Volcán Lanín 3776m

The next mission was clear: Volcán Lanín 3776m, the most impressive and highest volcano for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. We had some concerns about the „guardaparques“ and our ban from any mountain in Argentinian National Park. But after a very friendly talk to the local park administrator we were confident that the ban was nothing but a threat by some pissed off Gendarmeria guys. After a night in Junin de los Andes we hit the winding road to the Paso Internacional Mamuil Malal, the gateway for Lanín. All of a sudden his majesty appeared: A huge, prominent, white and perfectly shaped cone! Not to mention that it snowed almost 50cm in the last 48 hours. The meeting with the very pleased and friendly local guardaparques scattered our worries. Through knee deep powder and an enchanted forest we skinned to the base of Lanín. Suddenly the wind became more and more fierce and turned the fresh, fluffy snow into very dangerous avalanche conditions. After some testing and many warning signs we decided to cease our ascent to the Refugio BIM shelter. Back at the road we set up our base camp and waited for a second chance with less wind and a more consolidated snowpack.

The next day, this chance was given. Full of confidence and resolution we started again from 1150m but the wind picked up speed as we got higher. With precaution and a very conservative ascent route we made it through the raging storm to the Refugio BIM at 2315m. The very basic hut provided shelter from the wind and even though it was ugly we felt kind of cosy. An epic sunset led us to our warm sleeping bags while the storm didn’t show any signs of rest.

A ringing Alarm clock at 0600 recalled our mission after a very relaxing night. Meanwhile the storm died down a little bit but was still strong enough to keep our hoods up while we gained meter by meter in the dark. Slowly but inexorably a stunning dawn rose at the horizon. Instead of calmness the wind became even more raging and for some moments we were not so sure anymore that we would be able to summit. Luckily the route became less exposed and almost calm. With probably 25 more switchbacks we made it as high as possible before we decided to boot pack the last 150m or so. That was definitely the most exhausting part but the views and the prospect of being so close to the summit enabled us to engage all of our strength. And then we stood on TOP! A feeling of disbelief took over as the world around seemed to lie at our feet. For hundreds of kilometers there was no obstacle that could halt our view. The horizon was literally the limit! Skiing was first just a means to an end but then turned out as enjoyable and challenging when we dropped in the 45°+ NE-slopes at around 3400m. That was quite a line on this volcano! After 2600m of surprisingly interesting and good descent we stood at the base and many looks back to this definitely iconic peak rose our pride and complete satisfaction. More volcanoes to come…

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One Response to Volcán Lanín 3776m

  1. David Gehrig says:

    Again great story and epic pictures! I like!

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