Cerro Tronador is an extinct volcano in the southern Andes Mountains of Patagonia. It straddles the border between Argentina and Chile near the city of Bariloche.  Cerro Tronador, at 11,384 feet, stands more than 3000 feet above nearby mountains. The mountain encompasses two National Parks:  Nahuel Huapi in Argentina and Vicente Pérez Rosales in Chile.

 

Hiking Cerro Tronador-three peaks
Hiking Cerro Tronador

Cerro Tronador has 3 peaks, International is the highest and most technical. Chilean has very difficult access. The Argentine is the easiest and most climbed.

Refugio Otto Meiling, a mountain hut on Alerce Glacier on the Argentinian side, provides the easiest access to the summit. For those who came to climb the peak itself, it is about 12 hours round trip from the Otto Meiling Hut. It is a on a snow covered glacier which means having to rope up for safety purposes. There are many crevasses, more or less covered by snow depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions.

 

Cerro Tronador bears a total of eight glaciers, which is why the mountain has become a mecca for mountaineers. The high precipitation coming off the Pacific Ocean slams into the high peak and drops its load in the form of rain and snow. Indeed, the mountain and it’s western slopes bear the marks of glacial lakes and U-shaped valleys.

 

 

Hiking Cerro Tronador-Glacier Alerce

Hiking Cerro Tronador

We hiked to Cerro Tronador  on the Argentine route.

 Access is from Pampa Linda in the National Park Nahuel Huapi which is 77 km from Bariloche. 

It’s a 4 to 5 hours trek up to the Otto Meiling Hut from Pampa Linda.

It is a beautiful hike with incredible views!!

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina-flowers
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina

We had a blue sky day hiking Cerro Tronador to the Otto Meiling Hut.

 

The snows have melted around the hut, exposing the glacier scoured rocks.

 

Hiking Cerro Tronador-Otto_Meiling_mit_Julio_Ibañez-author-Pablo Martinl

Otto Meiling (1902-1989), a German immigrant and carpenter/mountaineer to Argentina, built the hut in the 1950’s. His affection for hiking Cerro Tronador culminated in 15 ascents. At age 84, he made an ascent from Pampa Linda and returned in one day!. His fondness for mountaineering led to founding the Club Andino de Bariloche which is still thriving today.

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador-Refugio_Otto_Meiling_in winter

We chose to stay in the hut and go on a guided tour of the glacier the next morning. We had the opportunity to learn about the glacier and how to safely walk around. It was a highlight of the trek.
Even though our day was clouded over, it did not diminish the majesty of the glacier.

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina

The guides taught us how to walk up and down steep snow ridges with the crampons.

 

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Descending required keeping the crampons flat on the snow
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina

They set up the safety ropes so we could rappel into a crevasse and climb back out using the toe points of the crampons and ice axes. What a thrilling experience!

The crevasse was so deep...so narrow. The ice in the crevasse was so blue!

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina
Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina

Another night in Otto Meiling Hut with new friends and steak dinner with wine.

Yes, just bring money. The food is delicious!

Amenities at the hut include a big kitchen which offers meals, a dining area, bathrooms and a sleeping room upstairs for a capacity of 60 mountaineers and trekkers. 

It was a pleasant hike out the next day with another blue sky.  Lucky? Probably!

Hiking Cerro Tronador Argentina

Cerro Tronador

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