Forum Index > Trip Reports > Hiking in northern Patagonia Part 1
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RichP
here and there



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RichP
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here and there
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 6:10 am 
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I left a busy and hot Buenos Aires on Jan 20th accompanied by my southern hemisphere hiking buddy, Leopoldo, for the nearly 20-hour bus trip to Bariloche, the largest city in Rio Negro province and the gateway to the Nahuel Haupi National Park. Nahuel Haupi is the name of the lake which covers some 540 square kilometers on whose shores Bariloche is located. The name is from the language of the predominate indian tribe in the area called Mapuche and means "Tiger Island."
After arriving to town, we left some of our gear in storage and headed over to Lago Gutierrez and a campground via a city bus in order to get an early start on the trail to the refugio Frey. The park has an excellent trail system and several mountain huts where one may spend the night and have a meal not unlike what you might find in Europe. We chose to take a tent, but did enjoy a beer or cup of coffee in the huts after a long day of peakbagging.
We spent 3 nights at Frey and scambled to Catedral sur on the first day, then to Catedral Norte on the second. Both had some class 4 sections but nothing too exposed. The area has some of the best rock climbing in South America and there were climbers from all over the world enjoying  the great routes on fantastic rock.
Here are some images of this part of the trip:
One of several old tractors that I saw during the trip.
One of several old tractors that I saw during the trip.
Lago Guitierrez, where the trail to refugio Frey begins.
Lago Guitierrez, where the trail to refugio Frey begins.
My friend, Leopoldo, and his giant pack
My friend, Leopoldo, and his giant pack
Forest fires are a big concern here as well
Forest fires are a big concern here as well
Approaching high country
Approaching high country
Rushing creek on the trail to Refugio Frey
Rushing creek on the trail to Refugio Frey
House in a rock
House in a rock
Cerro Catedral Norte, one of our destinations
Cerro Catedral Norte, one of our destinations
The Refugio Frey 1700 meters and Cerro Catedral
The Refugio Frey 1700 meters and Cerro Catedral
This rock formation next to the refugio Frey was always crawling with rock climbers
This rock formation next to the refugio Frey was always crawling with rock climbers
Looking over Laguna Toncek to the torre principal of Cerro Catedral 2414 meters
Looking over Laguna Toncek to the torre principal of Cerro Catedral 2414 meters
Cerro Catedral and its friends
Cerro Catedral and its friends
Scrambling towards Catedral Sur
Scrambling towards Catedral Sur
Looking down to Laguna Toncek and the area of Refugio Frey
Looking down to Laguna Toncek and the area of Refugio Frey
Looking over to Laguna Schmoll with Cerro Roca Inclinada above
Looking over to Laguna Schmoll with Cerro Roca Inclinada above
Most of these towers have names and established climbing routes
Most of these towers have names and established climbing routes
Summit of Cerro Catedral's torre principal, the highest point in this area at just under 8000 feet
Summit of Cerro Catedral's torre principal, the highest point in this area at just under 8000 feet
Leopoldo on his first glissade using an ice axe
Leopoldo on his first glissade using an ice axe
Flores patagonicas
Flores patagonicas
One of many great walls in the Catedral area
One of many great walls in the Catedral area
A lone diente next to Catedral Sur
A lone diente next to Catedral Sur
El Tronador and part of Cerro Catedral in foreground
El Tronador and part of Cerro Catedral in foreground
El Tronador, the highest point in the area at 3,400+ meters
El Tronador, the highest point in the area at 3,400+ meters
Endless peaks
Endless peaks
Nahuel Haupi and peaks
Nahuel Haupi and peaks
Lago Nahuel Haupi
Lago Nahuel Haupi
Torre Principal
Torre Principal
Looking over to Laguna Schmoll and Lago Nahuel Haupi
Looking over to Laguna Schmoll and Lago Nahuel Haupi
Me on the summit of Cerro Catedral Sur 2388 meters with an andean panorama
Me on the summit of Cerro Catedral Sur 2388 meters with an andean panorama
Mascardi, one of many lakes in the area
Mascardi, one of many lakes in the area
My partner in crime, Leopoldo
My partner in crime, Leopoldo
Cerro Puntiagudo in Chile
Cerro Puntiagudo in Chile
On the way to Roca Inclinada
On the way to Roca Inclinada
Scrambling
Scrambling
The last move to touch the summit of Cerro Roca Inclinada 2150 meters
The last move to touch the summit of Cerro Roca Inclinada 2150 meters
A valley with El Tronador in the background
A valley with El Tronador in the background
The top of Catedral Ski area
The top of Catedral Ski area
On the ridge between refugio Frey and Catedral Norte
On the ridge between refugio Frey and Catedral Norte
Condor
Condor
Condor
Condor
Catedral ski area
Catedral ski area
Catedral Norte
Catedral Norte
Laguna Schmoll
Laguna Schmoll
Laguna Schmoll
Laguna Schmoll

The next part of the trip was on El Tronador (the thunderer) which really sounds like thunder as the glaciers crack and rumble. I'll post on that soon.
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bobbi
stillaGUAMish



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stillaGUAMish
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 7:55 am 
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fantastic amigo!

what a great adventure! up.gif

i love the Andes......

thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, too biggrin.gif

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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wildernessed
viewbagger



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viewbagger
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 10:36 am 
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up.gif Nice Rich !

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Living in the Anthropocene
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Tall Hiker Man
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PostTue Feb 16, 2010 5:52 pm 
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Wow! Crappy weather - eh'? I understand it's hard to get bluebird days in Patagonia.

Beautiful! Thanks!
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RichP
here and there



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RichP
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here and there
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 7:12 pm 
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Tall Hiker Man wrote:
Wow! Crappy weather - eh'? I understand it's hard to get bluebird days in Patagonia.

It really is hard to get good weather in Patagonia. We lucked out on these days, but saw the other side of the coin as well on later trips.
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silly_traveler
~ roaming ~



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~ roaming ~
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Neat!!!  cool.gif  Thanks for sharing your photos  smile.gif

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♫ You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  And you're the one who will decide where you'll go.  Oh the places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Amazing. It's good to get a better perspective on this area. All I've ever seen are wilderness travel catalogs and they aren't exactly objective!
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Sabahsboy
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PostTue Feb 16, 2010 9:05 pm 
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One of the most exciting reports I have read....I have, like so many, dreamed of Patagonia.  This sure gets me interested.  The spires are other-worldly.  Your photos are great and depict a remarkable place that I have never seen before in any publication.  Obviously, I have not been looking in the right places!  I'll get on Google Earth and hunt down this area you traveled.  Some of the photos remind me of another area of interest, the culminating mass of Kackar Mountains, part of the Pontic Alps of northern Turkey.  Have not been there but the photos are most interesting, when you find them.  Certainly, the planet has many choice locations for those that love alpine places.  Be sure to share alpine plant shots from your S.A. adventures!

Forgot to add:  to see a condor....wow!
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canyonwren
Secret Otter Agent



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Secret Otter Agent
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 10:09 pm 
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Awesome! I've been kinda sorta planning a Patagonia romp for about three years--hope this next winter will finally be the time. I love this report! Very inspiring!
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ree
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PostWed Feb 17, 2010 10:14 am 
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Can you do Laguna Toncek/Laguna Schmoll as a day hike?

We'll be in Bariloche area for a few days.  Is that hike there to Refugio Frey the primo hike there?  Any others?

Were the refugios crowded?

We're bringing a tent, but we were wondering if we'd use it much or not.  How was the situation finding a place to put up a tent?

We have the option of doing a few day hikes or doing backpacking and was looking for any recommendations.

We have the youth hostel booked in case the weather is crap... wink.gif  up.gif
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RichP
here and there



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RichP
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here and there
PostWed Feb 17, 2010 11:08 am 
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Quote:
Can you do Laguna Toncek/Laguna Schmoll as a day hike?

Yes, they are both very close. Get an early start. 10 kilometers to Frey and maybe 3 more to Schmoll.

We'll be in Bariloche area for a few days.  Is that hike there to Refugio Frey the primo hike there?  Any others?

I would say, yes. The hike to refugio Meiling is beautiful as well. Take the bus from the club andino in Bariloche. The bus #50 from downtown will take you to 2k from the trailhead for Frey. A taxi will cost a bundle from downtown.

Were the refugios crowded?
Yes, but if you go in late Feb or in March, much less so.

We're bringing a tent, but we were wondering if we'd use it much or not.  How was the situation finding a place to put up a tent?

Lots of space.

We have the option of doing a few day hikes or doing backpacking and was looking for any recommendations.

Definitely the regugio Frey and Meiling. You can do a loop hike as well combing several refugios. Check with the club Andino or design your own. You can be dropped off near trailheads and get a bus from others. No need for a car here.

We have the youth hostel booked in case the weather is crap... wink.gif  up.gif
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ree
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ree
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PostWed Feb 17, 2010 12:39 pm 
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Thanks a lot for the beta, Rich!

Was your friend familiar with the area?  Was there a visitor center you could obtain maps?  Were permits necessary to hike/tent camp out there?

So glad you got the awesome weather. cool.gif
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RichP
here and there



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RichP
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here and there
PostWed Feb 17, 2010 1:56 pm 
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I am familiar with the area since I've been coming down here for about 20 years. A company called Aoneker makes decent topographic maps of the area that you can buy in Bariloche in sports shops and the Club Andino. No permits are necessary, but you need to register with park rangers when you begin the hike at trailheads.
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ree
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PostWed Feb 17, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Are the park rangers hanging out at the trail head?  Or do we have to go somewhere else to let them know we'll be there?

We're thinking we'll chow at the refugios and maybe camp in a tent elsewhere...  Unless the weather is a drag.  Then there's "plan B." embarassedlaugh.gif

Thanks, I sent you pm regarding other Patagonia beta. cool.gif
Love this picture.   lol.gif
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostThu Feb 18, 2010 4:03 am 
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They are generally posted near the beginning of major trails and are called "guadaparques." If they are not around, you may be able to self-register like we do at trailheads in the Cascades.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Hiking in northern Patagonia Part 1
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