Refugio Frey – The Return


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 22, 2014      

One of the coolest places we visited on our last South America trip, Refugio Frey is a tiny alpine hut surrounded by a paradise of couloirs and granite spires. I was excited to return. A few days after arriving in Chile, after a long series of bus, plane, and taxi rides we arrived in Bariloche, Argentina. Hearing of relatively good conditions up high, we decided to head up to “The Frey.”

Our tent with the beautiful spires of Frey rising behind in morning light.

Our tent with the beautiful spires of Frey rising behind in morning light. Click images to enlarge.

We stocked up with five days worth of food, caught a bus to Cerro Catedral ski area, and started up the trail with towering, heavy packs. We carried a tent, stove, and other winter gear since we planned to camp near the hut. The extra gear negated the usual advantage of going to a hut: light packs. Nonetheless, we slowly followed the trail, and made it to the hut just before dark.

Crossing one of the many bridges on the trail to Refugio Frey.

Crossing one of the many bridges on the trail to Refugio Frey.

The next day we slept in, and then headed up the valley to investigate the snow and avalanche conditions in the couloirs. We found wind-affected snow, with areas of rock-hard windboard, and other areas of touchy wind slab–a stark contrast to the fantastic powder conditions we found two years ago. We skied a few chutes and enjoyed stellar views of the surrounding mountains. The mountains around Frey are stunning and I took tons of pictures. Check it out!

We're testing out a First Ascent Katabatic tent on this trip. It's already been through some punishing wind storms. Here it is on a rare calm night set up next to Refugio Frey.

We’re testing out a First Ascent Katabatic tent on this trip. It’s already been through some punishing wind storms. Here it is on a rare calm night set up next to Refugio Frey.

Waking up to marvelous views for our first day of skiing in South America.

Waking up to marvelous views for our first day of skiing in South America.

Heading out to investigate the chutes across the lake.

Heading out to investigate the chutes across the lake.

Coop and Skyler skinning up our first run at Frey.

Coop and Skyler skinning up our first run at Frey.

Spectacular Cerro Tronador.

Spectacular Cerro Tronador.

Last run of the day.

Last run of the day.

Refugio Frey.

Refugio Frey.

Although the skiing was enjoyable, conditions didn’t call for lapping chutes for days on end. That night, talking over a giant pot of pasta in the refugio, we decided a longer ski-tour was in order. We settled on a tour to Refugio Jakob, a nearby hut that isn’t staffed in the winter but is left open to visitors. Weather was forecast to get worse in a few days, so we packed light packs and decided to leave the following morning. Stay tuned for Part 2 about our adventure over to Refugio Jakob.


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Comments

4 Responses to “Refugio Frey – The Return”

  1. Terry&Ted August 22nd, 2014 11:27 pm

    We’ll be there in two weeks so thanks for the beta. It’s helping us immensely with trip planning. Hope you find better snow at Jakob.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 August 23rd, 2014 8:20 am

    Are you guys going to Frey, or just to Chile in general?

  3. Terry&Ted August 25th, 2014 12:07 pm

    Hi Lou!
    We fly into Santiago and then will go to where ever the snow is good. We like Louie’s approach because with our budget, we skip the expensive resorts and go to the huts instead. Most are rather primitive but so much less crowded than Europe. We may splurg on a rental car. We’d also like to find a place to store a car since we find ourselves going south more and more. Driving a car down and then leaving it for a return trip is something we’re thinking about. Maybe flying to San Diego and driving from there. We like road trips–so much to see!

  4. Skihelm August 27th, 2014 9:05 am

    Its a great trip!

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