Cerro Tronador, San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Patagonia
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Review of "Cerro Tronador, San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Patagonia"
Hiking to Refugio Otto Meiling, the base camp for summit attempts on Cerro Tronador, was an unforgettable experience.
We started our adventure with a side trip to Laguna Ilon which is situated on the slopes of the mountains opposite Tronador. It is quite a steep climb but well worth it when you reach the lake and see the spectacular vista before you. A tranquil mountain lake, with the snowy peaks of Tronador rising up behind it. Even from Ilon you can hear the deep rumblings of the mountain, caused by lumps of glacial ice melting and shifting.
The next day we set off up the track to Otto Meiling. We wound our way through beautiful native woodland, which becomes more sparse as you gain altitude. Eventually we reached an expanse of rocky mountainside and climbed on until we reached the glaciers.
It really is incredible to climb up a mountain, reach a huge glacier at the top, and then to be welcomed into a beautiful mountain refuge. Refugio Otto Meiling is famous in Argentina and rightly so. My companion and I pitched our tent outside the refuge and then treated ourselves to some delicious pancakes with dulce de leche.
The next day we were approached by the professional guide for the Refugio who was so friendly that we decided to blow some of our budget and go for a guided glacier hike. It was a decision we certainly did not regret. Our guide, Mauricio, was an extremely good and patient teacher and soon had us hopping over small crevasses in our crampons. He dropped pieces of ice into the incredibly blue crevasses so that we could hear the musical tinkling as the ice dropped down into the depths of the glacier. The most exciting part of our day was when we abseiled into one of the deeper crevasses, lowered by Mauricio, before climbing back up using ice axes. It was an absolutely incredible experience.
That afternoon, as my companion and I sat in the sun resting after our exertions, we saw Mauricio launch his paraglider and go flying into the air above the mountains. Then we saw a huge condor circling the same thermal current, just metres from Mauricio! Awe inspiring.
The only minor annoyance on this trip was the huge Patagonian horseflies that chased us half way up the mountain. They hunt you down in packs and can really spoil a walk. But - that is nature for you!
Product Information : Cerro Tronador, San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Patagonia
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Listed on Ciao since: 12/10/2005