Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Northern Patagonian Andes through Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park


Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Northern Patagonian Andes through Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park

Backpack far off the beaten track for 8 days across the Andes from Bariloche through Argentina’s Switzerland – Nahuel Huapi National Park, in northern Patagonia. Wander high ridges under craggy peaks with 360-degree panoramas over dozens of glacial lakes circled by granite domes and rainforest with 3,000-year-old Alerce trees. Camp beside remote lakes that Andean guides consider their personal ‘secret’ favorites. Walk up the flanks of the massive Tronador volcano with glaciers pouring their meltwater over innumerable waterfalls, to watch stunning sunsets with a glass of wine from two cozy mountain huts. Then descend to catch a ferry on the famed Cruce Andino route through the high mountains on Lago Nahuel Huapi back to Bariloche. NOTE: The member fee shown is for the final trip payment. Please refer to the Leader Notes for more detail on the trip price and what is included.

  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 75.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 15,000 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2 mph

Participants need to arrive in Bariloche, Argentina (reachable by air through Buenos Aires) by no later than the evening of Sunday February 12, 2023.  We'll explore the town and take an optional dayhike nearby on February 13, as well as a group dinner that evening.  Then, after a shakedown hike with our guide on Tuesday Feb 14th, we will set out on our backpack for 8 days, ending on Weds February 22 with a boat and bus transfer back to Bariloche and final hotel stay that night, flying out no earlier than the morning of Thurs February 23. 


Board a different bus and boat on the 22nd that will take you on a cruise into Chile, where you will embark a separate  adventure hiking high on the region’s famous volcanoes, wandering its lush rainforests, and soaking in two of its amazing natural hot springs.  

Itinerary Highlights:   Starting from Bariloche, Argentina, we'll begin with an optional easy hike on our own on Monday, and then everyone will enjoy a bracing day-hike with our guides on Tuesday along a high ridge to the base of Cerro Catedral, with dramatic views to Tronador (location of dayhike may change!).  That will leave us ready to load up our overnight packs early on Wednesday and begin our trek high onto the mountains of the park with our guides and support team (porters will carry group gear and food and may be available to carry a small amount of our personal gear).  For the next 8 days we will climb rocky ridges and granite domes, skirt the shores of glacial lakes, with the many arms of Nahuel Huapi lake far below to the east and massive Cerro Tronador (“The Thunderer”) looming to the west, pass over and around striking granite domes, and drop into deep valleys with lovely meadows, forests and lakes. 

On our first trail night we will camp above Laguna Negra with peaks all around us, and take our dinner at the wonderfully situated Manfredo Segre Hut on its shore, then the next three nights will be in tents at undeveloped camps on the shore of remote lakes.   We’ll end day 4 at Laguna Ilon, with a sandy beach in the middle of the Andes and a chance to go for a swim from our camp, and with a view of Cerro Tronador reflecting in the lake and the faint thunder of icefall from its hanging glaciers.  From here we can take a short walk to a magnificent Mirador (viewpoint) from a high promontory overlooking multiple arms of the huge Lago Nahuel Huapi.  On day 5 we’ll descend steeply to the pretty village of Pampa Linda for a welcome shower, bed and restaurant dinner.  Then we’ll climb again, this time onto the flanks of Tronador herself, to Refugio Otto Meiling, surrounded by the glaciers and waterfalls coming out of Glaciar Castaño Overa, and sleep in bunk rooms at the Meiling hut on the 6th night.  Then on the 7th day we’ll cross a flat glacier (wearing harness, crampons and rope provided by our outfitter) and descend through a valley circled by more waterfalls to Paso de las Nubes and sleep in bunk rooms at the welcoming Refugio Agostino Rocca near the top of the pass.  Finally, with an early start on day 8 we’ll descend through the valley of Rio Frias through the Selva Valdiviana rainforest and its huge and ancient Alerce trees, to the shore of Lago Frias, where we'll catch a boat, a bus and one more boat on the famous Cruce Andino ferry back to Bariloche for a last night at a hotel in town and flights back to the U.S. on the next day. 

The trip is scheduled so that busy working people can do the main Argentina itinerary with only 9 days off work including travel days.

Activity Strenuousness Rating:  Challenging, with some sections of fixed cable and slabs, steep scree descents, and some moderate exposure in sections.

Time of Year:   We’ll be travelling in late summer, during the tail end of the warm season when the weather usually continues fair but the hordes of summer tourists have begun to head home.  Daily high temperatures in February average 65-75°F and lows 40-50°F; skies are clear or mostly clear, and the average rainfall for the month is just 0.7 inches.

Lodging:   Our Bariloche hotel will be a comfortable three-star centrally located hotel with included breakfast and shared two-person rooms with ensuite bath.  For four nights we’ll be camping with our own tents (sharing encouraged), the first night next to a basic hut where we’ll have dinner and breakfast, and the next 3 nights in secluded wild camps with no services.   Midway through the hike we’ll stay in the historic and luxurious Pampa Linda Lodge at the base of Cerro Tronador, again with shared two-person rooms with ensuite bath and included breakfast and dinner there.   Our last two nights on the trail will be in basic mountain huts with food and drink service (alcohol extra!) and either bunks or side by side mattresses on a platform and bathrooms down the hall, and then you’ll return to the same hotel in Bariloche where your town luggage will be waiting. 

Food:   We will eat family style dinners and breakfasts at refugios on some nights along our trek, included in the trip price, and while we are staying in Bariloche,  Pampa Linda and San Martin we will eat at moderately priced restaurants - breakfasts and dinners are included in town and at refugios.  Our outfitter will provide simple filling lightweight backpacking food for the trail and for the nights and mornings at camp.    Vegetarian alternatives are available but more complicated dietary requirements may not be possible so please check before registering!    Bariloche has excellent supermarkets and natural food stores where you can also buy trail snacks before the trip.

Leader’s Experience:   Cheryl Talbert ( is a long-time hiker and backpacker who has led extended treks and backpacks in the U.S. and overseas since 2009.  She has led 35 Global Adventures treks and backpacks for the Mountaineers since 2013.  This will be her eighth trip to various parts of Patagonia and 13th trip into the Andes, and this will be her second time on this route.

Participant Requirements:   Must be a current Mountaineers member with waiver on file. Participants must be in good cardiovascular condition, confident on rough trail carrying a backpack for 6-8 miles and 1500' elevation gain for multiple days in a row.  Participants need to have good balance, be comfortable with crossing streams on rocks or logs and climbing/ descending steep scree and boulder slopes, and be OK with some exposure.  Must demonstrate recent experience with moderate to strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking, plus a positive attitude and the ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions. To participate in this adventure, participants are required to carry international medical insurance and emergency evacuation insurance sufficient to get them back to a hospital near home.

Trip Price Detail:   $3,100  including 4 nights at hotels and one at a mountain lodge, 2 nights at basic mountain huts;  experienced local guides for the full itinerary; porters to carry the group gear and some of our food; all meals during the itinerary except your arrival and departure days; and all transport including a lovely boat ride on Nahuel Huapi lake back to Bariloche.    The trip price does not include international airfare from Seattle to Bariloche (approx. $1800), travel insurance, personal items, and any extra days you want to spend before or after.  Note:  the final price isn't guaranteed until we know how many people will be joining.

Registration Instructions:    Those who were on the 2021 trip roster have first right of refusal for spots on the trip until March 31, 2022, then general registration will open.   Anyone new to the roster must first complete the application form, and after the leader’s approval, you may register right from this trip listing by clicking on the REGISTER button and paying a $1,500 deposit.  The deposit is required to hold your space on the roster.  Registration will close when the roster fills.   A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit.    After registering, all participants are required to complete a Trip Agreement and Release Form and to arrange for international and emergency evacuation insurance for the trip.  The final payment date will be announced later.

Application     Trip Agreement     Release     Supplemental Information

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel before we have paid our deposit to the outfitter, you will receive a refund of your deposit less a $100 cancellation fee.  If you cancel up to 8 weeks before our departure date, you will receive a refund of your deposit less a $600 cancellation fee.  If you cancel between 6 and 8 weeks before our departure you will receive a refund of your full payment less $1650.  If you cancel between 4 and 6 weeks in advance of trip departure or less, you will be eligible for a refund of your full payment less $2250.  If you cancel less than 4 weeks before departure you will not be eligible for a refund.  The cancellation penalties may be waived if the trip is moved forward to the next year, or if someone takes your place on the adventure two weeks or more before departure, but the agreed refund would only be paid after the new person is fully registered.      


Backpack Across the Northern Patagonian Andes through Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


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