Ruta de 5 Lagunas: from Laguna CAB to Colonia Suiza

24 February 2018
Cinco Lagunas Nahuel Huapi trail

Today it’s cold: Tarptents’ fly is covered in a layer of ice and a fresh layer snow has fallen a bit higher up the mountain. Leaving the warmth of my sleeping bag is hard: the only way to get to the other side of Laguna CAB is through Laguna CAB.

Around 9:30 I’m ready to leave. Wearing every piece of Gore-Tex and warm clothing I carry.

A few weeks ago I bought new ULW camp/river-crossing shoes. Today I’m SO happy carrying these shoes. Wading through the ice cold water goes so much faster wearing them.

This is SO cold!

After the lake an ‘interesting’ descent follows. Instead of a trail there’s a waterfall.

With the help of some controlled gliding and sliding I manage to conquer the waterfall and after this there’s a hike through wet rainforest down to the river. From the river it’s all uphill to the next pass.

This climb starts challenging with a steep path through sand. This is hiking up a huge dune – warming. 

Suddenly the sand changes into stones and after a little more climbing I arrive at the ruta’s last pass. In the distance Laguna Negra and the refugio are visible. And behind me a view on Laguna CAB, the lake I left this morning.

Hiding in the clouds: Laguna CAB

I decide to keep on hiking and have a late lunch at the refugio. Cake? Soup? A meal? Or all three?

Happy with the views on El Refugio!

As Rápido as possible I hike to El Refugio and it’s promise of something warm to eat.

But first, in my trail notes I read: ‘watch out steep climb just before refugio’ – information I’ve read in an old online trip report. This steep and rocky route still exists. However, cables have been installed. The wet rocks, combined with strong winds and the huge Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad hanging on my backpack still make it an interesting climb.

Cables ( + a bit of snow)

But Hey! El Refugio and food are waiting!

It’s busy and windy around the refugio. Tents are pitched at every available spot and in the refugio a lot of people are seeking shelter. It isn’t too hard to choose between a sandwich and a pizza. During dinner I chat an English couple who are interested in hiking the Huemel-circuit, near El Chaltén, a trail I’ve hiked a few months ago.

Although this is a camping spot with great views, it is far too windy and way too cold and crowded. So, after lunch I leave the refugio.

It takes me about 45 minutes to reach the next camping spot. This one is situated in the forest, it’s more sheltered and less windy. I am also the only guest tonight.

The next morning it’s an eight kilometre hike to Colonia Suiza, from where I take the bus back to Bariloche.

Ruta 5 Lagunas

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Ruta 5 Lagunas: from Laguna CAB to Colonia Suiza

Read more about La Ruta on Wikiexplora at Trek Bariloche there’s a lot of information about hiking in this area.

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