Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Argentina and Chile

Some notes on the areas and peaks skied.

Many thanks to Jorge, Craig, German and Chao at Andescross.com

Cerro Chall Huaco

A small (2000M) mountain close to Bariloche. Start from the Refugio Neumeyer which can be reached with a 4X4 or if you have a 2 wheel drive car you would probably need to walk an extra km. or two. Beautiful forest approach to the tree line followed by easy skinning and a rocky summit. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy when I was there. Nice descent. Beer and drinks served at the Refugio Neumeyer.

La Laguna

This a small area adjacent to the Cerro Cathedral Ski area. We skied a couple of really nice lines from the ridge overlooking the Frey hut. Exit through the trees back to the ski area. This was our warm up day with Jorge.


This is an amazing back country ski area about an hours drive south of Bariloche. The mountains are complex and fascinating with endless great lines. It is privately owned so you need to make use of the lodge and transport arrangements (not cheap) but it was well worth it in my opinion. We had three days skiing various lines around Cerro Villegas.

Volcan Osorno

Unfortunately we missed the weather window for our first Volcano in Chile. Super icy snow and high winds drove us back to the refugio by mid m morning.

Volcan Villarrica

A 5 hour drive from Osorno to Pucon; the base town for Villarrica. The snow had receded to the mid station in the ski area allowing 4x4 access to a higher starting point. The ascent is around 1200M, most of which is at a reasonable angle but the last section steepens significantly. We used crampons and carried skis for the last section to the crater edge. The descent was steep and icy at first but the angle gradually eased giving way to perfect spring snow and a fantastic long descent back to parking. Great views of the surrounding country side and LLaima in the distance.


Another long drive to Malalcahuello which is a good base for both Lonquimay and Llaim.  The beautiful approach drive through the Araucaria forest reachs parking at the ski area. The ascent is around 1000M to the crater rim. Again, there terrain steepens towards the top but it is more amenable than Villarrica. It is possible to ski into the crater if conditions allow. A long diagonal descent gets you back to the parking depending on snow cover.


A really inspiring volcano. Llaima dominates the surrounding land for miles around. It’s big (3125M), steep and a perfect cone shape if approached from the north. Lots of recent geology to observe on the 4x4 approach followed by a long ascent of almost 2000M to the crater rim. The descent isn’t quite as steep as Villarrica but it is long and sustained. You would definitely be in for the big ride if you fell near the top.


A big hill (3740M) on the Argentinia/Chile brorder, close to Bariloche. It is possible to make the ascent in a long day from Pampa Linda but most people choose to stay at the Refugio Otto Meiling above the tree line. We choose the latter option. The forest approach is steep, giving way to an easier angled ridge above the snow line. There is short exposed section about 1km before the hut which is not technical but definitely not a good place to trip over your tips. The weather deteriorated over night to strong winds and snow. We skinned up the glacier for about an hour before the weather forced a retreat. According to a team that summited the Argentine peak on the previous day, the glacier approach is easy angled with one crevasse just before the saddle. A short technical section from the saddle (not ski-able) gets you to the summit.


Fly to Buenos Aires, then Bariloche. For a Volcanoes only trip, fly to Santiago then Temuco in Chile.

I stayed at the excellent Hotel Las Marianas while in Bariloche; not cheap but a great place to meet other skiers and no shortage of skiing help and advice from Mariana and Cali. Bariloche is a busy town with plenty of amenities including outdoor/ski shops. The Cerro Catedral Ski area is short drive or bus (number 85), from the centre of town.


John Biggar has good information on his Andes.org.uk site and downloadable guides.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Some shots from an excellent trip to Iceland, 1st to 8th May. Poor weather but inspiring nonetheless.

Friday, April 15, 2016


I'm a bit behind with blog posts due to the pressures of work; how life changes!

Here is a report of a trip to Klosters for the Eagle Ski club jounal:


After a poor start to the Alpine skiing season the snow came just in time for Klosters Week 2 with John Hogg. The group gathered at the excellent Silvapina Hotel in Klosetrs Dorf on the Saturday night. It was snowing heavily outside and conditions looked favourable for deep powder. John gave us a run-down on safety and distributed ABS avalanche safety packs. The disadvantage of these packs is that they are fairly heavy and don’t have a much capacity but a few avalanche related anecdotes from John convinced us they were a good idea.

Day 1
It was still snowing hard in the morning. Options we limited due to the category 4 avalanche rating. We took the cable car up to Gotschngrat at 2285M. Visibility was poor due to mist and snow but the snow was excellent; deep and light. John went for a head plant early on when he caught a buried fence post. Both skis disappeared and we spent some time digging them out. We continued down towards Scwarzzeealp through rolling meadows and steeper trees to eventually cross the railway and the bus back up to Davos Dorf. In the afternoon we skied the Dorfberg; more very deep powder but by 14.30pm everything had closed due to the storm.

Day 2
Another cat 4-avalanche day. We skied the Mierhoffer Tälli in deep powder down to Wolfgang. In the afternoon we took the Parsennbahn to the Weissflujoch and skied a superb long run, on and off piste, ending up in Serneus several kilometres down the valley from Klosters; tax back.

Day 3
The avalanche hazard lowered to cat-3. More fantastic snow between the perfectly groomed pistes of the Madrisa followed by yet another big, long run down from the Gotschnagrat to Culfia.

Day 4
Light snow and -10’C at 2285m. We skied the Hoch Route and then down to Bad Seneus. In the afternoon the terrain was confusing and difficult to keep track of where we had been and where we were going next! The skiing was amazing yet again; perfect powder finishing up with a long run down to Küblis. We took the train back up the valley to Klosters

Day 5

A change of scenery on the opposite side of the valley. From the top of the Jakobshorn we skinned SE over easy terrain to a point where we could descend down to the Tallifugga. The scenery was jaw dropping but the snow turned to breakable crust lower down which severally tested our skills after 4 days of perfect powder.

Day 6
Definitely the best day. Perfect weather and great snow. From Weissflujoch we skied down past the small but shapely, Seehorn. Forty minutes of skinning brought us on to the shoulder of the Dreimaschenspitze. Skins off for a very long run down through boulders, meadows and forest to Küblis.