after a 10 minute climb along the road to La Islita (The Small Island), we reached the huge rock we would descend.

Our instructors, El Gallego and Rodrigo, showed us all the equipment we would be using and explained how it worked. They were really supportive and assured us we would enjoy every minute in absolute safety.

  • One fine morning

    One fine morning

  • The previous talk

    The previous talk

  • We got confidence

    We got confidence

  • The equipment and its operation

    The equipment and its operation

  • With some dizziness at the start

    With some dizziness at the start

  • More skill than strength

    More skill than strength

  • New sensations

    New sensations

There were two practice areas. We all wore helmets and a harness, fitted around our waists and upper legs but the ropes and indications varied according to the characteristics and difficulty of the rock wall. A look around from the top of the boulder gave us a wonderful view of the coast of the lake, the surrounding hills and the road known as 7 Lagos from a completely different perspective. A light breeze muffled the hustle and bustle of the city enveloping us in welcome silence.

One by one we descended the rock as our instructor had done before us. Overcoming a slight feeling of vertigo it took a few minutes to become acquainted with the right movements and position of our hands and feet, but we gradually gained confidence and all of us completed the descent successfully.

Once on the ground, the adrenaline rush drove us back to top for our second attempt. This time we felt more relaxed and comfortable. We learned all about the pitons, carabiner brake rappels, descent ropes and their different models.

We then headed to a second terrace on an enormous rock topped by an old cypress tree. Just as before, we were joined to the rope by means of carabiners. Facing the wall, our backs to Lake Lácar, we rappelled down 40 meters. Knowing the cold water of the lake was below us made us feel even more adventurous although we knew we were perfectly safe.

Some members of the group boldly decided to climb to the top of the same rock. We certainly had unforgettable moments and they only required a free morning and the will to test our abilities.

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Autor Mónica Pons Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Recommendations Wear sports clothes and trainers. Remember to take water and sunscreen as the sun can be relentless.

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