Cicuito Chico walk Friday,15th, then the next day Sarah and I hiked up to the well-known climbing area The Frey. CC was a must-do because Sarah had picked up post cards highlighting it from the limited post office supply in San Martin. It ended up being a good inspiration. Beginning at Puerto Panuelos, there are several short trails through Valdivian forest and along small coves of the huge, 100 km glacial relic, Lago Nahuel Huapi. The highlight being the views atop Cerro Lao Lao.
The Frey had been on our list. It is a dual cirque of torres also know as La Catedral (near by one of the biggest ski areas in South America). Unable to hook up climbing partners – we didn’t have pro or rope – due to hitting the tail end of the season and there only being a few scattered climbers on the walls, we made a hiking trip of it. Which was plenty fulfilling.
The walk on from Frey Refugio was aggressive, and Sarah passed on it due to needing to rest a foot injury. We said our sad goodbyes – Sarah’s plan was to move on to the sights of Southern Patagonia, which I had done months before – after a morning walk across the tranquil refugio lake. Abruptly turning into a steep scramble, I was at the high Laguna Schmoll, holding more mirror like views of the nearby granite spires, in no time. Lined with perfect splitter cracks, oh how I wanted to climb them. Another time.
Happy to have brought my trekking poles along, I glisaded a steep scree descent; another lung pumping climb; and down to the Refugio Jacob (5.5 hrs). Traversing these exposed slopes provided views you only get when you are in the middle of a mountain range. I opted for the free camping once again, putting the Nemo (cool NH Co.) tent I picked up while back in Boston to use, even though the refugio was vacant apart from the caretaker. The final walk out was fast, only 4 hrs. The posted distance of 18km was obviously exaggerated.
A ten minute wait for a hitched ride, to a bus, and I was back in town plenty early for dinner.