Andes Website : Climbing, Skiing, Trekking and Guidebooks in South America

Dates 19th September - 2nd October 2019
Duration 14 days
Grade 1A
"Andes" Leadership Fee

£2095

Ski Mountaineering in the Patagonian Andes of Argentina.

PRICES & COSTS

All are per person.

"Andes" Leadership Fee (includes leaders expenses) -- £2095

Estimated Airfares -- £1100

Estimated Travel Costs in Argentina -- £600

Estimated Accommodation & Meals -- £700

ESTIMATED TOTAL COST per person  --  £4500


INTRODUCTION

This ski-mountaineering expedition is based around ski itineraries we have organised to 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 near the giant volcano, Volcan Domuyo, 4709m. Domuyo is the highest peak in Patagonia. We'll be stopping in two different areas to make day trips and easier 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 he 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 ferociously so 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 here we'll aim to ski either the 3978m high active volcano Volcan Tromen or the 3296m high Cerro Wayle (pictured on the top title photo). Finally we'll travel north to a camp by some hot springs at a place called Aguas Calientes from where we'll plan to ski in the Cordon del Viento on three or four of the days left. This will be on peaks up to 3000m high, such as Cerro las Papas (3040m), Cerro de la Puntilla (2940m) and 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 the conditions will be better. 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.

A similar trip is our Chilean Ski Explorer  which we have run successfully for many years, and which is currently  scheduled for October 2018.

Skiing from the summit of Volcan Copahue on the Chile-Argentina border.

Skiing from the summit of Volcan Copahue on the Chile-Argentina border, 2009 ANDES ski explorer.


OUTLINE ITINERARY
Day 1-2 Flight to Neuquen.
Day 3-6 Ski tours and possible resort day in the Caviahue/Copahue area.
Day 7 Rest and drive north.
Day 8-12 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

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.

The massive and impressive glacial lake in the crater of Volcan Copahue.

VOLCAN TROMEN

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 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 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 Argentine 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. Most of these are quite close to cmap, but all are at least a short drive and we may drive for up to ½hour to get to some of the ascents from camp. 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.  

ierra Puntilla

Scenery in the Cordon del Viento.

CLIMATE

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.

Pino Hachado skiing.  

Setting off from the roadside near the Paso Pino Hachado, 2017 Patagonia Ski Explorer.

 

SAFETY AND RISK

This is an adventurous trip and all clients taking part in this itinerary will be exposed to hazards not found in everyday life. While we take all reasonable precautions to reduce risk it is neither possible nor desirable to completely eliminate these additional hazards. Some of these hazards carry the risk of serious injury or death. It is important that you understand the risks you may be exposed to before signing our booking form. We have identified the following areas as the principal additional risks of this itinerary. This is not a fully inclusive list - please ask if you would like to see a more detailed risk assessment of this itinerary before booking.
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.

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 MIC mountaineering award, has completed his BASI level 1 and has over 300 days ski-touring experience in the Alps, Andes, Caucasus, North America, NZ and the Pamirs.

  

The campsite at Aguas Calients, neuquen.  

The campsite at Aguas Calientes, Neuquen province, in some very pleasant spring weather.

 

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