Cordón Piltriquitrón

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    • Day 42

      La Cumbre de Piltriquitron, El Boson

      November 29, 2016 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      25km bike (ratty bike with a missing grip and two sizes too small) and hike to the top with 2200m gained. 25 km back down with jello legs. What a gnarly journey that was. Self powered adventure day, hello!Read more

    • Day 203

      Cerro Piltriquitron, Argentina

      May 8, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

      Great balls of fire - it's the sun!!!!!!

      Our time in El Bolsón saw us bring up our eleventh day hiking in Patagonia. Out of 17 days in the region and a hefty toll of overland transport, I'd say that's a pretty good effort. But what we were buzzing about - and it's been ten days of hiking without it - is the sun. That's right, we finally caught a break in the weather and have been treated to two delightful and desperately needed days of sunshine and blue sky. It took many days of rain to procure this passion but we were absolutely elated and couldn't help but show it! We were particularly happy about our meteorological fortune for the reason that we were walking for the majority of the next two days and, at the risk of sounding like a drama king, more rain would've made us curl up and die.

      Enough weather talk. We challenged ourselves to summit Cerro Piltriquitron (shall we just call it CP?). It's one of the copious amount of peaks that encircle El Bolson, towering over the town at 2260m. It's a wee lad in mountain speak but a treacherous climb for an old fart.

      We commenced our hike directly from our hostel opting not to drive the first half of the elevation, which we would later regret. A quick stop for pastries before we left town was absolutely necessary and we continued up a gravel road fueled by a short lived sugar rush. Classic fools. Teetering energy levels forced an early lunch which we ate on the quiet road, in the sun and without a view, both secretly regretting not driving. After a very steep three hours, we reached El Bosque de Talladas (the forest of carvings) - a unique clearing of wooden carvings and autumnal trees. As with all good art I never really understood what I was looking at, but the craftsmanship seemed apt and the trail signs grossly overstated the walking times leaving me content with my visit. Onward and upward we went for a short distance more to the refugio for rest. We wrapped up snug and savoured every last drop of our internally generated heat - temperatures were dropping quickly and I was beginning to lose sight of Cat beneath her layers. The view was spectacular! Lago Puelo to the south, with the entirety of El Bolson extending north from there and the seemingly endless snow-capped peaks trimmed our view in every direction. In the foreground, those glorious autumnal trees continued to delight and of course, the best part, the shining sun lit that scene up like the Fourth of July!

      The refugio, unlike those at Torres, was a glorified hut. A bare stone-and-timber structure with a central fire (in a barrel) and a strong sense of character was to be our accommodation for the night. In our company we had Eric, the lisping Spaniard, a group of young Europeans and several hut staff, who split their time between baking tortas, manning the chainsaw and keeping us in line. We took great delight in hot chocolate, bottomless tea and our precooked mince and pasta as we dwindled the evening away playing games, taking pictures, cooking and just generally trying to keep warm. A very cool and cloudless night had begun to set in and it was definitely winning the battle against the fire in a barrel.

      It is gradually dawning on us that we are old farts. Lousy knees, frail backs and the need for good food and a comfortable night's sleep are all signs of an age group I wish not yet to join. The fact that we cannot handle the cold combined with the fact that I cannot stop writing about it, is increasingly unnerving. That said, I took great delight in my mattress on the floor of the hut's attic than night (in the accumulated heat from the fire) and passed out in seconds.

      The next morning however, when the heat had dispersed and the 6 a.m. alarm was blearing, I found no great delight. We wanted to be on the summit by dawn and the thought of two and a half hour of climb in sub-zero mountain air was hardly motivating. Actually, I'm not sure if Cat even realised she was awake. Zombie like and only semi responsive, I accompanied this eskimo and two german shepherds to the trail head and up. We crunched through ice, snow and rock under a beauty of a full moon and a star-filled sky. Down to one head torch and about three fingers between us, we began to realise our altitude under the brightening sky. The snow got thicker and the track so steep we had to scramble on our painfully cold hands. The dogs, not bothered by the cold, continued to pee on every rock and obstruct our path as best as possible. Ultimately we were grateful for their guidance and we lost the track in the snow near the top and backed them to take us up!

      We made the summit around 8.30 am in the nick of time to see a perfectly-sized cloud obscure our sunrise. Dammit! It was so disappointing, especially as we could have seen it from the valley which we had had just ascended. The remaining 330 degrees of vista was incredible - although short-lived - as Cat was literally turning blue and I had long lost feeling in all my digits (really should have invested in some decent gloves). We scurried down out of the wind and cloud into another stunning day and basked in the sun like we'd never seen it before. Oh how I love the mountains when I'm warm.

      The remainder of our descent was uneventful, aside from our whinging about our declining health, praise for the warming sun, the eskimo turning back into Cat and the fact that Billy, one of the dogs, loyally stuck with us all the way back to town.

      Absolutely spent from an 1800m descent (almost without break) we smashed a coffee and chocolate treat before running to make our 3 pm bus to Bariloche. It goes without saying how that bus ride was spent.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Cordón Piltriquitrón, Cordon Piltriquitron

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