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The sound of creaking seracs on the vast glaciers of Cerro Tronador is the source of this stunning Andean peak’s name, which loosely translates to “booming” mountain. And with its breathtaking views, this loud looker on the border of Chile and Argentina, is quite the boom in fact for adventurers and climbers padding the south of South America.
Tronador is an extinct stratovolcano located inside two national parks, Nahuel Huapi in Argentina and Vicente Pérez Rosales in Chile. Three summits peak its top. On its east face, Pico Argentino, on the Argentinean side, has an altitude of 3200 m.a.s.l. Pico Chileno, on the Chilean side facing west, has an altitude of 3320 m.a.s.l. On the border, on its “international face”, it has an altitude of 3554 m.a.s.l. Climbing all three sides is possible, with the most accessible option being the east face on the Argentinean side.
One of the main attractions of going up this beautiful mountain is the many glaciers it’s famous for. Although some are retreating due to global warming, Tronador boasts a total of eight glaciers, namely Frías, Alerce, Castaño Overa, Río Manso, and the odd dark tainted Ventisquero Negro on the Argentinean side, and Peulla, Casa Pangue and Río Blanco on the Chilean side.
Whichever way you choose to go up this booming Andes peak, it is always best to go with a guide that can not only show you the way and the top spots in the region, but also help sort out logistics.
Below, we’ve detailed some of the pertinent information related to climbing this mountain. You can also start comparing some of the Tronador mountaineering trips featured at Explore-Share.com as you start to plan your adventure!
Most Tronador climbing excursions are done from and on the Argentinian side. This is not to say that it is not possible to climb the international and Chilean faces of this mountain. Any of the Patagonia guides featured at Explore-Share can probably arrange private excursions for you, should you want to try alternative routes.
The more common face of the mountain, called Pico Argentino, is in the Nahuel Huapí National Park near Bariloche city. The most usual route to its summit begins at Pampa Linda, a pretty meadow with dining and sleeping options. From there, the path leads up to the Ilion lagoon and a beautiful forested region before a rocky climb to the Otto Meiling hut, at an altitude of 1922 m.a.s.l, a popular stop for a multi-day trek. To the left of the Otto Meilling hut is the Alerce glacier, and to its right is the Castaño Overo glacier.
Then, summit day usually begins very early the next morning, and catching the stunning sunrise is one of the perks of getting up before dawn. To get to the summit, you will need to cross a glacier so a good technique is necessary, and a good guide. Check out this 3-day ascent that will give you time to enjoy the surroundings!
Alternative route options include trekking to the Agostino Rocca hut at 1432 in what is known as the “Paso de las Nubes” (Cloud Pass). On this Patagonian High Route excursion you can discover this breathtaking spot and cross over to Chile to discover some of the most stunning landmarks in Patagonia.
Starting point: Usually Pampa Linda or Otto Meiling mountain hut. The nearest city is Bariloche, which is at an 80 km distance from Pampa Linda.
Duration of the ascent: 2-3 days
There are three mountain huts on Tronador. The most famous of the three is the Otto Meiling refuge located between the Castaño Overo and Alerce glaciers. This hut has 2 rooms with a total of 60 beds, bathrooms, kitchen and ski rental. The Agostino Rocca hut is at an altitude of 1400 m.s.n.m on the path from Pampa Linda to Puerto Frías. It has 80 beds and is well equipped as well. Finally, the Refugio Viejo is a remote hut on the south side of the mountain that can lodge up to eight people and is very basic although surrounded by stunning landscapes.
Climbing Tronador is not particularly difficult in terms of altitude. What you must consider is that to get to the summit, you will need to cross a glacier, and some ice-climbing might also be necessary. Therefore, it is great for adventurers with some alpine experience looking to further their skills, or for climbers with some mountains under their belt already. This mountaineering and crevasse course will teach you some great skills and take you to the Tronador summit!
Tronador is located in the Wet Andes, a region that is characterized for having high precipitation of snow and rain. It is possible to climb this mountain year round, but, access might be more difficult in winter months.
Spring and autumn are nice months in terms of the vegetation and foliage, however keep in mind that there are less open tourist attractions including resorts, restaurants and more during those seasons. In winter, Bariloche is a popular destination for winter sports. The summer months, that range from December to late March, are the most popular for mountaineering adventures. However, although warm during the day at lower altitudes, both at night and at high altitudes it will still be cold. Therefore, you will need warm alpine clothing for this climb no matter when you go. In fact, you will encounter ice and snow at the summit any time of the year and it is even possible to go skiing sometimes in the summer on some of the glaciated areas.
Because you will need to cross glaciated areas, to climb Tronador you will need crampons and an ice-axe. Also keep in mind that due to the cold weather you will need adequate clothing to keep you warm, but also light clothing if you are traveling in the summer months. A good sleeping bag, sturdy hiking shoes and sunscreen are also a must. Furthermore, take into consideration that the Bariloche region is quite dry so chapstick and moisturizer are also a good bet.
The price for a private 1-day tour to the summit from the Meiling hut is approximately 400 USD. Prices usually include food, group equipment, transport during the trip and on longer tours, accommodation. Of course, larger groups will find lower rates per person as well.
On this 5-day hut to hut trek you will discover some of the amazing landmarks in the region as you go traverse its mountains and valleys!
Bariloche rock climbing tour for all levels, you can tailor your program to suit your preferences and needs and choose from a wide variety of spots to discover.
Otherwise, you will love this 3-day kayaking adventure on the Nahuel Huapi lake where you will get to camp on the famous coast of this stunning crystalline lake!
Or, for something a little more adventurous, you can try Canyoning in Arroyo Lopez!
Whichever your preference, Bariloche has something for you. Climbing the Tronador summit should definitely be on your list! Choose from this great selection of Tronador tours to the top of this booming gem in the Andes and start mapping out your adventure!
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