Ski touring Patagonia, Expedition Cerro San Lorenzo

Dates: 21th of October – 1st of November 2019
Privat dates: September – November 

Cerro San Lorenzo seen from Refugio

Cerro San Lorenzo is the second highest peak in the Patagonian Andes (47° 36′ S, 72° 19’W). It’s a huge mountain range that rises about 3300meters out of its surroundings.

Not only its elevation is very special, also its location. This mountain stands between the southern and the northern continental icefields and exactly between the Argentinian and the Chilenian boarder.
It is surrounded by four huge glaciers.

We choose the so called “routa de Agostini”, named after the first climber Padre de Agostini in 1943.
We offer this route as a wonderful ski touring expedition.

Cerro San Lorenzo mountaineering tour

Itinerary ski touring Patagonia, Cerro San Lorenzo:

Day 1
Transport from Balmaceda airport to the hotel in Coyhaique.
Meet and greet with the guides and the other guests.
Night in a hotel in Coyhaique

Day 2
Transfer by car to Cochrane, one of the last small villages at the famous routa 40. (6 hours)
Overnight stay in a hotel in Cochrane

Day 3
Transport with a fourwheel drive car to Fundo San Lorenzo, our starting point
Here we enjoy a typical, delicious patagonian grilled sheep, a “Cordero Patagonico”
Night at the Fundo, a local farmers mountain home

Day 4
Trekking to Refugio Toni Rohrer, a small pretty shelter in the woods. Night at the Refugio

Day 5
We reach Paso del comedor and Brecha del comedor (aprox. 6hrs)
Overnight in the tent

Day 6
Cumbre!!! All the way up to Cerro san Lorenzo today and a great ski down back to the camp (aprox. 8-9hrs)
Overnight in the tent

Day 7
Back to Refugio Rohrer

Day 8
Back to Fundo San Lorenzo
Overnight stay at the Fundo

Day 9
Transport back to the hotel in Coyhaique
(This program is base on nice weather. As the weather can change very quick in this area, it’s important to plan a couple back up days)

Day 10-12
back up days

Map San Lorenzo, skitouring Patagonia:

map of cerro San Lorenzo Patagonia

Personal requirements:

Proper parallel turn in all snow conditions
Walking with crampons
Enough personal fitness to climb 1000m a day (total 3100m), with a backpack (15-18kg)

How to get there:

Flight to Santiago de Chile and from there to Balmaceda airport. It’s served by Latam airlines. That’s where we pick you up.

driving to the basecamp of cerro San Lorenzo

Price:

Please contact us for the actual price and your group size

Included in the price:

Organisation, 2 local IVBV-IFMGA mountain guides, transport from Balmaceda airport, Coyhaique to Fundo San Lorenzo and back, all meals, 1 night at a Hotel, luggage transport to the mountain hut by horse, tents and cooking equipment

Not included in the price:

Personal equipment, personal insurances (accident, annulation, travel etc.)

View from the top of Cerro San Lorenzo
Experience Report from a Ski touring Patagonia trip in 2014:

Cerro San Lorenzo – A ski expedition on the second highest mountain of Patagonia

Cerro San Lorenzo is with 3706m the second highest mountain of Patagonia. It is one of the greatest mountain massifs Chile and Argentina have to offer. Like a gigantic castle, the mountain’s shape rises far to the east over the Argentine pampas. Parque Nacional Perito Moreno lies in the south of it.

Skitouring at Cerro San Lorenzo Patagonia

De Agostini Route

For our expedition we decided for the “normal route”, the Route de Agostini. A Salesian priest who is able to climb the mountains was the first to dare to climb the impressive mountain via de Agostini Route.
Patagonia alone is a world in itself. But the region of the Cordillera, which houses the high peaks of San Lorenzo, is even more special. These mountains occupied a different position alds the other groups of the Cordillera Patagonia Austral.
They are the only ones that have moved to the east with comparison of the axis of the Andes. More than at any other place in Patagonia, the history of the Andinists who have circumnavigated this mountain has been shaped by researchers, geographers, miners, farmers with estancias and military.
Thus exciting stories of the whole world were created. 

Great mountain ambience 

This massif does not offer spectacular yellow, grey or pink granite walls as its famous neighbor the Fitz Roy massif. Here there is a spectacle of various coloured volcanic stones which are not very suitable for climbers. What is extraordinary, however, is the ambience. The impressive solitude of the main summit which resembles from its proportions a Himalayan summit, the colorful swamp meadows and high plateaus of Argentina and the green valleys of Chile on the other side.

Hidden Paradise

If you want to explore real, wild Patagonia, you will find a hidden paradise here. This massif lies roughly between Lago Pueyredon – Cochrane in the north and Paso de la Balsa in the south. In the east of the Argentine side the valleys are more and more dry and sandy with contrast to the Chilean west where dense, almost impenetrable Lenga forest lies. The summit of San Lorenzo with its 3706m is the second highest of the Patagonian Cordillera Austral. Only the Cerro San Valentin and the adjacent Cuerno de Plata which dominate the northern continental ice field are higher.

Cerro San Lorenzo Mountain views

Discovering San Lorenzo

The first one who was really interested in this mountain was the naturalist Clemente Onelli (164-1924). After his studies in Rome he left for Argentina to work out the borders of Argentina with Perito Moreno. Together with geographers and border committees. Onelli followed the transit path of the Indios, which is today the Ruta Nacional No. 40, through the Valle de l Pintura. He said about this region: “It is the biggest forgotten landscape the creator made in the world. After days of riding through the dry Argentine steppe he finally passed the deep green Lago Pueyredon, which had been discovered by the geographers shortly before. From there he followed the Rio Oro. At the end of this path, where he found many obsidian peaks, he finally came across the impressive San Lorenzo Massif.

He described it as follows:

From here I saw a gigantic, grandiose crown of a bluish mass of ice that dominated the whole landscape, it was an huge mountain towering over the sky tent, its shape and dimension reminded me of Mont Blanc.
There he found other goegraves exploring its deep blue lagoons, rivers and glaciers.

First Ascent 

This magical place attracts mountaineers as well as nature lovers who want to hike around or simply enjoy this natural spectacle. Shortly thereafter, gold seekers and sheep barons came to this area, who appropriated huge estancias. Today after the wool and gold boom the sheep farmers live here in simple conditions and it is again the epoch of isolated nature freaks arrived. Many farmers have moved to places like Comodoro Rivadavia to work in the Petrol.

skitouring in October in patagonia
De Agostini

The first one who turned his eyes to the San Lorenzo out of mountaineering interest, was probably Father Alberto Maria de Agostini (1883-1937).
The formidable walls that surround the San Lorenzo from all sides cut apart in thousand meter height, look like a gigantic castle that has its white summit of ice mushrooms against all mountaineers.
This mountain which has a beautiful, polished ridge from this side, which is encrusted by ice and snow, appeared like a sphinx. In 1940, after often dreaming of climbing this mountain, he began to explore the various valleys for a possible ascent route.

1941

In 1941 he returned with two young climbers, Zampieri and Alfredo Lopez. They climbed various peaks and traversed glaciers to better explore the area. Because of the war in Europe in 1943 no Italian mountain guides could accompany him as in earlier expeditions. He was accompanied by two members of the Club Andino Bariloche. The Swiss mountain guide Alejandro Hemmi and the Austrian Heiberto shmoll, a gifted climber. Thanks to some Italian engineers, who worked on the road to the south, they quickly reached the Valle Rio Oro by ox and cart. The ascent to the foot of San Lorenzo through a narrow gorge was precarious. Steep rock walls with condor nests bordered the falling mountain stream. At the forest border they set up a base camp of para boards.

Summit

On 17.12.1943 he was the first to reach the summit at the age of 60, which they reached after almost two weeks via the so-called de Agostini Route. Over glaciers passes and a steep 500m long wall with Seracs they reached the pre summit and in the late evening and after hitting countless stairs in the ice they reached the main summit. Almost 3000 meters of altitude and 15km.

When dreams come true

Our dream was to be able to explore this secret area. There is not much to read from this massif. Nevertheless we felt well prepared and started our way from Bariloche through Argentina to the border pass Roballos by car. Home of the Guanacos and Avestruses, high plateaus whipped by the winter, colorful lagoons down into the valley of the Rio Baker. Almost unnaturally, this turquoise-green spray descends to Cochrane. A small town at Lago Cochrane, last bigger inhabited place of the Caretera Austral. Everything what is missing can be bought here in a typical supermarket. Typically you can find everything in the same four walls. From the cheese to the chainsaw, rifle, cleaning rag, pants, whatever you need to survive a longer time in the wilderness of Patagonia.

Fundo San Lorenzo

Towards the Fundo San Lorenzo the road is getting smaller and smaller and without 4×4 it is recommended to either continue walking or to contact Luis Soto from Fundo San Lorenzo. He was happy to pick us up and take us to his paradise the Fundo. A summer pasture where he lives with his family in summer and where his cows, horses and sheep graze. He has set up a wonderful campsite here even with hot showers.

Refugio – home away from home

The next morning we walk up to the base camp of San Lorenzo in rainy weather along the almost 300m high Arroyo San Lorenzo. We do the almost 2.5 hour walk twice, as we have to carry our touring skis, tent, sleeping bags and food for about 10 days. The base camp is a beautifully made Refugio with a typical Chilean cypress shingle roof and wooden board walls. There is even an oven in which I bake four times wholemeal bread with raisins during our stay. This Refugio was lovingly created by the Soto family with financial support from Mrs. Rohrer. On a joint ascent of the Cerro San Lorenzo, her husband and Swiss mountain guide died in a tragic accident.

refugio San Lorenzo

The adventure can start

Now we are already here for a week, we want to enjoy this Patagonian expedition. At this time of year (at the beginning of October) you won’t find a soul here. Some birds and a red woodpecker have been seen so far. Yesterday we explored a parallel valley in Argentina. First by dense bushes and partly swampIn the evening we are back in Chile at the Refugio Toni Rohrer and enjoy a lentil stew with lots of chili over a fire.

Depositing material

The days before we explored part of  the de Agostini route and deposited some of the items like tent and food. Our goal is to climb the summit on two beautiful days. But since it is about a 3000 meters ascent only a few kilos. These tours were beautiful, unbelievable this landscape. Granite towers, glaciers, valleys as far as the eye can see. Once we wanted to try a summit attack. But the typically strong Patagonian wind made it impossible to get further. Thus we came back to the hut in the evening at 19 o’clock. Today we make a comfortable hut day. Sawing wood, baking bread and getting the material in shape, tomorrow we should start.

An other try

Thinking again about the luggage, have we taken everything we will need with us? The weather looks promising, still some clouds but it looks promising. We put the track to Paso Comedor in already some days ago. So it quickly goes uphill. After four hours we reach the brecha de la Cornisa, our camp for tonight. It storms, we have difficulties setting up the tent and the drops of sweat from the ascent freeze quite fast. In the tent we nest ourselves in warm down sleeping bags, cook ourselves a strengthening dinner and enjoy the enormous sunset.

Night before the adventure

Between the rock towers and on the big glacier we try to sleep for a few hours. The continuous knocking of the tent wall changes after some hours into a silence, as it can probably only exist up here. Alarm at 4.00 am, the calming view from the tent shows only a starry sky. A few Mate teas and a Chilean breakfast, getting into the stiff shoes, putting on a climbing harness, everything is ready and off we go.

Sunset at the base camp

The climb 

Over a small couloir we climb on the huge Coshuenqo glacier. It’s freezing cold but the fact that we’ll finally  go to San Lorenzo today makes my blood boil. The descent from 100M and the 2Km long traversing of the glacier makes our bodies wake up. Finally we stand under the huge serac area.
Is there a way through the seracs? Will the weather hold?

Step by step we work our way up between the crevasses. We master a few climbing passages well and after four hours we stand on top of the long ridge leading to the pre summit.  The view is simply stunning. No house and no road for miles, but countless Chilean and Argentinean peaks and turquoise, green, blue and grey lagoons. Glaciers and rivers as far as the eye can see. It is pleasantly warm today and amazingly no wind blows.

Summit

It has 20cm of fresh snow. The real summit shows up only after we have bypassed the pre summit west. The sight of the summit is beautiful! It is covered by the typical mushrooms formed by humidity and the strong winds. Now it is time to descend again and climb the summit with the newly gained strength. Unbelievable, we made it! After 8 hours the destination is reached, we are overjoyed. Unfortunately we can’t stay too long, we want to go back to the tent today.

happy skiers in Argentina skitouring cerro San Lorenzo

The descent

The descent and the downhill  without any problems. We’re safely and overjoyed, but also tired, back to our camp. We have saved one last fine pasta dinner, which we enjoy to the full. We even find a trickle and don’t have to melt any water for today. How well it sleeps in our tent today, I would not change it with any 5 star hotel.
Already the last day of our expedition arrives, a long beautiful ski descent to the hut, packing everything into the backpack and another two hours marching to the Fundo San Lorenzo.
Louis has prepared the most beautiful surprise for us. He heated the oven for the hot shower water. We enjoy the most pleasant shower and body and mind relax slowly but surely. Our dream has come true.

skiing at cerro San Lorenzo

Autor:

Ella Alpiger, owner of Patagoniatiptop and Patagonia lover. Her favorite animals are the Cuanacos, often to be seen in the Patagonian step land on the way to Cerro San Lorenzo base camp:

Wildlife along the road


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Skitouring the Patagonian Volcanos

Dates: (Please ask us also for privat dates)

2019: 5th – 18th of October  

2020: 21st of September  – 4th of October

Ski Chile and Argentina with us!

7-14 days programs available. Tailor maid for you.

When the days start to get shorter in the northern hemisphere, spring is slowly waking up in Patagonia. For the ski touring fans this means corn and sometimes powder snow skiing under the south american sun. Some experts speak about the best spring skiing in the world.

All our ski touring goals between Bariloche and Temuco are between 2000 and 3000 meters high and no long acclimatization is necessary.

Our skiing adventure starts in Bariloche Argentina or in Temuco Chile airport and ends in either of both, depending on the itinerary you choose. We can offer a round trip or also a point to point trip. Bariloche is situated in the northern part of Argentina’s Patagonia in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. There are great ski touring options around the so called “Switzerland of south America” in the Patagonian Lake District. The incredible views down to the huge lakes and rainforests are stunning.

After the amazing volcano-skiing in Chiles “small south” where we ski volcanos like Casablanca, Osorno and Villarica we cross the boarder into Argentinas lake basin.

We choose those volcanos and mountains with the best conditions at the moment we are there. (There are about 10 volcanos to choose from).

Relax included

To relax between the tours, we take you to some of the worlds best hot springs in hidden valleys and eat great seafood as well as Argentine beef. Come join us on this exotic skiing adventure!

At a glance:
  • 14 days / 13 nights in Chile & Argentina
  • 8 volcanos
  • 3 hot springs
Day to day itinerary, a program option that we like:

Day 1: Meet at Temuco airport – drive to Malalcahuello
Your mountain guide picks you up at the airport and drives you to the foot of the volcano Lonquimay.
Night in Hotel Malalcahuello

Day 2: Skitour volcano Lonquimay 2865m
Our first volcano, Lonquimay is surrounded by very old Araucaria trees and is perfect for a start into the Volcano-tour.
+ 1365m
Night in Hotel in Malalcahuello

Day 3: Skitour volcano Llaima 3125m
Llaima is one of the biggest volcanos in this area and stands in the Conguillio National park. It’s name means “the reawakened” in Mapuche language, the language of the local people.
+1325m
Night in Hotel Malalcahuello

Relaxing day

Day 4: Travel to Pucon and hot springs „Los Pozones“
We use this day to relax and reload our batteries. The Pozones hot springs is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature. Pucon is one of Chiles favorite outdoor destination, a small vibrant town on the foot of Villarica vulcano. We spend the evening and night here.
Night in Hotel in Pucon
Drive: 160km

Day 5: Skitour volcano Villarica 2847m
A short drive up into the Villarica national park. Today we will climb the 2847m high volcano Villarica.
The long ascend is very much worth it: a view in to the bubbling Magma in the crater and a great downhill run on the slopes up to 35° back down to the car.
+1450m
Night in Hotel Pucon

Hidden hot springs and more volcanos 

Day 6: Hidden Hot Springs in the woods – Huilo Huilo Natural Reserve
A magical relax day! This natural hot springs  have an idyllic setting between the mountains. There are several pools with varying temperature for personal selection. The setting is very natural and quiet. After soaking our muscles we continue the drive into the Huilo Huilo natural reserve where we can discover the Valdivian rainforest.
Night in Hotel in the Huilo Huilo Nature Reserve

Day 7: Skitour volcano Choshuenco 2300m, travel south to Llanquihue lake
The Mocho-Choshuenco volcano lies directly behind our Hotel, we cross the Huilo Huilo river with it’s clear blue water and skin up trough the rain forest to the top of this twin volcano.
After the tour we drive down south into Chiles Lake District and to the beautiful Llanquihue.
+1000m
Night in Hotel in Puerto Varas

Day 8: Skitour volcano Osorno 2650m – Antillanca hot springs
Maybe the most perfect conical shaped volcano on the tour. We reach it after a short drive around Llanquihue lake, Chiles biggest sweet water lake. From the top we will be able to overlook the whole lake basin and all the way to the Fjords near Puerto Montt. A short drive brings us to Antillanca and it’s hot springs near the Argentine boarder.
+1300m
Night in Hotel in Antillanca

Volcanos Casablanca and Puyehue

Day 9: Volcano Casablanca 2050m
Casablanca or the whit house is our last volcano in Chile. Easy to reach from the Antillanca ski area.
In the afternoon we drive over the Samore pass and the boarder line into Argentina down to the Nahuel Heap National Park
+900m
Night in Hotel in  Puyehue

Day 10: Refugio Puyehue, 1450m
We walk up to Refugio Puyehue trough thick Valdivian rainforest.
+1000m
Night at Refugio Puyehue

Day 11: Volcano Puyehue, 2240m
Skitour up to Volcano Puyehue where we’ll be able to overlook the huge crater. Ski back down.
Night in  Hotel in Puyehue

Day 12: Travel day to Bariloche, Argentina
We drive over the boarder into Argentina today and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Bariloche.
Night in Bariloche

Cerro Tronador

Day 13: Skitour Refugio Meiling, 2000m
We hike up to Refugio Meiling from the hamlet of Pampa Linda. It takes a 1.5hr drive from Bariloche trough the Nahuel Huapi National Park and along the pale blue Gutierrez and Mascardi lakes.
We first hike trough a forest and skin up reaching the hut at the foot of the glacier.
+1000m 
Night at Refugio Meiling, 2000m

Day 14: Skitour Cerro Tronador 3200m, Back to Bariloche
We start early this morning after a breakfast at the hut. We skin up over big, wide glaciers to the Blanco Pass. The last part to the summit gets a bit steeper, but no climbing techniques are required.
Ready for an unforgettable ski run down?
+1200m
Night and farewell dinner in Bariloche

(Itinerary will be adapted to weather and snow conditions if needed.)

Price per skier in Swiss Francs:
  • With 2 skiers: 5690.- CHF 
  • With 3 skiers: 5184.- CHF
  • With 4 skiers: 4161.- CHF

Included in the price:

  • Organisation, UIAGM – IFMGA mountain guide, private ground transportation, 11 accommodations in hotels in double rooms, 2 nights at mountain huts, breakfasts, dinners, lunches

Not included in the price:

  • Personal insurances (accident, cancelation, travel etc.), thermal bath entries, drinks, flights, personal equipment
  • Please contact us for programs and prices tailored to your wishes!
How to get to to Bariloche, Argentina
  • Take a 2 hours flight from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
How to get to Temuco, Chile
  • Take a 2 hours flight from Santiago de Chile, the capital of Chile.
Map with all the volcanos and our route
Map of all the volcanos we ski in Patagonia
Geography and History of Patagonia

Patagonia is the scene of the world’s great adventures. Even if you know little of the place, the name itself inhabits our subconscious, whispering of an unknown finger of the earth, el fin del mundo. You picture large silent spaces and windblown solitude.

The first Europeans to lay eyes on this landscape were led by Ferdinand Magellan, who pioneered passage trough the treacherous strait that now bears his name. His expedition named the mainland “Tierra de los Patagones” unwittingly spawning the myth of a race of Patagonian giants.

The Pampa

To the east of the Patagonian Andes, the pampa is an immense desert, by some accounts among the five largest deserts in the world. West of the Andes is another world. Here both the Central Valley and the Coast Range have sunk into the Pacific; what were once glacial valleys are now fjords, and what were once mountaintops ar now islands. Hotsprings lay revealed by coastal erosion while great glaciers further fragment the landscape, necessitating maritime or air travel. Great forests cloak the Andes from the Pacific shoreline to the continental divide, bisected by surging emerald rivers carrying glacial silt to the sea and providing habitat for fearless trout and salmon.


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Travel Blog

A ski trip to the Lake District of Chile & Argentina
“Snow-white perfect volcanoes… strung together like a string of pearls.”


volcano llaima with green fields and cows

The firehouses of the Mapuche Indians – The ring of fire

Volcanoes have always fascinated me. If they are also suitable for skiing and produce hot thermal water, they offer a perfect experience. In the Chilean-Argentine Lake District there are about twenty volcanoes that form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The snow-white volcanoes, perfectly conical in shape, are a string of pearls. They tower high above the green meadows, primeval forests and crystal-clear rivers.

The lolak Mapuche Indians called them Pillan or “firehouses”. Pillan is the name for a powerful, extraordinary, powerful and sinister appearance. Even today they still try to conjure up the spirits in the volcanoes with the help of ancient rituals.

Mapuche people

The Mapuche are considered to be the worst-humoured, proudest Indians in South America.
In December 1553, at the Battle of Tucapel, they brought a first terrible defeat to the conquistadors who were accustomed to victory. The greedy Spanish governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia, is said to have been
in battle. Rumour has it that the Mapuche poured glowing liquid gold into his throat. Also in the following time the Indians successfully prevented a further colonization of Chile. The ongoing resistance of the indigenous people was so successful that in 1641 the Spanish had to recognise the Mapuche nation as an independent territory in a treaty, a unique process in the history of South America. So the persistently bad mood for the Mapuche paid off. Unlike most Indian peoples, they survived colonization.

Temuco

In Temuco, where volcanic forces have created fascinating lunar landscapes over thousands of years, where remote mountain lakes glow and thermal springs gush, where thousand-year-old primeval forests with araucaria and southern beeches have been preserved – this is where our ski tours begin.

Volcano Lonquimay, 2865M

At the foot of the Lonquimay volcano we spend the night in a quiet lodge. The next morning we drive to the ski resort of Corralco, and put the skins on our skis. The Lonquimay with its 2865m is the perfect entry mountain into our ski adventure.
After an ascent of 1362m we stand on its ridge and enjoy the wonderful view of the surrounding volcanoes. We can already have a look at the volcano Llaima, our summit destination tomorrow. In the afternoon we enjoy the warm spring sun in the garden of our lodge. The neighbours invite us for a typical dinner. We can try the yellow Llao Llao mushrooms, which grow on the native Andean beeches, pasta from the nuts of the Araucaria and fresh trout from the river.

Volcano Llaima, 3125M

The next morning we drive into the Conguigilo National Park on a bumpy natural road, freshly strengthened. The snow line is exactly at our starting point and so we can start with the skins from the car. Through the lively araucaria trees we go up to the steeper slopes of the Llaimas. It is one of the highest and most active volcanoes in the area. We deposit the skis 300m below the summit and climb the last meters with crampons. Again and again it steams from holes filled with avalanche stones. A bizarre contrast to the frozen snow through which we find our way to the summit. Also on the summit there is a mixture of ice and warm, steaming avalanche stones in all colours.
A great descent brings us back down to our pick-up. A cold beer which we put in the lagoon tastes very good.

Drive to Pucon

We drive around the Llaima and after a three-hour drive in the south through forests, small villages and green meadows we reach the big Villarica lake. On its southern shore lies the volcano Villarica which proudly watches over the area.
We spend the night in the small town of Pucon, the Chilean outdoor Mecca par excellence. A paradise for hiking, rafting, biking. There is a lot going on in the main street with all the restaurants and cafes. We enjoy a nice dinner with Sopa y Pilla, the typical salty pastry as Appetizer and Carmenére wine from a winery near Santiago de Chile.

Hot springs

If in Pucon then you have to treat yourself to a day in one of the surrounding thermal baths. We drive on the east side of the Villarica to the Geometricas baths. These are beautifully located, hidden in a small valley. Red wooden walkways lead to the numerous pools with water temperatures between freezing cold and 39C. Large, green Nalcabättern, a kind of wild rhubarb decorate the slopes and slowly but surely the tired muscles recover.

Villarica Volcano, 2847M

A layer of fog covers the valley floor around Pucon. All the more we are drawn up into the sky. Also the Bandurria birds (Ibis) with their loud screeching help us to exchange the bed for the ski touring skis. As hoped, we quickly get out of the fog. A huge sea of fog lies below us. Pucon also has a small ski area from which the tour to the volcano can be started.
The Villarica offers a very special spectacle. Already on its steep summit flank a wave of stinking eggs rises from time to time in the nose. We’ll soon find out where these smells come from. A huge crater opens and we can even observe the red, bubbling Lawa in its throat. The descent from 1400m offers some ice above, then hard powder and beautiful spring snow below.

A Legend

A legend explains why volcano Lanin is extinct: The god of the volcanoes Pillan, sign of the evil has become angry, because the boys Huaiquimil Indians Huemules, Andes stags would have hunted. He made the volcano Lawa spit ashes and stones over the landscape. The volcano could only be reassured when Huilefun, the prisoner’s pretty daughter, was sacrificed to it. So they brought the Indians to a sacrificial stone where they were immediately recited by a large condor and thrown into the crater. From this moment on the volcano has calmed down, its fires are extinguished and Huemules may not be hunted any more…

Argentina, Volcano Tronador 3187m

When rain is announced in Chile, it is often worthwhile to change to the Argentinean sides of the Andes. So also this time. Through dry steppe landscape we drive into the so-called Switzerland of Argentina, to Bariloche. The little town is situated at the big Nahuel Huapi Lake and is very popular with tourists and athletes from all over the world thanks to its beautiful landscape.
To really dive into the Gaucho world we test ourselves the next day on horseback on a ride on an estancia. We are invited by the Estancieros to a fine Asado with delicious beef, Empanadas and Malbec wine. An extensive siesta and we are ready for tomorrow’s ascent to Refugio Meiling at Cerro Tronador.

Ascent to Pampa Linda 

In the Pampa Linda, the beautiful Pampa, our ascent begins through an impressive forest with huge Coihues trees. In about 4 hours we arrive at the Refugio. Lorena has already heated up and brewed coffee. She cooks a delicious lentil stew while it blows and snows outside. The strong winds shake the hut all night long. It only remains to hope that tomorrow it will be calmer. We almost overslept, no sound can be heard and the sun slowly rises in the distance. A splendid day without clouds and wind!

To the top

Federico, our local IVBV mountain guide from Patagoniatiptop, will take you up to the pass between the Pico Argentino and the Pico Internacional. The extinct volcano has 3 peaks. Our destination is Argentina, the Pico Chilene in Chile and the International, as the name suggests, right on the border.
From the pass it goes steeply up with a short, easy climbing tour in the second degree at the very end. It’s great to be up here. If our guests had more time, we could add some more volcanoes to the program. We see the volcanoes Osorno, Puntiagudo, Puyehue which erupted in 2011 and Casablanca. All are great ski touring mountains.

After the descent and a short descent we drive through the Nahuel Huapi National Park back to Bariloche. Our guests from Switzerland fly back home in the morning.

Arrival:

The tour can be made as a round trip from/to Bariloche or as an Andes traverse from Temuco, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina or vice versa. The airport of Temuco can be reached with a domestic flight from Santiago de Chile, that of Bariloche with a two-hour flight from Buenos Aires.

Best time to go ski touring:

Early September to mid October are ideal for ski tours on the volcanoes. The days are longer and the climate is comparable to March/April in the northern hemisphere. Down in the valleys it is already pleasantly warm and often the slopes of the volcanoes offer perfect firn conditions. As in the Alps, it can snow in spring. The volcanoes often surprise you with powder snow.

Program suggestions:

Flexibility is the magic word for a good ski tour program in this area. Depending on the weather, it can be very valuable to switch quickly from one side of the Andes to the other. Weather and conditions can vary greatly. We like to keep our programs flexible so that our guests can enjoy the best descents. 

Personal requirements:

Daily ascents from 1200-1800m should be mastered. On some volcanoes you have to climb the top with crampons. Experience is required. Downhill runs in all kinds of snow with up to 40 degrees should not be a problem.

Author:

Ella Alpiger, Swiss hiking guide and snow sports teacher, owner Patagoniatiptop GmbH. For over 10 years I have been travelling back and forth between Patagonia and the Alps and have been able to turn my dream into my profession.



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Patagonia Skitouring weeks, Bariloche


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Dates: September and October are ideal for this tour

Ski touring week, Bariloche

Patagonia…one of this rare places to remain wild and pure. It’s a real paradise for adventurer and those that like to explore this places on skis!
You can enjoy great views on the striking blue lakes around Bariloche and after some powder runs you might want to enjoy the famous Argentinean cuisine and its wines. We skitour the nicest peaks around Bariloche, explore the Frey hut area and finish our trip with the ascent of the sleeping volcano Cerro Tronador.

Day to day itinerary:

Arrival day:
Meeting at the Hotel in Bariloche to check the equipment for the week
Night and dinner at Hotel in Bariloche

1st Day:  Cerro Chall-Huaco (2000m)
A bit outside of Bariloche in the step lies Cerro Chall Huaco. A perfect warm-up tour!
Night and dinner at Hotel in Bariloche

2nd Day:  Cerro Lopez (2070m)
Our personal favorite ski touring mountain in our back yard! We pass the Lopez mountain hut and get to the top of Cerro Lopez where spectacular views to Cerro Tronador and over the Lake District await us.
Night and dinner at Hotel in Bariloche

3rd Day: Refugio Frey (1700m)
We take the lifts from Cerro Cathedral ski area to get to our starting point today. We ski tour to Frey Hut that lies just above tree line next to the small Laguna Frey. A ski touring paradise!
Night and dinner at Frey hut

4th day: Skitouring Refugio Frey area
Countless options for today: Couloires between the red granite towers and small mountain lagoons wait to be discovered.
Night and dinner at Frey hut

5th day: Bariloche
We enjoy some more ski touring in the Frey area before skiing back to Bariloche.
Night and dinner at Hotel in Bariloche

6th day: Pampa Linda –  Meiling mountain hut (2000m)
We follow the tracks of Otto Meiling one of the first Andringst. We reach the Mietling hut from “Pampa Linda” in the Nahuel Haupi National Park. This hut lies on the foot of Cerro Tronador surrounded by glaciers.
Night and dinner at Meiling hut

7th day: Cerro Tronador, Pico Argentino (3200m)
Cerro Tronador, the king of the mountains in the Bariloche area! We enjoy a very long glacier descent on this sleeping volcano today!
Transport back to Bariloche
Night and final dinner at Hotel in Bariloche

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Rates:

Up to 2 pax: 2596.- USD per pax
3 pax: 2006.- USD per pax
4 and more pax: 1723.- USD per pax

Included in the rate:
Organisation, local, english speaking UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guide, all transporte from/to Bariloche airport, 4 nights with half board at mountain huts, 4 nights with half board at Hotel in Bariloche, skipass day 3, all lunches

Not included:
Flight, personal insurance (accident, travel, annulation, etc. ), drinks

How to get to Bariloche

Bariloche is situated in the Argentine lake district and can be reached with a 2hrs flight from Buenos Aires (also by bus from Buenos Aires aprox. 18hrs).
If you come from Chile, Bariloche can be reached with a bus from Puerto Montt or Osorno.

What people think about Bariloche

“This place is full of shocking beauty. Bariloche, likely the most well-known Argentine Patagonian outpost, has mountains and subsequent vistas with a scale that makes the Rockies or the Alps look almost fragile. The terrain here is huge not only in height but also in space occupation, and, with the added bonus of wide dabbles of lakes cutting through the volume, the effect is only amplified by the resulting interplay of light, reflection, and depth perception.”

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Rock climbing Bariloche, Refugio Frey – Patagonia

Dates: October through April

“Granite spires in an uncomparable setting!”

Climbing experience:

Rock climbing from 2 – 5 days with a certified UIAGM – mountain guide. There is something for every level of traditional and sport climbing. A wide spectrum of climbing from the clean cracks to challenging heady sport cracks to chimneys to off widths with each ending atop some precipitous spire with a view.

Imagine a wonderland of endless spires of quality granite bathed in alpine sun amid a backdrop of snow capped volcanoes, enormous alpine lakes, soaring condors, and friendly Argentines that know how to make pizza, beer and chocolate. Indeed such a land does exist nestled on the east side of the Andes a short steep hike up from Bariloche in the lake district of Argentina.

It’s regarded by many as the best rock climbing area in South America. Honey-coloured granite pinnacles surround a beautiful  basin with a laguna. The rock is weathered, solid and breathtakingly beautiful.

To climbers, Patagonia means rumbling glaciers, ceaseless wind, and world-class alpinism. Frey, a pair of connected alpine cirques in northern Argentine Patagonia, borrows from both of these perceptions. It’s the Patagonia of steep splitters and looming spires. If you’d rather climb than scowl over bleak forecasts, Frey’s one- to 10-pitch granite routes, following steep splitters and huecoed faces, might just be Patagonian paradise.

Prices:
  • 2 days of guided rock climbing:

1 person: 600 USD
2 persons: 300 USD each

Every following day: 300 USD
(max. 2 climbers/guide)

  • Price does not include transportation, huts, meals, insurances
Frey Hut, 1700m:

A two-story stone Refugio above tree line, a mere frisbee toss from frigid Lake Toncek that servers delicious food and Argentine wine and their own beer. You can camp out or sleep in the dorms.

The Frey mountain hut in Bariloche lies on a beautiful lake in the mountains

climbing-guide-bariloche

Getting there:

A flight to Buenos Aires and a 21 hrs deluxe tour bus ride, or a 2hrs  direct flight from Buenos Aires to reach San Carlos de Bariloche. A 10km +700m hike from Villa Cathedral brings you in 3-4 hours up to Refugio Frey.


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Ski touring Haute Route Chamonix – Zermatt

Dates: March – May, please choose your date for privat tours

From the French to the Swiss historical alpine capital

This six day Ski tour on glaciers for the most part, offers exceptional beauty of the landscapes. It traverses the crest of the Western Alps and passes through some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Europe. We start in Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc and ski across the Wallis glaciers of Switzerland. The tour ends with a unique ski descent on the foot of the Matterhorn down to Zermatt.

  • 6 skitouring days
  • 5 nights in typical mountain huts
Daily itinerary

Day 1: Chamonix – Refuge d’Argentière
Chamonix – Refuge d’Argentière
Elevation gain: 200m
Vertical loss: 800m

Day 2: Refuge de Trient
Ref Argentiere  – Refuge Trient
Elevation gain: 1100m
Vertical loss: 300m

Day 3: Refuge Prafleuri
Refuge Trient – Refuge Prafleuri
Elevation gain: 700m
Vertical loss: 2700m

Day 4: Cabane de Dix
Refuge Prafleuri  – Cabane de Dix
Elevation gain: 800m
Vertical loss: 450m

Day 5: Cabane des Vignettes
Cabane de Dix – Cabane des Vignettes
Elevation gain: 850m

Day 6: Zermatt
Cabane des Vignettes – Zermatt
Elevation gain: 900m
Vertical loss: 2100m

Map:

map of the haute route Skitour from chamonix to zermatt

Price:

1560.-€ (min. 4 guests, max 6)
This spectacular tour can be done in many different ways. Adding more peaks or changing tour route with other huts. Please contact us for more informations.

Included in the price: Organisation, IFMGA mountain guiding, Private Transport Champex – Verbier on Day 2,  half board in the huts
Not included in the price: Lunch & Drinks, Lift tickets, personal insurance*, personal equipment

*We strongly recommend the purchase of a cancellation, accident, travel insurance.

Level requirements

This trip is for experienced ski tourers who have already done at least one hut-to-hut tour or a multi-day ski tour. You should be able to skin up to 5 hours with up to 1100m vertical gain per day, at a good steady pace.
Efficiency in your skinning technique and confident moving over a steep and exposed terrain should be no problem. You are expected to be comfortable and safe doing kick turns on slopes of over 35 degrees.
Are you an excellent off piste skier, confident and efficient in skiing in all snow conditions without losing control over your skis?  Skiing on slopes of 40 degrees is not a problem of you?
You should be physically fit, ready to hike and ski for up to 8 hours per day without being too tired the next day. You have to be able to move reasonably fast (climb 400m/h).

Haute Route Mont Blanc Extension 

Why not benefit from your fitness and acclimatization and climb Mont Blanc with skis following your completion of the Haute Route? Take a look at our program!


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Private Ski & Telemark Lessons, Chamonix Valley & Megève

December – April

Skiing:
Highest ski pistes: 3842m
Kilometres of Pistes: 150km
Lifts: 49
Slopes:
21% Beginner
31% Intermediate
48% Advanced

perfect chamonix ski slope

Professional privat Ski – and Telemark lessons in the Chamonix valley & Megève ski area from December until end of April. Learn from the Swiss Ex-world cup ski racer Ella Alpiger and her team.

Everything about Chamonix ski resort is big. In the shadow of Mont Blanc, the deep valley has more skiable slopes than seems reasonable. With several ski areas distributed across the huge mountain ranges to north and south, a thriving town in the centre and smaller, charming mountain villages in the valley, there’s something for everyone.

With the Mont Blanc as its backdrop, Megève ski area is in a lovely sunny setting and the village has a beautifully preserved, partly medieval centre. It’s the capital of the mountain way of life, an authentic village in the Savoy Alps that is covered by a carpet of snow every winter.

Many different slopes in all different colors and challenging Out-bound runs are waiting for you to be discovered.
Beginners and Experts are welcome to join the lessons!

We will analyze your skiing on video camera. Fast technical progress and more enjoyable ski days are the result of that.

Prices for private teaching in the Chamonix valley ski areas:

Daily Ski and Telemark lessons, Off – piste days and Ski touring intro courses:

Half day (3hrs): 240.00€

  • 09:00-12:00 / 13:00 – 16:00: 

All day (6hrs): 360.00€ / High season: 410.00€

  • 09:00 – 15:00: 

Included in the price: Teaching, Video of your progress, pick up at your Hotel

Please consult fees for Megève ski area.

Unlimited skiing

With the Chamonix Unlimited Skipass (more than 3 days) we can also enjoy skiing in Courmayeur (ITA) 15 Min., Verbier (CH) 40 Min. and Evasion Mont Blanc (Megève, St.Gervais, Les Contamines) (FR) 20 Min. by car from Chamonix.

Ski touring

Chamonix also offers great ski touring options not only for Experts. Let us introduce you to our favorite sport with a Ski touring Intro. Learn all about safety, snow and technique with an UIAGM mountain guide.

Off piste, powder courses

Explore the snow on the other side of the groomed run! If you have mastered the pistes and want to learn how to ski all trains off piste, come and sign up for our Off piste courses. We will teach you on all different slopes and terrains. Let’s train to get you fit to take a ski trip down the Valle Blanche!

Helicopter Skiing

Thanks to its exceptional geographical location between Italy and Switzerland, Chamonix is a major centre for Heliskiing from where you can reach a host of exciting destinations. For a day trip, there’s nothing simpler than getting dropped off by helicopter in Switzerland or Italy with a UIAGM – mountain guide, to ski the finest transalpine slopes of Val Veny, Cervinia, La Tile and Val Grisanche. Also exploring the mountains of the Valais in the areas around Trient in Switzerland, or even Zermatt.

Equipment

We proudly ski with K2 Skis, they offer a great range of skis and boots for all different kind of availabilities and snow conditions. Not sure which material to buy or rent? We are happy to recommend the perfect ski for you.

Accommodation

Do you want to sleep in down town Chamonix or rather a bit outside in the quite or maybe ski in and ski out? Chamonix has it all, let us find the perfect place for you!

Chamonix

The Chamonix Valley is consistently rated as one of the top ten ski areas in the world. A must by all ski enthusiasts. The legendary skiing caters for every taste and ability. Some 90% of the ski area is above 2000m with an excellent snow record and a long season from December to May. It is the home of the legendary 23 kilometre Vallee Blanche and the Kandahar World Cup downhill runs. The lift pass which, covers 750km of pisted skiing includes the elegant resort of Courmayeur in Italy that is a short hop through the Mont-Blanc tunnel. The Chamonix Valley is approximately 20 kilometers long with the Aiguilles Rouges mountain range on the north side, and the Mont-Blanc mountain range on the south side, which includes Mont Blanc itself, the highest peak in the European Alps at 4808 meters.The highest lift in the valley is the Aiguille du Midi cablecar which brings you to anincredible 3842 meters elevation.

The top station of the Aiguille De Midi cablecar has a spectacular panorama of Chamonix, the Mont Blanc and the Mer De Glace glacier. It’s the access point to high elevation glacier skiing the world famous Vallée Blanche. Majestic Mont-Blanc, one of the world’s natural wonders dominates the area.

The town

Chamonix is an ancient mountain town with a stylish atmosphere and a blend of French charm, varied skiing and modern facilities that few other alpine resorts can match. Our guests return time after time and always discover something new.

The town of Chamonix with its pedestrianised cobbled streets and squares, beautiful buildings has an excellent choice of quality shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and a Saturday market that should not be missed. Chamonix has an attractive, bustling old town centre. The smaller, quieter ski villages of Argentiere, Les Houches and Vallorcine offer a different style of resort life.

How skiing came to France; did you know?

Skiing had come to Italy via Switzerland since about 1895. The natural thing for France would have been to copy the neighboring Italians. They went to the source instead, they wanted a missionary from Norway and in November 1902 one such providentially dropped in. A junior Norwegian army lieutenant called Herman Schultz that wanted to visit France as a ski instructor in order to get out into the wider world an learn French. Later two more officers where sent to France and they started a ski school to teach the French soldiers. Those soldiers showed a legendary marching ability and could accomplish to march up to 50 or 60 km a day on skis without really being worn out. They sometimes started at 4a.m. and didn’t return until 8p.m.

The ski school was so exhausting, both for teachers and the taught, that it only ran from Monday to Thursday, with the rest of the week free; for the French soldiery at any rate. On Friday and Saturday, the Norwegians were expected to teach the officers and on Sundays, their wives. The Colonel’s lady was particularly keen. The two instructors would support her on each side and she was wearing a hat and veil! …”Suddenly her skis broke trough the crust, and we ran on, but in confusion. It was not a dignified regimental commander’s wife who got her feet, covered in blood, with hat awry and tattered veil. Afternoon tea with her was cancelled. We didn’t see her for 14 days.”

first female skier in the French alps

 



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Ski Vallee Blanche, Chamonix

Dates: January to May

The world famous 18km journey with 2800m of vertical descent through some of the most stunning glaciated alpine scenery rarely disappoints!

  • Start altitude (Aiguille du Midi): 3777m
  • Finish Altitude (Chamonix): 1050m
  • Vertical Descent: 2727m
  • Length: 18Km
  • Season: Usually January to April
  • Time: Varies according to skiers ability and priorities but commonly 4-5 hours

This magnificent ski journey can be done in a short day by confident black slope skiers. Thanks to the height gain (2742m) given by the Aiguille du Midi cable car. The descent of the Vallee Blanche is often the highlight of a ski trip to Chamonix!

We provide fully qualified (IFMGA) Mountain Guides who work hard to ensure, that you have a safe, enjoyable and interesting descent. We are also able to offer interesting variations on the descent. Would you like to choose  steeper lines? Or include a short ski tour across to the Italian side before skiing down the classic route to Chamonix.

Requirements to ski the Valle Blanche:

If you ski confidently on a black slope you will be ready for THE Vallee Blanche with us!

Map:

map of vallee blanche skiing in chamonix

Price: 380.00€* 

(* up to 6 skiers) 

Included in the Price: UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guide – a fully qualified and experienced Patagoniatiptop guide will accompany you, we provide you with an avalanche beacon and harness.

Not included in the price: Cablecar ride up to Aiguille du Midi 

Bad weather option:

If the weather or snow conditions are not suitable to ski the Vallee Blanche, we will not cancel the trip but follow an alternative off-piste skiing program. Chamonix offers perfect terrain for a guided off-piste skiing day.

Lift Pass:

A lift pass to access the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train is needed, the Mont Blanc Unlimited is the best option as it covers both.

Video:

Have a look at our video showing the Valle Blanche skiing:

Guest Blog:

Our guests left their impressions on an interesting blog, read it here.


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Kyrgyzstan ski touring adventure

29th of February – 8th of March 2020

What to expect:

Imagine waking up in a traditional Yurt, in the middle of the snow caped Tien Shan mountains.  You are ready for a day of ski touring with your friends…! Your dream can come true.

We would like to introduce you to a fascinating country. Kyrgyzstan, a country of nomads, in the heart of Central Asia. Largely unexplored mountains offer a wonderful playground.

We take you to yurt camps in snowy summer pastures. That offers us immediate access to endless skiing terrain with mountains up to 3,400-3,600m.

Traditional, cosy yurts will be ready for us swell as a traditional Russian Sauna next to a river with refreshing spring water. All yurts are heated by wood burning stoves.

10-day program / 7 skiing days:
  • Arrival day: Arrive early in the morning at the airport in  Bishkek. Meet with the group and join the privat transfer to Karakol  (6hrs). We drive along the north shore of Issyk Kul lake, the second biggest alpine lake in the world
  • 5 complete days of skiing: Yurt based skiing days in Jyrgalan and Aksuuvalley
  • Ski and back to Karakol: We ski in the morning and go back down to Karakol in the evening. The night is spent in Karakol.
  • Travel to Bishkek: You will have some time to explore Karakol in the morning before we travel to Bishkek. Last night and farewell dinner in Bishkek.
  • Back home: Flight back home
Prices per skier: 
  •  2495€  (minimum 4 skiers)

Included in the price:
Guiding with IFMGA mountain guide Federico Arletti, organization, all accommodations as mentioned in the program (Hotel, guest house Yurts), all meals, all transportations from/to Bishkek

Not included in the price:
Flights, personal insurances, alcoholic drinks, personal equipment

Kyrgyzstan… a fascinating country in central Asia:

A welcoming landlocked oasis located at the heart of Central Asia. It’s surrounded by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China. Kyrgyzstan is a  in a remote, always fascinating, sometimes volatile, and oftentimes misunderstood part of the world. With an average elevation of 3,000m (9,840ft) and 30% of its landmass buried under permanent ice and snow. The country’s landscape and people are defined by a ruggedness utterly unique to the highlands of Central Asia. The republic is a little smaller in area than the UK minus Northern Ireland.

Home sweet yurt
Yurts are the archetypal shepherd shelters. Circular homes made of multilayered felt stretched around a collapsable wooden frame. The outer felt layer is coated in waterproof sheep fat, the inner most lined with woven grass matting to block the wind. Long woolen strips secure the walls and poles. The interior is richly decorated with textiles, wall coverings, quilts, cushions, and ornately worked chests. Floors are lined with thicket felt and covered with bright carpets and sometimes yak skin. Look up: the central wheel-like tuneup that supports the roof is none other than the design depicted in the middle of Kyrgyzstan’s national flag.
People

Native Kyrgyz make up around 70% of the country’s population. The remaining percentage made up mostly of Uzbeks and Russians. Kyrgyzstan gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Many Kyrgyz today follow the nomadic traditions of their ancestors, erecting hand-crafted yurts in the high mountain pastures above their villages. There they graze their animals and live for the summer.

The central Tien Shan mountains
This region offers many superlatives of Central Asia. The highest mountains, the coldest temperatures, the longest glaciers and the strangest natural phenomena. It’s a region of ice, snow and unexplored peaks. The world’s fourth longest glacier and an amazing disappearing lake can be found here. You will be discovering the valleys close to Karakol where the temperatures are more pleasant. The Chinese were the first to explore this foreboding mountain zone, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that European explorers penetrated the region. The snow that falls on this former Soviet state is particularly light and fluffy. This, combined with the country’s mountainous geography, makes it something of a paradise for powder-loving backcountry skiers.
 
Food
  • All food is prepared by local chefs. Our breakfast menu is Western-inspired, featuring omelets, frittatas, burritos, pancakes and french toast, and always the option of muesli or porridge. The dinner menu highlights traditional Kyrgyz cuisine.
Getting to Kyrgyzstan by airplane
  • Bishkek’s Manas airport is the main hub with relatively inexpensive international connections on Turkish and Pegasus (via Istanbul), Flydubai (via Dubai), Ukrainian International (via Kiev) and Aeroflot (via Moscow).
Visa
  • Around 60 nationalities can stay for 60 days or longer without a visa. Citizens of most major Western and former Soviet countries are included in those.
Language

Kyrgyz is a Turkish language that has the usual characteristics of that language group. Most notably vowel harmony, which is strictly adhered to. As part of the Kyrgyz-Altay group of Turkic languages, it is most closely related to the Altai language and fairly similar to Kazakh. Russian is also an official language and Uzbek is widely spoken in the south.


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Chamonix freeride skiing week


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Dates: January to April

Our Chamonix Freeride weeks are a dream come true for everyone interested in backcountry skiing.

What to expect:

During the week you’ll get a chance to experience the scenic backcountry around Mont Blanc in the company of an UIAGM-licensed mountain guide. The Chamonix Mont Blanc area will leave nobody cold.  The most experienced free riders from all corners of the world come to ski this ski areas. A real skier’s paradise!

Our guides know the backcountry terrain and weather conditions extremely well and will make sure you’ll ski the best spots.

 

Tentative plan

Arrival day: 
Meet and greet in Chamonix, Equipment Check

Day 1: Les Grands Montets, Argentière
We will ski at the Grands Montets, Chamonix most famous off-piste ski area.
This ski resort has an immense range of off piste skiing. The snow stays light and fresh, due to the North Face of the Aiguille Verte which shields it from the sun.

Day 2: Vallee Blanche
We’ll ride one of the most legendary Glaciers of all time – the Vallée Blanche route, where you get to see the most amazing views of Mont Blanc.

Day 3: Courmayeur
Courmayeur (ITA) is just a 20 Minutes drive trough the Mont Blanc tunnel away from Chamonix and offers very nice off piste options. A real Italian ski day!

Day 4: Brévent – Flégere
We will check out the snow at Brévent – Flégere ski area accesible form Chamonix town today.

Day 5: Toule Glacier
The brand new Sky way cable car brings us up to Punta Helbronner. We ride the South side of Mont Blanc, on the Toule Glacier down into Courmayeur.

Prices:

2 skiers:  875€ per Skier
3 skiers:  660€ per Skier
4 skiers:  600€ per Skier

Included in the price:
Organization, 5 days UIAGM-mountain guide

Not included in the price:
Lift passes, snow safety equipment, personal insurances, transportation

  • We require all participants to carry full avalanche safety equipment (beacon, probe, shovel) and to obey given instructions to ensure amazing powder days.
Day Guiding:

Do you only have a day or two for skiing in Chamonix? We are happy to offer you a great shorter off-piste experience! Let us know.

Accommodation:

Let us know if we can help you finding your perfect accommodation.


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Ski tour Mont Blanc summit, France

Dates: March until beginning of June

Ski tour Mont Blanc:

“A challenging dream came true for me! I always wanted to ski that mountain and my mountain guide was fabulous!”

Ski touring up to the summit of Mont Blanc can be done from end of march until may and is a great spring 2-day adventure!

Itinerary:

Day 1 : Chamonix – Grand Mulets hut 3051m
Afternoon ride with the first part of the Aiguille du Midi – cablecar up to Plan de l’Aiguille (2310m).
Skitour up to the Grand Mulets hut.
+ 800m, Night at Grand Mulets hut (3051m)

Day 2 : Grand Mulets Hut – Summit – Chamonix
We start early today with a technical ascent of the north face of Dôme du Goûter cramponning, slopes up to 40º to reach the normal route, than continuing over to Bivouac Vallot to the great summit of Mont Blanc (4810m). Ski down to Plan d’Aiguille or Chamonix.
+ 1700m / – 2600m or -3500m

Price:

1300.-€ / Ratio 1:1
(Included in the price: Organisation, IFMGA-mountain guide)
(Not included: Overnight stay at mountain hut, Liftticket, Food & drinks, Guide expenses, personal insurance)

  • This programme is meant as a guide only. Depending on the conditions in the mountains and the abilities of the guest, your mountain guide may alter the route.
Personal Requirements for Skitour Mont Blanc:

Very good physical fitness, expert skiing skills and to be well acclimatized to altitude are needed to do this tour.
If you have a solid experience in ice climbing and ski touring, you’re ready to let the dream come true.

Grands Mulets Hut 3051m

The Grands Mulets hut is placed on a rocky island surrounded by glaciers in a real alpine environment. It’s an exceptional place and perfectly situated for our Skitour to Mont Blanc.

grand mulets hut is used for ski tour mont blanc

How it all began, the Mont Blanc first ascent:

1786: The Frenchmen Michael Gabriel Packard and Jacques Palma were the first to reach the top of Mont Blanc.

After hundreds of failed attempts by dozens of aspiring mountaineers, Paccard and Balmat made history when they became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The mountain rises 4810m/15’711feet above sea level and is ranked No. 11 in the world in topographic prominence. The two Chamonix local ascended the summit on August 8th, starting the climb from the Chamonix valley.

The accomplishment was, and still is, considered historic. Eric Shipton, a British Himalayan mountaineer, described the feat, writing in his book Mountain Conquest:

“Theirs was an astounding achievement of courage and determination, one of the greatest in the annals of mountaineering. It was accomplished by men who were not only on unexplored ground but on a route that all the guides believed to be impossible.”

The first female climber

1808: The former maidservant Marie Paradis,  in 1808  became the first woman to climb Mont Blanc, joined by guide Jacques Balmat. For Paradis it was not an easy ascent. She was in such poor condition by the time the climbing party reached the summit that she actually had difficulty speaking and, reportedly, could not see the view from the peak. Her self designed outfit that she was wearing weighed just over 14 pounds.


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Women’s Skitouring Camp Vallorcine, France

2020:

  • 20st – 23rd of March
  • 2nd- 5th of April 

(Please ask us for private dates, also for mixed groups)

Highlights 
  • 3 days ski teaching and skitouring in the Chamonix valley
  • 3 nights at a traditional Chalet in Vallorcine
  • Learn all about ski touring and back country skiing
  • Ski touring basics, including gear usage, uphill techniques, pacing, layering, and route selection
  • Avalanche awareness including terrain management and basic companion rescue strategies

 

Learn off piste skiing and ski touring with us!

Three days of world-class skiing with top, women-specific instructions from Ex-World Cup ski racer and certified ski instructor Ella Alpiger.
This Women’s ski touring camp features the latest ski and ski-touring teaching techniques, avalanche safety informations and some hidden Off-piste runs.

  • “It’s all about learning off piste skiing technique, backcountry skills, mountain safety, and most importantly, having fun in the outdoors!”

We will base out of the beautiful village of Vallorcine for 3 days of adventure skiing. Our goal is to ski the best hidden places for the given conditions, and provide you with coaching and instruction in big mountain skiing.

  • “It’s a unique ski program that makes it easier, faster and more fun to learn.”

 

Women’s ski touring camp Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival day

We welcome you at the Chalet in Vallorcine for a first get together.  Come enjoy a typical Savoyard dinner with some fine wine from the chalet owners vinery.
Night at Chalet in Valloricne

Day 1: Off piste skiing work shop and avalanche rescuing

Off piste work shop in the ski area of Vallorcine / Balme which lies very near the Chalet. We ski where we find the nicest snow. Get tips on your skiing skills and technique to help you improve in a variety of ski conditions and terrain. Work on technique and mental preparedness that will improve your skiing in the backcountry, in steeps, trees, narrow chutes and crud.
Learn how to search with your avalanche transceiver in the afternoon. An important skill you have to know!
Night and dinner at the Chalet in Vallorcine.

Day 2:  Ski touring intro Les Marecottes, Switzerland

A short train ride brings us to our Offpiste work shop in the morning in the quiet ski area of Les Marecottes. Les Marecottes is a secret spot for powder lovers and offers also some great tree skiing  just over the boarder in Switzerland. Practice the tips you have learned yesterday.
Now we are ready to bring our back country skiing to the next level. We start with a short ski tour in the afternoon where you learn all about ascending with skins on your skis, ski touring itineraries and snow safety information.
Night and dinner at the Chalet in Vallorcine, enjoy a glas of wine at the fire place and check out today’s skiing videos.

Day 3: Ski tour 

With a picknick and all necessary things in our backpack we skin up into the mountains. We use and try all our new learned skills and enjoy a day in the peaceful mountains.
The course finishes at 3pm in Vallorcine.

Changes to the itinerary:

The programme is given as an indication only. Changes and adaptation may be made to suit current technical criteria, safety requirements and weather conditions.

What you will learn in this Women’s ski touring camp:

This course makes it possible for intermediate and advanced skiers to move to the next level of expertise in the shortest time possible. Get confident with the avalanche safety skills and make your first ski touring experiences. All in a group session designed to foster camaraderie. A truly elevated experience.

Personal Requirements:

If you feel confident on red and black slopes and have some off-piste experience, you’re ready to join this camp. Please contact us if you’re not sure about your level.

Location: Vallorcine

The last or first village in the Chamonix valley, Vallorcine is a peaceful mountain village. Hidden behind the col des Montets, at the foot of the Aiguilles Rouges, La vallée des Ours (the valley of bears) has retained all the charm of a traditional mountain village. Vallorcine is made up of several hamlets on the foothills of the surrounding mountains stretching to the Swiss border. Here, the mountains never cease to inspire your curiosity and sense of adventure. 

How to get to Vallorcine:

We can organize a transfers to and from Geneva airport with guaranteed flexibility to match your flight times allowing you to fly from your local airport at a time that suits you. If you’re traveling by train from Switzerland, you can reach Vallorcine via Martigny. We will pick you up at the train station.

Our Accommodation:  

Nico’s and Audrey’s traditional chalet in a very quiet and peaceful location.

This comfortable, traditional chalet offers breathtaking views of the mountains.  Guests can relax in front of the  fireplace with a glass of wine or enjoy the cozy rooms.

Four tastefully furnished double bedrooms one of them with a privat bathroom and a bedroom with 4 bunkbeds can be found in the Chalet. 

Chalet features:
  • Champagne and canapés upon arrival at the chalet
  • Typical Savoyard dinners  – including special menus for those with dietary needs, prepared by an experienced chef
  • Excellent quality complimentary French wine (selection of red, white and rose wines), spring water with all evening meals
  • Full breakfast every morning: hot and cold option including eggs, bacon, fresh bread, pastries, fruit platter and a choice of cereals
  • Afternoon tea – home baked cakes, fresh bread and jams with tea and coffee
  • Tea available at all times
  • No WIFI and very little phone coverage – a good break to disconnect and connect with yourself!
Fees:
  • 3 Skiers:              885.00€ /skier
    5 skiers:               734.00€ /skier
    Skiing only*:       400.00€ /skier 

(*Min. 3 skiers: accommodation/half board, ski pass and transport not included in the skiing only program)

Included: Professional teaching and organisation, 2 ski passes in Vallorcine/Balme and Les Marecottes, 3 nights in a traditional Chalet with half board in a privat room, lots of information about ski touring and avalanche rescuing, mental training tips, train ride to Les Marecottes and back, entrance avalanche rescue park

Not included: Transportation to and back from Vallorcine, lunches, drinks, personal insurance, personal equipment (let us know if you need ski touring and avalanche safety equipment, it can be rented).

What material should you choose for our women’s ski touring camp? 

We proudly ski on K2 Skis! They offer great backcountry skiing equipment especially for Women! Let us know if we can recommend a ski for you.


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Chamonix Hut to Hut hiking short trips, French Alps


Patagoniatiptop video

Dates: June – September
  • 3-Day trips

“Rustic hut charm with incredible views!” 

This two short trips are perfect for hikers that like to enjoy stunning views over the Mont Blanc mountain chain, sleep in two mountain huts and spot some ibex and wildflowers along the way. Your local guide makes sure that you will get to the huts just in time to enjoy a delicious mountain dish and that you don’t have to worry about anything but taking the nicest pictures of the famous mountain scenery.

On the first option you will sleep in dormitories, and on the second option you’ll enjoy the comfort of a double room if available.

Chamonix Hiking – Itineraries
1: Lac Blanc and Aiguilles Rouges
Arrival day 

19.00: Information and meeting with the guide at the Hotel.
Night in a Hotel in Chamonix

Day 1: Refuge Bellachat, 2152m

We hike from Chamonix up to the Refuge Bellachat (2152m). The Refuge offers one of the nicest views over the Mont Blanc mountain chain. You might want to enjoy a drink on the terrace that overlooks the whole Mont Blanc valley and wait until the sunset puts the mountains in a pink coat. The family style dinners will soon be served in the cosy mountain hut.

Day 2: Lac Blanc – Refuge Lac Blanc, 2352m

An early breakfast at the mountain hut with the fantastic views towards Mont Blanc. Our trail brings us up to Brevent summit for an even more breathtaking view. We reach Col du Cornu via the Col du Brévent and traverse to the Lac de Cornu (at 2276m), which is situated in of the most beautiful environments in the valley. After a picknick lunch we continue the descent through the Combe de la Glieres and hike up to the mountain hut Lac Blanc (2353m). The Lac Blanc mountain lake is the perfect location to take some stunning pictures of a perfect mountain scenery with the Mont Blanc in the back.

Day 3: Aiguilles Rouges

We eat a good breakfast overlooking the Aguilles Rouges mountain before leaving this beautiful spot. Our way down to Argentière will take us to the Lac Cheserys and either Argentière or the Col du Montets. Those that want to hike a bit longer can join the guide on the Petit Balcon Sud all the way back to Chamonix. Lunch will be served at local restaurant in the famous ski resort of Argentière.

  • 3-5 hrs
Map with the Chamonix hiking route in red:

chamonix hut to hut hiking route

Costs per Person
  • 455€ with a minimum of 6 guests (340€ without the first night at Hotel)
  • 525€ with a minimum of 3 guests (420€ without the first night at Hotel)

Included in the price: Organisation, privat UIMLA-mountainleader for 3 days, 2 nights in dorms at mountain refuges with half board, 1.night at Hotel in Chamonix with breakfast, 2 pack lunches, one lunch at Restaurant, hiking map copy
Not included: personal insurance, drinks

2. Miage Mountain range
Day 1: Refuge de Miage, 1559m
Meet your guide at 9.00 in the morning in Chamonix and take the local bus to Les Houches. Prarion cable car brings you to a starting location with an exceptional view, right across the Mont-Blanc mountain range. You will walk down to Col de Voza (1653m), cross an impressive suspension bridge over a glacial stream and hike up to your next pass, Col de Tricot (2120m). You will eat picknick along the way and have time to enjoy the wild flowers and views over glaciers and peaks.
A steep trail down brings you to your beautiful final location of the day, the Refuge de Miage.
Overnight at one of the wonderful Chalets at Miage Alpage.
Night and dinner at Refuge de Miage
  • (8km, -700m, +500m)
Day 2: Refuge de Miage – Refuge Tré – la Tête (1970m)
You will walk up to Chalet du Truc (1800m), a lookout where local farmers produce their cheese and sausages and start walking down trough a lush forest to the Valley of Les Contamines. Now your way starts climbing up little by little to finally arrive at the Tré – la – Tête Refuge at the foot of the Domes du Miage on the West side of Mont Blanc. You might want to enjoy the homemade Blueberry pie on the sunny terrace overlooking the mountains and valleys.
Night and dinner at Refuge Tré-la-Tête
  • (9km, – 300m, + 850m)
Day 3: Refuge Tré – la – Tête – Les Contamines
You stroll down to the Gorge Bon-Nant and can decide if you want to take a longer hike to Jovet Lake or just a loop in the Gorge and back down to Les Conatmines.
Take the local bus back down to St.Gervais les Bains and continue back to Chamonix by train. 
You will be back in Chamonix around 5-6pm.
  • (14km, -1400m, + 800m included Lac Jovet, can be much less up and down)
Map with the hike and the huts:
chamonix-hut-to-hut-hiking
Costs per Person
  • 850.- € per person with 2 guests
Included in the price: Organisation, privat UIMLA mountain leader guide for 3 days, guides expenses, 2 huts in privat rooms with half board, 3 picknick lunches, Prarion cable car, Bus Chamonix – Les Houches, Taxi Les Contamines – St.Gervais les Bains, Train St.Gervais les Bains – Chamonix, hiking map copy
Guide:

Local, certified UIMLA – mountain leader


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