Tied into a life of adventure.

Lessons learned in Bariloche

I’ve been in Bariloche for the better part of a week and it is now time to move on. I spent the past three days at el Refugio Frey above Bariloche backpacking and scrambling around the region’s ragged, crumbling granite. Getting out of this South Lake Tahoeish city, Bariloche, and into the mountains cleared my head and put a permagrin back on my face. While out there and since going solo on this trip, I also learned–at times relearned–a few things:

-I love Patagonia. Flowers cover the trails, water abounds, lakes are blue and some places feel oddly similar to the Sierra. Best of all, the west side is littered with glaciated, snowy volcanoes with green skirts at their bases. Did I mention the flowers?

– I carry too many things. It’s quite excessive. There is no need to bring a “light” alpine rack. Partners have them. Whoever advised two sleeping pads is insane. I should have stuck with my instincts. At least I know of one respectable mountaineer that carried too much, Norman Clyde.

– I’m not going to climb every volcano or see every pretty place. Partners take work to find. Also, traveling 2/3 the length of the longest country in the world takes time… You can’t climb it all in 6 weeks.

– Patagonia is windy. Earplugs at night are wondrous.

-Cities and hostels eat money. Camp whenever possible.

-Don’t ever expect good weather or climbing info from anything other than a guide or climbing club. Even then the weather info is sketchy.

-Internet cafes and hostel computers don’t upload RAW files. No photos to post for the foreseeable future that do not come from the iPhone.

-Everyone loves Clif Bars! Every time I put them anywhere near a common space, people snatch them up as if they were gold.

Now it’s time to leave the land of “Che, boludo…” and get to know another side of the Andes. Tomorrow I go to Puerto Varas, Chile in hopes of finding a climbing partner for Osorno, a large, glaciated stratocone volcano just north of Puerto Montt. After some time there, it’s off to Conservacion Patagonica via the carretera austral. I can’t wait to further submerge myself beneath remote peaks, green forests and deep blue fjords.


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