Mountains,Volcanoes,lakes,chocolate and Ice cream

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
Trip End Dec 22, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bariloche, Immaculate blue lakes surrounded In bright green fauna and flora at its feet, aggressive shark like teeth mountain peaks to its back, over shadowed by an over protective 3000m Volcano, Tronador. Its hart and soul, chocolate and ice cream.

"oh shit, what is he doing?" I squinted towards an immense looking rock face. Long ropes whipping uncontrollably in the wind. I see two men near its peak, stuck in no mans land. To windy to conquer it top, to much pride to descend to it bottom.
I have started to notice a small passion to climb from within. These climbers up so high, exposed to the elements have inspired me so. Yet another goal to add to the never ending list. This need, discovered at Lagoa Frey, a windy lagoon surrounded in sporadic rocky peaks. I met some energetic climbers sleeping in tents for nights on end, spending their days ascending nearby peaks. Leaving only to re-supply via a 4 hour hike through the mountains to Bariloche.

Pitching my tent in the rocks near Lagoa Frey. I couldn't help but think how much Johannes would of loved this spot over looking the lake. To my surprise, the howling Patagonian wind re introduced himself, pushing my tent around in the middle of the night, like that fat bully in the play ground no body likes. I packed up my gear, gave him my lunch money and retreated into the forest. Luckily so, as the next morning a UH1 Iroquoi helicopter landed right by my old tent space to re-supply the refugio, breaking my neighbours tent in the process.

"What, you mean, you've been in Bariloche and haven't eaten chocolate and ice cream, are you crazy or something?" this from Guy, a cool and now good friend from Israel. I was planning on hiking a technical trail by myself before meeting him and Shai at Lagoa Jakob. Luckily they were also going the same direction as I, so we united.

It was more of a climb then a hike in the early stages. "see, other people pay to climb this stuff" said guy as he reached for another hand hold, ensuring he didn't choose one covered in ice.

Slowly I advance to the top of the ridge line. Instantly, my mind is energised. "Wow" being the only words I can muster. I see in the distance, Volcano Tronador, dominating the Argentine/Chilean boarder. The clear blue sky creating an amazing contrast in colour with its shimmering white tip. Past Tronador, Volcano Puntiagudo which lies in Chilean soil.

Coming from an isolated country surrounded in water. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to stand on a mountain range in one country and peer into the unknown of the other.

Some people keep saying " your from NZ, its so beautiful, why are you even here?" This mainly coming from people who don't hike so much. For me, the reason is obvious. Each time you hike up a mountain slope, staring at the same vegetation that lies at your feet. Your creative, passionate emotion are somewhat non - existent. But once you walk over the crest reaching the top. Its like an explosion of positive emotion. Each panoramic view is special, different and unique from the rest.

A mystical flourishing green valley appeared. Pristine river water carved around peculiar shaped rocks, a tall skinny waterfall plummets from Lagoa Negro high above which sits between two black mountain peaks. If by chance Dinasours existed, surely it would be in this place.

We reached yet another obstacle, snow. Guy awkwardly stumbled down, trying not to slip over . Loosing his balance, he fell to the ground before sliding on his ass. He soon passed Shai and was now leading the way. Shai watched in astonishment, shrugged his shoulders, sat down and joined in on the ride, whilst I sat there laughing my head off.

Sababa! (Hebrew for sweet! or cool)

4th day, once again we arose over another mountain top, with views similar to before. But this time Volcano Orsono came to the party chaperoned by a beautiful view of the lakes around Bariloche, This mountain top being close to Refugio Lopez.

Israeli travelers, its an interesting subject. Everywhere you go in south America, you see them. If you see a big group of travelers together in a tight group, they are probably Israeli. The men spend 3 years in the army the women 2. After their compulsory service, most of them travel. At first seems daunting, so many of them. They are well known for being rude " yeah, we Israeli's are rude, I mean we have 3 different words in our language for the word rude" this from an Israeli girl I met in Brazil.

But after spending time with Guy and Shai, I disagree with such allegations. They love to share things with others and more than happy to give. They have this amazing network where they can find out anything they want. The cheapest hostel/restaurants in town etc and the best hikes.

I was lucky enough to hang out with Guy in Bariloche. He was trying to find an Israeli restaurant to introduce me to Israeli food. The way he found it, by walking into a random hostel, asking the owner if any Israelites were staying there. Of course there was, he knocked on their door finding out that he new them from before and received accurate directions to the nearest Israeli restaurant... Sababa! The disadvantage of the unique network, most of them never fully immerse themselves in the local culture, as they are constantly surrounded by their own. 

After enjoying the Israeli cuisine, Guy and I entered an ice cream shop around midnight in my shorts, flip flops and shirt. I love the ice cream in Bariloche, I could write a whole entry just on the awesomeness of it all. Afterwards we went to a club until 5am, followed by me waking up at 7am to catch a bus in order to hike up Volcano Tronador....Great night, but man did I pay for it the next day.

Squeezed between 2 glorious glaciers on top of the last rocky out crop, near the top of volcano Tronador. Sun sets creating glorious colours along vast mountain ranges, Sun rises, giving birth to deep red clouds and a glowing Volcano tip. I loved this camping spot so much, I stayed an extra night..... It wasn't because I was hung over, honest!

With views of water falls trickling from a nearby glacier, Jay sat on his rock, playing his harmonica. His back up vocals, the Patagonian wind. His body once in the sun, now over shadowed by an enormous brown condor which hovered just above his head. It was so close, you could see his neck twitching, its eyes peering. Never have I seen such a massive condor before! and just as gracefully it entered our lives, it left.

I met an energetic French guy named Jay, who's been couch surfing around South America. After some good Argentine wine (Tapiz), couch surfing advice and some interesting stories...., we were soon making plans for an ice expedition on the glacier I had been sleeping next to for the past few nights.

Crampons fixed to my boots and ice pick in hand. I was climbing a vertical ice wall in the belly of the glacier. We met a local offering cheap 3 hour excursions over the Glacier. With our 2 compadras Nirvani and Tuula, it was 1/4 of the price of excursions I've seen in the past. Ive crossed glaciers before, but never have I explored one in such detail. The sheer size and age of the monstrosity earns your respect instantly. As you dodge 40m deep blue crevasses and pools of water with bottomless Pitts, its hard not to be mind blown from the experience.

Volcano Tronador, my favorite camping spot, thus far.


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lyall on

lovin the photos bro. cant wait to catch up!

kiwi_surfer on

yeah bro, im looking forward to your shady tails, haha

Jay on

Great memory dude!! It was defenitely my favorite camping site! A big Hug to the CONDOR TEAMMM!!! :) What do you mean by "interesting story"?! lol
Luck in the rest of ur trip mate.

kiwi_surfer on

haha, yeah bro I had a great time up there.

I know you will be enjoying the rest of your trip.


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