Villaricca Traverse (part 1): volcano, snow and sun

13 December 2017
Villaricca Traversia

While I’m waiting for my backpack to get through the Chilean customs, I show the bus driver my maps on Locus. ‘Look, I’d like to get of the bus here. It’s about 10 kilometers from this border. I believe it’s near a mirador‘. I try to explain in my best Spanish. ‘Bien’, is all I get for an answer. 

After the border formalities the bus speeds into Chile. Yes, the driver knows exactly where I want to get of, he stops at the right place, gives me hiking advice and then speeds of to Pucón.

A few days ago, I was in Bariloche (Argentina) to hike an earlier skipped part of my planned trail. But… because of the late snow and heavy winter many trees are blown down. In an Argentinian National Park this means: the trails are closed and one’s not allowed to hike. At the NP Nuahuel Huapi-officina I talked a bit with an English speaking employee. He knew a lot about the area and also informed me about some new trails, not yet marked or noted on maps. He also said February and early March might be a wiser choice to hike the park, when I told hem I’d plan on skipping it for now and returning later.

So, via the chic and pretty chill San Martín de los Andes I traveled by bus to my next hikes’ trailhead; the place were I just got off the bus.

The next days I’ll be hiking the Villaricca Traversia!

This trail runs to Vulcán Quetrupillán, near Pucón, and the Greater Patagonian Trail is part of it. Because there’s still a lot of snow I don’t expect to be able to hike all the way to Pucón. However, there are a sidetrails by which I’m able to leave the Traverse. Let’s see how things work out.

It’s 10 am when I start to hike and it’s already quite warm. From here the only way is up!

Although the trail mainly leads through the forest, now and then there are previews of what is to come: The Land Of Volcanoes!

It’s lunchtime when I arrive at Laguna Los Patos. I’ve already crossed some snowfields and I’m expecting way more snow higher up. Because of the high temperatures, the snow melts enthusiastically and the trail has turned into a temporary river. I’m also not expecting any other camping spots than this swamp and I’m carrying Tarptent, which isn’t exactly suitable for winter camping.

At the edge of the forest I find a somewhat dry and somewhat flat and snow-free bivouac spot. It seems a wise choice to camp here. Tomorrow: snow-walking!

The trail: the Villaricca Traverse

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Lf Hiker | E.Pointal contributor

Villaricca Traverse   

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GPS Villaricca Traverse

Villaricca Traverse part 2   

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50 100 150 200 5 10 15 Distance (km) Elevation (m)
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GPS Villaricca Traverse

Read more about the Villaricca Traverse at Wikiexplora.

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Written on trail.

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