So while in Bariloche we decided to do a trek in the Andes for a few days. Easy we thought. There are Refugios in which you can sleep at in various places and we chose to stay at Frey and Jakob on advice from the local climbing club called Club Andino. They recommended an easy trek for three days, and some people from our hostel was doing the same one.
We packed our bag the night before, and removed some unneeded items and stored them at the hostel. We packed some snacks, tinned food, bread and tomatoes for the hike. We weighted our packs at about 16kg and 14kg.
In the morning we attempted to leave early but there was some confusion over which bus to take etc and we ended up hitting the trail at 10am.
We are exactly not here! Day 1, 8kms, 4.5hrs
Typical Bariloche scenery.
At the start.
We hiked until 4pm, in the heat of the day… all uphill with the flies. It was sweaty work. The bush is full of biting insects called “tábanos” which are the same as March flies in Australia. They are noisy and dimwitted and can bite through your clothes. They love to circle your face all the time. I think I killed most of them if you want to do the trek soon.
ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse-fly (can’t be made up.. it’s on wiki)
Delicious lunch on the trail!
Log cabin on the track
The first glimpse of Frey! (not really this was taken from the lake, but you can imagine the relief we felt)
Paradise.. after the trail.
We arrived at Refugio Frey.. and it was awesome. We had a swim in the lake and made some new friends. The view was incredible and photos just don’t do it justice seriously. Ash from Puyehue volcano comes and goes which affects the visibility. Apart from the afternoon, we were luckily to get fantastic visibility almost the whole time. The lake is cold, but refreshing after the track, and the weather was hot!
We met some serious rock climbers living out of Frey for a week or so, I snapped a shot of some of them on the mountain behind the Refugio.
See… I circled the climbers on the rock
We stayed in the Refugio (Frey) that night. The sleeping is basically a mattress on the floor in a shared room upstairs. There is a nice dining area down stairs and the Refugio serves food. We decided to stay and eat dinner and breakfast there. That cost AR$140 per person. (AUD $63 for both of us) It’s fairly expensive, but I guess everything has to be carried in on foot. We brought a bottle of wine (liquid gold!) with us and made a few friends. The Refugio hosted many nationalities… Argentinean, US Americans, French, Swedish, Germans, Dutch, etc and of course Israelis… they seriously represent!
Frey again. Love that place
We decided that evening to join up with a couple of Argentinean blokes a Swede and a Dutchman for the next leg (the wine helped) as we all thought we’d have the same pace. We agreed to start at 6:30am, ya know.. to beat the rush hour.
The big [day 2] departure. Dude on the left (Dario) is carrying 20kg)
Day 2, 8km…. 9.5 hours.
only just departed!
The first incline
A quarter way up the ridge, and another beautiful fresh water lake
The next part of the ridge..
The top of the first ridge. The view was amazing. We have to cross the valley in the distance, then the ridge in the background next. (Probably wouldn’t be smiling so much had they fact sunk in)
The decent on the first ridge.. yes it’s steep
Climbing up the next ridge. In the background is the earlier ridge we crossed. It was starting to become less funny at this stage.
At the peak of ridge two. The next Refugio is just at the bottom near that lake, probably at a 89° from where we are.
The decent from the top of the second ridge was hard and slow. We stopped taking photos. It was even steeper than the first decent. The rocks were loose and would slide when you put your foot down. It took us ages to climb down, but slipping over the edge in some places would have got us down a lot more quickly. We booked into the Refugio, and it was even more expensive than Frey.
At Jakob it cost AR$175 each for dinner, accommodation and breakfast. (AU $78) Pretty expensive for soup, pasta, tin fruit and bread… ah well.
We celebrated with our friends in the camping area and drunk lots of Mate. (Argentinean tea – very important here) We were pretty tired from the climb. The next day my legs were destroyed – and day three was 18km, plus some extra from a little side trip to another lake.
The next day, we hiked back in the rain – stark contrast from the stinking hot!
Day 3, 18km.
A striking image of Ben Cousins?
An easy river crossing
The hike back was mostly down hill, which for me was more painful than going uphill.
At the end of the trail we organised a van to pick us up at 4pm and drive us back to Bariloche centro. It was AR$30 / AU$6.70 each. Again expensive but necessary by this stage. (the driver looked about 12 yrs old… he claimed to be 21)
Thanks to Dario, Javier, Heidi and Micheal for making the trek with us. It was epic!