|Bus to the ski centre.|
Our trip into Frey started with a bus ride to Cerro Catedral. You can catch the bus from several spots in Bariloche for about 10 pesos; we got on it from behind the Parks office in downtown Bariloche (Intendencia de Parques Nacionaies). Once at the ski centre there are three options for getting to Frey:
|The view off the back of the ski centre.|
1) You can walk in via a trail (marked by National parks signs) that leaves from the southeast corner of the parking lot. Note that if the snowline is above the base of the resort, like it was when we where there, this option will involve a lot of walking before you hit snow. With that being said, this is the best option if you are not sure about avalanche conditions.
2) Get a ticket for Cerro Catedral and ride up the lifts to the top. If you choose this option you will have to pay for a full day ticket, unless you are with a Guide, in which case you will be able to get a one trip ticket. Once at the top, pass through the backcountry gate at a col between Punta Nevada and Punta Princesa (about 2038m). This col is to the skiers right of the Nubes quad chair.
|The reality of a low snow year.|
Bushwaking bellow the hut.
Once you are at the backcountry gate the normal route follows the summer trail to a col northeast of Torre Piramidal. From this col, you ski a steep ESE facing slope down to Lago Schmoll, and then a south facing slope to Lago Toncek. From the west end of Lago Toncek you should be able to see Refugio Frey at the east end of the lake.
The other option from the backcountry gate (the option we chose because of icy conditions) was to drop down off the summer trail to the SE at the first col encountered along the summer trail, shortly after leaving the ski centre. We skied moderately steep slops on the SE side of Punta Princesa to the bottom of the drainage and then skinned about 300m of vertical from the bottom of the drainage to Frey.
|The amassing skiing from the back of the hut.|
Once at Frey, there is amazing skiing at the opposite end of the lake from the hut that should keep you occupied for up to 4 days. After that you can start exploring farther afield in cirques to the south or in the cirques to the north bellow Punta Princesa and the alternate route in to Frey.
- Bus ride to Cerro Catedral - 10 pesos.
- Frey hut - bed, breakfast, and dinner- 200 pesos/day
- Frey hut - only accommodations - 80 pesos/day
- Fee for using the kitchen - 30 pesos
- Homemade pizza at the hut - 80 pesos
- Beer and wine - 25 pesos and up
We brought two dinners with us and all our lunches and ate breakfasts and one dinner at the hut. If I was to go back, I would just go with the full board and only bring my lunches and some extra breakfast stuff. Argentinean breakfasts are quite small, normally consisting of tea or coffee with toast and dulce de leche, which is not really good enough to power me through a day of ski touring.
|Looking off the back of the ski centre to Torre Principal.|
I highly recommend a trip to Refugio Frey if you are in the area.