Our first weekend here, we headed out on a hike in the nearby mountains. The first day, we trekked up four hours to Refujio Frey, at the base of Frey Mountain, a popular trad climbing spot. We don’t have trad gear with us but might head back there in the next few weeks with some friends we’ve met who have gear.
Though only four hours away, Frey felt other-worldly with jagged, rocky outcrops, occasional whipping wind, a crystal blue lake, and beautiful vistas of the forest below. The refuijos offer drinks, meals, and lodging, though you can camp and cook on your own too. Frey’s refujio staff was awesome and super friendly–and the food there was delicious. And the refugio is 100% powered by solar and wind energy-we need a few of these in the Eastern Sierra!
We spent the following night at Refujio Jakob, about a 6 hour hike through the mountains. Jakob has a different vibe, as a) it’s set more in a valley, so lacks that ‘edge of the mountain’ feel; b) no climbing there = no climbers; c) to get there directly from down is a less-steep hike than Frey, so it seemed to attract more families and kids. Lovely regardless, but lacking the ‘edge’ of Frey. (Ack, when I go to a camping area without climbing and think it’s a little random…does that mean I am now a climber?)
At dinner at Refujio Jakob, we ended up sitting with a couple from BA. Though we attempted to talk only in Spanish, their English abilities saved the conversation! Otherwise it would have been basics plus a lot of awkward silence. We have a long road ahead of us!
Though we had wanted to continue onto Refujio Italiano, a closure due to heavy snow forced us to return to Bariloche via a long and monotonous valley. Here’s a bridge we crossed on the way down.
The only highlight was successfully hitchhiking into town with some climbers-between this and the scooter-renting, I’m hoping Steve’s dad doesn’t actually read our blog!