|Dates||19th September - 2nd October 2023|
"Andes" Leadership Fee
Ski Mountaineering in the Patagonian Andes of Argentina.
PRICES & COSTS
All are per person.
"Andes" Leadership Fee (includes leaders expenses) -- £2095
Estimated Airfares -- £1200
Estimated Travel Costs in Argentina -- £700
Estimated Accommodation & Meals -- £400
ESTIMATED TOTAL COST per person -- £4400
This ski-mountaineering expedition is based around ski itineraries we have run in Argentina in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2017. The expedition will take the form of a road trip into some fairly remote mountains in northern Patagonia including the rarely visited Cordon del Viento. These mountains are near the giant volcano, Volcan Domuyo, 4709m, the highest peak in Patagonia. We'll be stopping in two different areas to make day trips and ski ascents, some of them on active volcanoes. This trip is suitable for those skiers who are new to ski touring, and requires little or no previous mountaineering experience.
We'll start the expedition by flying out to the city of Neuquen, capital of the province of the same name. Then we'll head west to the Andes and the areas around the Paso Pino Hachado and Volcan Copahue. Copahue is a 3000m+ peak on the border with Chile that has a spectacular summit crater. When we were last there in 2017 it was erupting so ferociously that an ascent was not possible, so we skiied a nearby peak instead!
Next on the agenda are ski ascents in the area around the town of Chos Malal. First off we'll aim to ski either the 3978m high active volcano Volcan Tromen or the 3296m high Cerro Wayle. Then we'll travel north to a camp by some hot springs at a place called Aguas Calientes from where we plan to ski in the Cordon del Viento on three or four of the days left. These ascents will be on peaks up to around 3000m high, such as Cerro las Papas (3040m), Cerro de la Puntilla (2940m) and Cerro Cuadruple Tres (3333m)
This itinerary will be deliberately kept flexible to make the best use of weather and snow conditions and we may change or substitute any of the peaks listed if we feel conditions will be better elsewhere. The balance of time we spend in the different mountain venues and the choice of tours will ultimately depend on current snow and weather conditions, and also on the state of access roads.
Skiing from the summit of Volcan Copahue on the Chile-Argentina border, 2009 ANDES ski explorer.
|Days 1-2||Flight to Neuquen.|
|Days 3-5||Ski tours and possible resort day in the Caviahue/Copahue area.|
|Day 6||Rest and drive north.|
|Day 7-12||Ski tours and ascents near Chos Malal and in the Cordillera del Viento.|
|Day 13-14||Return to Neuquen and fly home.|
General Information about our holidays
Who runs 'Andes' and where we are based
General information about equipment, accommodation, flights, meals etc.
Volcan Copahue is an active volcano on the border with Chile that makes an interesting one day ascent from the nearby ski resort of Copahue/Caviahue. There is a spectacular sulfurous crater lake to one side of the summit plateau with a 100m high overhanging glacier wall above it. The volcano was erupting in 2016 and 2017, and obviously we'll have to take the current state of Copahue into account when deciding whether to make the ascent or not!
The massive and impressive glacial lake in the crater of Volcan Copahue.
Volcan Tromen lies about 4 or 5 hours drive north of the Copahue ski area. This active volcano lies entirely in the province of Neuquen and is just north of the town of Chos Malal. We'll approach Tromen from the south and ski by the western slopes, choosing the best line according to snow conditions, but probably departing from the road end at Laguna Tromen at just over 2000m. This ascent will almost certainly be our longest summit day, and if conditions are not good we'll ski the smaller nearby peak of Cerro Wayle, 3296m instead.
CORDON DEL VIENTO
The Cordon del Viento are a range of hilly peaks about 2-3 hours drive north of the wee town of Chos Malal. We'll camp here at a place called Aguas Calientes, which is a small thermal resort (with grass and running hot water!) at the foot of Volcan Domuyo. At 4709m this is the highest peak in the Cordon del Viento and the highest in all of Patagonia. We'll be based here for four or five nights, depending on flight schedules for our return home. During this time we'll ski as many of the local 2500-3500m hills as possible. Though the peaks are quite close to camp, we may have to drive for up to ½ hour to get to some of the roadheads. It's normally warm and pleasant at camp in the afternoon (see picture at end of document), but a wee bit chilly overnight, e.g. 0ºC.
Ski ascent of Sierra de la Puntilla in the Cordon del Viento, October 2017.
FITNESS & EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Expedition members should be fit and competent skiers or snowboarders. Telemark, splitboard or alpine touring kit are all OK to use on this trip. The minimum skiing ability necessary is being able to descend red runs in control at a reasonable speed. Winter skills including the use of an ice-axe and crampons may be needed during the ascents but as we will be on relatively easy snow slopes it is not essential to have these skills before joining the expedition. A good standard of hill fitness is also essential for this expedition.
Scenery in the Cordon del Viento.
Argentine Patagonia generally has very stable winter and spring weather more like the continental USA than the European Alps. Windy days are perhaps a bit more common than in either of these places. However as this is still the tail end of winter there is obviously a chance of some bad weather and/or a snowstorm while we're there.
INSURANCE, HEALTH, HYGIENE AND SECURITY
All clients must be insured for medical costs and repatriation in an emergency. We recommend having insurance for baggage, personal liability and cancellation as well. If you would like advice on insurance please ask. Please bring an extra copy of your insurance certificate with you on the expedition for the leader. Argentina is one of the most well developed countries in South America and the standard of hygiene is generally as good as at home. You would be unlucky to get an upset stomach or diarrhoea. Vaccinations for tetanus, typhoid and polio are recommended. The country is very safe and relaxing to travel in; theft and muggings are as unlikely as they are in most British cities. Everyone who visits Argentina is surprised by how much like a part of Europe the country is.
Setting off from the roadside near the Paso Pino Hachado, 2017 Patagonia Ski Explorer.
SAFETY AND RISK
This is an adventure holiday and all
clients will be exposed to hazards not found in
everyday life by taking part in this itinerary. While we take all
reasonable precautions to reduce risk it is neither possible nor desirable
to completely eliminate these hazards. It is important that you understand
the hazards you may be exposed to before
signing our booking form. We have identified the following areas as the
principal additional risks of this itinerary. (Some of
these could potentially result in serious injury or death). This is
not a fully inclusive list - a more
detailed risk assessment of this itinerary is available on our
Risk Assessments page, or phone/e-mail us
and ask some questions!
Driving, hotels and general safety : In Argentina driving, hotel fire safety standards and general safety standards are not as high as in Europe.
Remoteness : You will be more than a days walk/ski from medical help for some of the time. There is no chance of a helicopter rescue.
Mountain Hazards : Off-piste and in the mountains there may be considerable danger of avalanches, as well as other mountain dangers arising from bad weather and minor slips and falls on steep and/or icy terrain.
Weather : These mountains are affected by bad weather at times.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN OUR PRICE AND WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Our price is for leadership/guiding and mountain services only. It INCLUDES the leaders fee (wages) and all their expenses, such as flights, travel, hotels, meals, permits. It also INCLUDES his or her share of communal expenses, which may be such things as 4x4 rentals, diesel and fuel, mule and porter costs, shared hotel rooms.
Our price also INCLUDES all mountain services such as provision of tents, stoves and all other communal camping equipment, all mountain food including all camp food and lunches on day trips. It also INCLUDES any communal mountaineering equipment that may be necessary, such as ropes, karabiners, etc., and on most expeditions emergency use of satellite telephone link.
Our price does NOT INCLUDE - your flights, your insurance, your hotel/hostel accommodation, your meals taken at cafes and restaurants, your share of communal travel costs (e.g 4x4 rental, mule costs), your personal climbing, skiing and camping equipment (i.e. used by you alone, such as sleeping bag, ski or snowboard, ice-axe, crampons), permits or peak fees payable by yourself.
ORGANISATION & LEADERSHIP
Our expeditions are designed to be small and flexible. The expedition will be co-ordinated, organised and lead by us, but we will consult and involve the expedition members when planning the details of the trip. Please note however that the leaders decision is final where the safety of the group or any member is in jeopardy; for example where retreat or diversion is necessary due to illness or bad weather. The minimum number of customers we need to run this holiday is three. The maximum size will be four customers plus leaders. This trip will be led by John Biggar, who holds the WMCI mountaineering award, has completed his BASI level 1 and has over 300 days ski-touring experience in the Alps, Andes, Caucasus, North America, Japan, NZ and the Pamirs.
The campsite at Aguas Calientes, Neuquen province. An enjoyable afternoon resting in some very pleasant spring weather.