Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador


Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador

TREK CHILEAN VOLCANOES, LAKES AND DEEP GRANITE VALLEYS. Cross the Andes into Chile on lovely Lago Todos los Santos, or fly into Puerto Montt and shuttle to meet the group. Then explore with guides for 6 days among the lakes, volcanoes and remote granite backcountry valleys of Chile's Lakes District. Stay in hotels, supported camps and mountain huts, and carry only a daypack.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Thu, Mar 10, 2016 — Wed, Mar 16, 2016
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Exploring Nature, Day Hiking, Backpacking, Global Adventures
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 65.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 15,000 ft

Participants on this extension will first backpack from Bariloche, Argentina to Lago Frias (see the Global Adventure 'Backpack Across Nahuel Huapi National Park'), ending on the shore of Lago Frias on the morning of March 9, and make the famous Andes Crossing - first by bus across the crest to Peulla, Chile and then westward by ferry along Lago Todos Los Santos to Petrohue, Chile.  OR fly into Puerto Montt on the 8th and we'll meet you and shuttle you up to Petrohue to meet the group.

Then we'll have a fantastic, diverse six days of hiking and trekking out of refugios, hotels and supported camps from March 10-15, transferring to the international airport in Puerto Montt on Tuesday March 16 for flights back home (usually connecting through Santiago).  

Itinerary Highlights:   We'll be met at Lago Frias on March 9, 2016 for a bus ride across the Chile-Argentina border to the village of Peulla on Lago Todos los Santos and a ferry along the lake to Petrohue, both on the route of the famous Cruce Andino “Andes Crossing”.  At Petrohue we’ll stay on the lakeshore right under the cone of Volcan Osorno,  and dayhike March 10 on the Desolacion Trail climbing along the river past waterfalls to reach high on the flanks of the volcano with views west to the Pacific across several volcanoes and lakes.  We'll return to stay at a B&B in Petrohue for the night or possibly at a refugio on the flanks of Osorno.  On March 11 we will transfer an hour to the trailhead for the Cochamo valley, (the Yosemite of Chile) and walk up this historic (but also deeply eroded and very muddy!) valley to a refugio where we will stay in dorms and spend two full days exploring up the steep side valleys past granite domes and cliffs to hanging lakes and glaciers.   On March 14 we’ll walk back out and join our transfer vehicle to ride to a camp on the shore of Llanquihue Lake, the second largest lake in Chile, with the perfect cone of Osorno Volcano and the snowcapped Calbuco and Tronador volcanoes clearly visible from the lakefront.  On March 15 we’ll join our guides for a dayhike high onto the ridges below the summit of the Calbuco volcano with more panoramic views.   Our adventure will end that night back at a hotel in the little German town of Puerto Varas on the lakeshore.  After breakfast the next morning, we’ll drive to the international airport at nearby Puerto Montt for flights back to the U.S. or to other independent destinations in the region.

During this segment we will dayhike out of hotels, camps or refugios (basic mountain huts with common area, dining area and dormitory-style sleeping areas, and separate men's and women's toilets and showers down the hall), carrying only a daypack.  An experienced guide will be with us throughout the itinerary.

Our outfitter is Patagonia Southernland Expeditions ( and their guides are certified professional guides who are locals and have been leading adventure travelers in the Chilean Lakes District and around Chile for many years. All of their guides have Pre-Hospital Emergency care and WFR certifications.

The maximum elevation on this itinerary is approximately 5000' - altitude illness should not be a concern.

NOTE:  The Calbuco volcano began erupting in April of 2015, necessitating evacuations in a 12-mile zone around the volcano.  Heavy ash clouds affected nearby cities and airports.  Activity has declined rapidly since May but the volcano remains highly active and it is impossible to predict future eruptive events.  Obviously our itinerary would be affected if an eruption or even significant pre-eruptive activity occurred during our visit to the area - we will consult with local volcanology experts and our outfitter to make decisions to go ahead or modify our itinerary when the time comes.  Backup options will be developed with our local outfitter but more serious disruptions or delays are possible. Our group's safety will be the top priority.

ALSO:  On the dayhike up into the high granite amphitheaters above Refugio Cochamo, there are several steep somewhat exposed sections where fixed ropes have been set up to help people safely navigate steep-angled boulders that can be wet.  If at any point the leader judges that the route is beyond the capabilities or comfort zone of any participant or if safety hazards becomes significant then we will stop there and head back, knowing that views even part way up are excellent.   Those who don't want to do these dayhikes can take less challenging walks around the refugio in the valley, slide down the 'waterslide' on Rio Cochamo, or relax.

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 gone home.  Daily high temperatures in March average 60-75°F; skies are clear or mostly clear 60% of the time, and the probability of rain is 20% or less.

Lodging: See the itinerary detail.

Food:   We will eat family style meals at refugios on some nights along our trek, included in the trip price, and while we are staying in villages or towns we will eat at moderately priced restaurants - breakfasts and dinners will generally be included in town and at refugios.  Basic but filling meals will be provided at our camps.  Vegetarian alternatives are available.   Participants will be responsible for their own drinks.

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 for several years.  She has led Global Adventures treks and backpacks for the Mountaineers since 2013.  This will be her 4th trip to the Andes and her third to Patagonia, though this will be her first trip to the Lakes District. 

Participant Requirements:   Must be a 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.   If someone has not hiked on rugged terrain with the leader or with another Mountaineers leader in the recent past, the leader may request to hike with that person before approving them for the trip.

Trip Price Detail:   $2,200 for the Chile extension.  (Price could change based on number of people registered.), including 1-2 nights at a hotel, 3 nights at refugios, 1 night camping, experienced local guides for the full itinerary, porters, tents, nearly all meals, and all ground transport including a portion of the famed Cruce Andino “Andes Crossing” boat and bus trip across the Andes Crest.  The price also includes leader expenses and a 16% Mountaineers administration fee.   (The final price could change based on number of people registered.)  Not included is the cost of airfare (total ~$2000 including domestic segments), travel insurance, lunches in town, and personal items.

Registration Instructions:   Please complete the linked application form and email it to the leader. After the leader’s approval, please call The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001 to pay a $1,000 deposit to hold your space on the roster for the Chile extension ($2000 deposit for both segments). Registration will close on January 1, 2016 or whenever the roster fills.   A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by January 1.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less non-refundable expenses incurred and a $100 administrative fee.


Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador

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.


Trip Reports