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SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES - Travel Information

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Excursions: Circuito Siete Lagos(Seven Lakes Circuit) - V. La Angostura | Paso del Cordoba (Passage) - Villa Traful | Circuito Lago Tromen - Volcán Lanín | Caminata Volcán Lanín: Pared Norte (Lanín Volcan walk : Northen Wall)

Circuito Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Circuit) - Villa La Angostura

APPROACH ROAD: As from San Martín de los Andes Centre to Lácar Lake coast and on its southern bank you begin the 7 Lakes circuit .

ATTRACTIONS the circuit tours 7 water mirrors, cascades, beaches, flora and fauna, access to Villa La Angostura and Villa Traful and San Carlos de Bariloche.

ACTIVITIES: beach, walks, nature interpretation, mountain bike, swimming, fishing, camping activities.

SERVICES: 'camping agreste', 'proveeduría', Inns

SEASON: all year (winter: subject to weather conditions)

TOTAL TRACK: 220 Km.

DESCRIPTION

Known as "Ruta de los Siete Lagos" (Seven Lakes Route), in fact it is about the 234 National Route's stretch that links San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura. Main tourist route in the region that links seven water mirrors of matchless beauty that can be observed on the way, in only 104 km. Viewpoints, two National Parks, - Lanín and Nahuel Huapi-. Besides, you can have access to four water mirrors, which although they do not belong to 7 Lakes, they are near the area.

We start the tour at the end of Lácar Lake 'Costanera' (bank) and going along its southern bank we can see the amazing view of the first of the Seven Lakes. After 4 km you will find 'Paihuen' on the left, it is a cabin complex and on the right the slope to 'Catritre' - excellent beach, 'camping organizado' and restaurant. If you go on upwards along the route you can see scattered houses in the wood that belong to the inhabitants of the 'Churruhuinca' community - Mapuches who are landowners in Lanín National Park. A few kilometres ahead we go to the side of the way to park the vehicle at Pil-Pil view point. There is an attractive view and a sign that explains to the visitor more about the region.

We leave the diversion to Chapelco behind - 10 km as from S.M.A. and a few km ahead we find an infrequent phenomenon: an authentic water division. On the right, the 'Partido' Stream goes towards Lácar Lake, Pacific Ocean basin; on the left its waters go to Meliquina Lake, Atlantic Ocean basin.

At 27 km, we go further up to go along Machónico Lake. We can stop at a view point or go on to the next objective; Hermoso Lake, although it does not belong to 7 Lakes because it is not seen as from the route, we can have access to it after we tour 2.5 km. There is a 'camping agreste' on Hemoso River and a bar on the route.

6km away from there we cross from Lanín National Park to Nahuel Huapi National Park. On the right and 5 km ahead there is an important cascade, 'Vullignanco', on the Filuco River, it has around 20 m fall.

A few metres ahead and going on along the route you will see, on the left bank, the third lake, Falkner, there is a 'camping agreste' on its coasts. Only 1.5 km ahead we cross Villarino River, which flows into its homonym Lake. Going past the bridge and on the left, we find a fishermens' inn, whose owner is the well-known plastic artist Marta Minujin's mother.

We go on upwards up to Villarino Lake viewpoint. 2 km away from here, we find objective number five; Escondido Lake, the smallest of all, with its characteristic greenish tone 6 km further ahead. 'Seccional Guardaparque Pichi Traful' (Ranger Station) going deep into the area, 2km towards the left we stop on one of Traful Lake's branches, huge water mirror that gets near the 7 Lakes route, it flows into Pichi Traful River, which is a paradise for fly fishermen. We again go to the route to, going along the river, cross the access road to Villa Traful, 31 km away from here. 2.5 km left we will read a sign that tells us that we have arrived at Quintupuray Inn, old spot that settles on Correntoso River's bank; sixth of the 7 water mirrors.

You must try 'tortas fritas', if you have the chance. Going on along the lake further ahead, we will find a small diversion that leads us to Espejo Chico Lake, (at only 2,000m), there is a beautiful 'space', with a campsite, that was taken by a settler whose last name was Matus, at the beginning of the Century. The place is kept as it was in those times. It has 'camping agreste' that is run by the same family. Resuming the tour and at 300 m we find Rucamalen, an old derelict hotel whose present owners are I.S.S.N. members, our next stop will be Espejo Lake.

Seccional Guardaparque Lago Espejo (Espejo Lake Ranger Station)

A couple of km ahead and on the right, you will find a way that goes to another of the Espejo's branches. There you will be amazed by the view of a complex on a beautiful beach that has accommodation and all the services, it also has a campsite.

When you finish the circuit you will arrive at a new junction. The way on the right will take you up to Puyehue-Samoré International Passage, from where you will be able to cross towards Ozorno and Panamericana Road. Once on tarmac, if you go on along towards Villa La Angostura, you will have a spectacular view of the Nuel Huapi Lake (Isla del Tigre), the biggest water mirror in the region.

The characteristic mountain village, which has all the services, deserves more than one day to be visited. As from there you will have 86 km to get to Bariloche

Paso del Cordoba - Villa Trafúl

APPROACH ROAD: As from San Martín de los Andes Centre to Lácar Lake coast and on its southern bank taking 234 Route, then after 27 km of tarmac, diversion to 63 route up to Confluencia del Río Traful, then you divert to the right taking 65 route up to Villa Traful

ATTRACTIONS Huechulafquen, Paimún and Epulafquen lakes. Lanín Volcan. Mapuche Community.

ACTIVITIES: beach, walks, nature interpretation, mountain bike, swimming, fishing, camping activities.

SERVICES: 'camping agreste' at Filo Hua Hum lake, tea house, 'estancias' (farms)

SEASON: all year (winter: subject to weather conditions)

TOTAL TRACK: round trip up to Villa Traful 254 km

DESCRIPTION

We start the tour taking 234 route up to Hermoso River's bridge, after crossing it you should take 63 provincial route on the left. 5 km ahead you start going along Meliquina Lake among woods and winding ways where you will find several free campsites, to the left of the way, Meliquina Lake is a chosen place by amateur sports fishermen. 12 km ahead you reach Meliquina's river source.

A few km ahead, you will find ' Seccional de Guardaparque Filo Hua Hum' (Ranger Station), until you reach Caleufu River, beside it you will find a great natural cavern, called 'Casa de Piedra' (Stone House), Ruca Curá in Mapuche language. According to the legend it was the refuge of the indians who inhabited the place. As from there 'el Paso del Córdoba' starts, the way is narrow and winding, it is advisable to circulate with caution, once we finish going upwards and downwards, we see Traful River at a few km. This river joins Limay River: Confluencia, as from there on the right we take 65 prov. Route. Then we arrive at Villa Traful, picturesque village, sited among mountains and its homonym Lake. During the tour you can stop at Pared del Viento (Wind's Wall) Viewpoint, from where you can gaze at the water mirror.

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Circuito (circuit) Lago Tromen - Volcán Lanín



APPROACH ROAD: 234 National Route going past Junín de los Andes, up to junction with 23 Provincial Route and diverting 17 km further ahead on the right taking 60 Provincial Route to Mamuil Malal International Passage.

ATTRACTIONS Tromen Lake, Lanín Volcan, Tromen Viewpoint, Araucarias Wood, Malleo River.

ACTIVITIES: beach, walks, nature interpretation, fishing, camping activities, trekking.

SERVICES: 'camping agreste'

SEASON: all year (winter: subject to weather conditions)

TOTAL TRACK: 198 km

DESCRIPTION

Leaving Junín de los Andes behind and after crossing Chimehuin River's bridge you will find, on your left the diversion, that by taking 23 provincial route leads you to Aluminé City, 100 km away from here. After touring 17 km with some tarmacked stretches, you cross the first bridge over Malleo River, where you will find the diversion to Paso Internacional Mamuil Malal (Mamuil Malal International Passage).

As from here you can observe the gradual change and the increase of vegetation, from Patagonian steppe to transitional wood, giving place to 'Andino Patagónico' Wood. All this landscape is framed by the magnificent volcano that follows us throughout the circuit.

At the spot known as 'Primeros Pinos', you will be able to see the first samples of 'araucarias', then, we welcome Parque Nacional (National Park).

A few km further ahead, on your right you will find the diversion to Tromen Lake, 2 km away from here, with beaches of volcanic sand and luxuriant vegetation.

Going on along 60 Provincial Route, you will observe 'Gendarmería Nacional' Detachment and Ranger Station, where you should register if your intention is to ascend the volcano (see Volcán Lanín - 'Sendero Pared Sur' South Wall Path). Besides, you can visit a small Visitors' Centre, where we will be able to hear statements of the first ascents and the geological characteristics and regional flora and fauna.

3km further ahead you will find the new Customs building to do migratory procedure (see How to reach - Access Roads). A few metres ahead we arrive at the border where you can visit 'Cristo Redentor' image, carved in wood as a symbol of Chile and Argentina's union. 20 km ahead, already in Chile, you arrive at the Police and Customs post

Caminata Volcán Lanín: Pared Norte

Lanín Volcan walk: Pared Norte (North Wall)

1st Stage: as from 'Seccional de Guardaparque' (Ranger Station) up to the refuges.

It starts near the 'seccional de Guardparque', after crossing a lengas wood located behind the 'Gendarmería' post. When the road finishes, you will go along a pedestrian path that crosses Turbio Stream and gets to "espina de pescado" (bone fish), name given to a route due to its unusual shape, caused by the side glaciers that have eroded it. The ascent continues until it turns on the right and climbs steeply.

As from here the way is less risky than that of the ascent:

'Mulas' Mules way:

You take the fork that goes to the right; it is signed and the slope is gentler. The journey lasts, from the base to the (B.I.M. 6) army refuge, between 4 and 5 hours, and 6 hours to reach C.A.J.A. refuge or to the old (R.I.M 26) army refuge.

The refuges can accommodate the following people:

R.I.M.26: (2,450m.), 20 people, and it is like a tin marquee, in poor conditions, with cement floors and no facilities, there is no hot water or kitchen or firewood. So we should take mountain heaters, if you ask for gas heaters like camping gas (garrafa pequeña), the ones that are suitable for mountaineering are the ones that contain propane/butane.

C.A.J.A.: (2,660m.), 10 people, with soil floor, in poor conditions, and no facilities, idem R.I.M.

B.I.M.6: ( 2.350m.), 15 people, cement floor, sheet metal roof, no facilities, idem R.I.M

The use of the R.I.M. 26 and B.I.M 6 refuges is subject to Mountain Infantry Regiment's activities.

The food in the refuges are for emergencies, you should avoid eating them.

MODALITY: Trekking.

LASTING: between 4 and 6 hours.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Medium

TIMETABLES: it is a must to depart from the 'Seccional de Guardaparques' (Rangers Station, before 2:00 pm.

REMEMBER:

OBLIGATIONS

  • You should always register at Turbio River Ranger Station before the ascent.
  • You should have a suitable mountaineering outfit (you can rent it in Junín and San Martín de los Andes)
  • You should give notice to the ranger when returning.
  • You should take the waste down with you and, then, throw it away.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • You should be fit for mountaineering.
  • If you are a beginner you should hire a mountaineering guide's service authorized by National Parks Administration (Administración de Parques Nacionales)
  • You should try the summit only if weather conditions allow you to do so.
  • When you go down, you should avoid doing so a sitting position, because there might be rocks and gaps covered by the snow and you can have blows or/and fractures.

2nd Stage: from the Refuge to the Summit

MODALITY: Trekking on ice

LASTING: 5 to 7 hours.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: High

TIMETABLES: it is important to start the ascent early, between 4 and 5 in the morning, that lets us have enough daylight hours to get to the summit and go back to the refuge. At the same time, the snow is still hard and that will facilitate the use of crampons

From C.A.J.A. we should take the path signed with stakes, or if there is snow, take the nearest plank until you reach the 'canaleta' (gully).

As from there, it is advisable to go up taking the right side edge of the 'canaleta', until you arrive at a rocky wall, you should take the right side to go over it. As from that point, in summer, it is likely to be able to walk on the rocks without crampons In the pre-summit there is snow and there are ice towers that make you take the depression on the left at the last metres.

In cases that you can not reach the peak, due to bad weather conditions, it is advisable not to insist and try again in another opportunity. The summit is just half the journey and although going down is not so demanding for the body, you should avoid running down. A slip can bring about a bad time. A slight sprain in that place will require calling the rescue patrol come to where the injured is, with the consequences and characteristic risks in these rescue operations. If you have managed to drive your crampons successfully on the summit, you should inform your successors that they should take the same care. The ascent conditions vary according to weather and season.

OBLIGATORY GENERAL OUTFIT

  • Warm clothes (pail - like anorak jacket and a layer to cover the trousers, hat and gloves)
  • Trekking boots (with Vibram sole, knee length if possible), or double boots.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter or specs
  • Sun protector with UV filter and lib protector.
  • nutritious foods, heater (propane/butane gas, liquid fuel)
  • Sleeping bag and good quality insulator ( with a wide temperature range for multiseason )
  • Forhead torch/flashlight.
  • Communication system (VHF with 155,675 is advisable and 1 or 2 pack)
  • First-aid box with personal medicines and bandages-
  • Woolen tights.

OBLIGATORY SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT

ASCENT BY NORTHEN SIDE, WITH SNOW OR ICE.

  • crampons
  • 'Piolet' or poles

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • You should wear a helmet

ASCENT LEVELS

Summer season (November to April)

  • Trekking: to the refuges
  • Mountain range activity: ascent to the summit, Tromen (North face) route.
  • Mountaineering: ascent to the summit, South face.

Winter season (from April to October)

  • Ascent to the refuges is considered as mountain range activity.
  • Ascent to the summit is considered as mountaineering.
  • Mountain range activity requires 'piolet', crampons and communication system
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