About the film

#TupungatoFilm - Tupungato: creating a national park, is an intense adventure and Land Rights film that will showcase the creation of a national park through the perspective of snowboard mountaineer and environmental activist Rafael Pease. This is his fourth attempt to reach the summit of Stratovolcano Tupungato in mid winter, which has haunted him over the years. With a solid crew of ski mountaineers and seasoned local climbers, will make this pioneering expedition a reality. This area is like no other in the world, it's completely isolated, incomprehensibly cold, technically challenging and uncharted. Winds gust at 220kmph, high temps at -18ºc and low temps at -70ºc. With the Huarpe people naming the volcano “Star Viewpoint”, Tupungato stands out in the Andes at 6,570m (21,555ft). The team will be relying on the Santa Rosa storm which is a notoriously legendary strong storm, unfortunately with climate change it has only occurred 16 times in the last 156 years.

The story of this film goes much deeper than gaining first ascents and descents on Volcan Tupungato and its neighbors. The film will follow Rafael as he meets and unites some of the most respected scientists, mountaineers, activists, NGOs and indigenous communities in the country to create a 350,000acre national park in the Metropolitan Region of Chile, where over 300 glaciers and 400 species will be protected from the exploitation of the mining and hydroelectric industries. Beyond this the film has a deep social responsibility and will mold the standard of mountain travel by clean climbing tactics. By following the Leave No Trace principle, we will use sustainability practices in all aspects of our production by recycling all the trash, picking up any waste that is found, carrying our poop out if necessary, and carbon offsetting all the travel. Tupungato: creating a national park, will truly test the psychological and physical limits of the team, where being a masochist and a fan of the unknown is a simple prerequisite, the team will be at the mercy of Pachamama. 

This documentary will help promote the creation of the Tupungato National Park as our goal is to put immense pressure on politicians, public figures and multi-national mining corporations and the Chilean government who are against this. We will begin promotion of the project starting August 20th and will continue throughout the films tour which will begin in March of 2020 and will continue till the park is a reality.

Post Expedition Report

The crew of 7 spent a total of 20 days out in the central Andes in mid winter to pioneer a zone which has seldom been explored, even less in winter. This expedition was 100% human powered, the crew carried 340kilos (750lbs) of gear a total distance of 240.25km (149.29miles) and climbing 13,556meters (44,476ft) to reach the summit of Tupungato at 6,570meters (21,555ft). Where they successfully accomplished a first winter ascent via the Chilean side (2nd winter ascent ever), a new route which is named “La ruta del Chiquillan” in honor of the indigenous tribe that lived there and a first descent which was done by Rafael Pease on snowboard and Erich Roepke on skis. The expedition dates were from the 2nd of September to the 21st where the crew summited on the 17th of September 2019. The team consisted of Rafael Pease as expedition leader and athlete, Jeremy Anderson as an athlete, Joonas Mattila as principle cinematographer, Erich Roepke as assistant cinematographer, Greg Von Doersten as director of photography, Pablo Tapia as camp manager.

There were various observations throughout the expedition that heavily alarmed the crew. Glaciers were melting at unprecedented speeds, extremely warm temperatures above 6,500meters, cattle roaming free causing massive destruction to the ecosystem and mining/hydroelectric occurring throughout the valleys without environmental regards. Along with the area being prohibited from entry, which is extremely weird in the global sense but common for Chile, the mountains here are privately owned or controlled by multi-national corporations regardless if they are public land or not, the crew got a special research and documentation permit that took months to get approved by the Chilean government.

The new route that was climbed and named “La ruta del Chiquillan” in honor of the indigenous tribe that lived in the area.

Rafael Pease on the ascent route which begun at 3:30am and ended at 11:30pm. With Aconcagua to the right of his head.

Rafael Pease at 6,570m (21,555ft) on the summit of Volcan Tupungato with views of the entire central Andes.

Camp 3 during a storm where the crew spent 4 days with poor visibility which made it difficult to travel.

Rafael Pease above 6,100meters (20,000ft). Where you can see Aconcagua in the distance to the subject.

Rafael Pease & Jeremy Anderson looking at Volcan Tupungato with 1 of their 2 backpacks.

Erich Roepke carrying 3 bags to camp 4.

The crew crossing a very long snow covered marsh with Sierra Bella in the distance.

The crew shuttling the first round of gear from camp 3 to camp 4 of 6.

If you would like to support this and write an article, we have a press release media kit below which has information, text and some photos that can be used by the public.

The view into the Rio Colorado valley, where everything is closed off by the mining and hydroelectric companies.

Rafael Pease taking a break from his snowboard descent at around 5,800meters (19,000ft) before continuing to snowboard down the blue and white ice.

The crew shuttling gear past the first of many rivers with their first round of gear.

Tupungato National Park

#TupungatoNP - The proposed area for the Tupungato National Park has very particular characteristics, its in a ecological region called the Andean High Steppe and a subregion of the Mediterranean Andes, these ecosystems are under-represented in the National System of Protected Areas of the country. The size of this area is 350,889acres with another 41,464acres which would eventually become part of the national park as well, coming to a total of 392,353acres. It is only 43miles away from the heart of Santiago, Chile and very easily accessibly from all sides of the city. This is the last region that can potentially stay in public hands and create something beautiful which will allow not only all Chileans but people from all around the world to come enjoy the beauties of nature and promote educational conservation for all generations.

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Why the name Tupungato?

Tupungato means “Star Viewpoint” in the native Huarpe tongue. The area where the park is being proposed was inhabited by the Chiquillanes, which were people who lived in the Andes Mountain Range from modern day Los Andes to Rancagua. From their appearance, it is known that they were tall and thin, covered their skin with animal fat and adorned it with blue paints. In summer they crossed the mountain range to exchange merchandise with the Mapuches. The Chiquillanes were a nomadic tribe that traveled in groups smaller than 100, this allowed them to travel more efficiently as the seasons changed. In 1545 when the Spanish came to colonize Chile, the Chiquillanes were said to be the first to confront them. They were destroyed and forced to live in parcels, far away from the mountains.

What are we conserving?

By conserving the 392,353acres we will be protecting over 300 glaciers which have already shrunk by 1/3 of their size in the last 50 years due to climate change and human intervention such as mining and pollution. There are over 45,000acres that are glaciated, it is the largest public freshwater reserve of the area that holds over 50% of the water for the central part of Chile, where over 9,000,000 people live. If we don’t conserve what is left, there will be tremendous negative effects for the future of humans and wildlife of the greater area.

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LEFT: Glacial retreat of Olivares glacier over 69 years. In 1955 the glaciar Olivares Beta, had a surface of 2,965acres (CECs, 2013); currently it has a surface of only 2,058acres (DGA, 2014). A size reduction of over 30%

RIGHT: Glacial retreat of Juncal Sur glacier over 69 years. In 1950 the glaciar reached the valley bottom where the Olivares River flows, right below the formation of the Rabona knoll. In 2019, the most horizontal part has diminished many miles.

These are only a few of the hundreds of glaciers in this area, that being said 69 years ago there must have been around 135,000acres of glaciated terrain in this zone.


Chile has the largest reserves of glacial-systems in all of Latin America, with around 80% of the bodies of glacier, almost 4% of the worldwide ice coverage. Interestingly enough the glaciers are under the protection of the Commission of Mining and Energy, on the other hand in Argentina a law just passed that prohibits any mining intervention on its glaciers. Glaciers are a component of the cryosphere, a fundamental Earth subsystem for life on the planet, composed of all those regions where water is in a solid form. These ice bodies feed most of the territory's watersheds, especially in those periods where there is no rainfall.

Glaciers in the Rio Colorado area.

Glaciers in the Rio Colorado area.

Maipo River basin, this demonstrates the immensity of the area. © Plantae Foundation

Maipo River basin, this demonstrates the immensity of the area. © Plantae Foundation

We are also protecting over 400 species of flora and fauna in this region, where a large majority of them are endemic to the area and some are on the edge of extinction. The Guanaco is currently being re-introduced into the area, where it plays a role as a keystone species along with the Andean Condor and the Puma.


There have been cases in the surrounding small towns of the proposed national park area with a high concentration of lead, molybdenum and arsenic among others, that significantly exceed the standards allowed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Izkia Siches, president of the Regional Medical College, details that the effects of heavy metals are very diverse, since some have to do with oncological diseases, that is, there are genes that are altered and send signals to the cells so that they don't replicate and after a while they die. These pathologies are those that cause cancer, Siches says.

There are infinite reasons to why this area should be created into a national park and only 2 that go against it, greed and corruption. This area will build a positive consciousness on all its visitors to have a relationship with nature, this is a subliminal educative experience for those to appreciate what we live next to. As well as have a consistent long term economic benefit for the country with a boost in tourism to the country. As well as jobs for the local communities who have been taken advantage of by the mining and hydroelectric corporations. Let’s not forget the conservation and preservation of water for over 9,000,000 people and the obvious benefits for the flora, fauna and Andes Mountain Range.

Who are we up against?

There already is a mining, tunnels (over 44miles) and hydroelectric in the border and inside of the proposed national park area, we want to avoid the easy spread of all these multi-national billion dollar companies from expanding illegally even further into this last public area of central Chile. As of right now the land is in the hands of the Ministry of National Assets, which is a positive and negative, this is due to the fact that the Ministry of Mining and other businessmen influence and strong-arm certain politicians into giving them what they want, which in this case would be the 350,000acres of endangered land. There are also multiple sites where ancient tribes lived that have been destroyed by the mining operations. Currently mining operations like Anglo American, BHP, Codelco, Luksic Group and others are trying to expand in this area, where they will dry the remaining rivers, destroy the remaining glaciers and finally achieve their goal of polluting and destroying everything.

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Threats (mining and hydroelectric) present and future in the Colorado-Olivares fiscal property. © Plantae Foundation

Threats (mining and hydroelectric) present and future in the Colorado-Olivares fiscal property. © Plantae Foundation

The president of the country, Sebastian Piñera along with Andronico Luksic haven’t done much more than fill their pockets with stock in these mining and hydroelectric operations and promote its expansion. Luksic has been known as the number one person in the country for environmental damage, according to GreenPeace. As we all know and understand that politics and large corporations often tend to be corrupt, here in Chile nothing is different. There are bribes occurring from Anglo American and other large corporations to the mayor of Lo Barnechea and we are assuming many other high level politicians, with the intent to look the other way while they illegally expand their mining territory. As this undeveloped land goes through its phases, we hope for it to turn into a national park, which the Chilean government is opposed to, instead of various open pit mines and complex tunnels through the glaciers.

How to join the movement?

  1. Get educated

  2. Collaborate with us and our partners

  3. Volunteer to help us lobby and put pressure on multi-national mining operations, politicians and public figures

  4. Download our media kit, to share the facts and information with those around you about the conservation of this area

  5. Follow Tupungato National Park on Facebook and Instagram

  6. Host a screening of the film, Tupungato: creating a national park

  7. Sign up here for our email list

Stay tuned as things will be developing quickly, we will be constantly updating this website.

The error consisted in believing that the Earth was ours when the reality of the situation is that we belong to the Earth
— Nicanor Parra