Frey Mostly Trad climbing46 routes in crag
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A beautiful hut and campground in a climbing mecca with a lake for washing off.
Refugio Frey is surrounded by two valleys crowned with thirty plus granite spires ranging between 20-250 meters high. Mostly crack climbing, though there is some variety with slab and some vertical face. Majority of the routes are trad, many featuring bolts and double rings at belay stations. That being said, some bolts/pitons are very old or rusted or self driven bolts. Most climbs top out in summits that can hold only a couple of people. Climbs vary between grades III to 8a but are primarily 6 and upwards. Climbing season from December to March withDebruary as the driest month. There is a guide book available from the tourist shop next to Club Andino in Bariloche for around 500ARS. A photocopy version is available from the actual Club Andino for about 70ARS. The guide book has a wealth of info and is essential for any climbing. It also adds a seriousness scale to the grade of the climb from E1 being 'easily protectable' to E4 'Fifteen meter fall possible, Crux moves are mandatory. In case of bolted routes, bolts are over 7m apart' to E6 'in case of fall, call the funeral palorundertaker mid-air' There is a Refugio run by a not for profit organization called Club Andino (they also run the volunteer rescue service - the only rescue available), who make fresh dinner every night and have stocks of beer and other treats (all at cost - but pretty reasonable) There are several guidebooks that have been marked up with revised grades, bolt/piton locations and other beta. Generally a lot of other climbers with many day/overnight hikers passing through - information is easy to use - just ask the friendly staff at the Refugio. They also have some larger cams (4, 5, 6, etc.) and other gear that is occasionally lent out depends on how friendly you are Trekking permits are required (no cost). Club Andino Bariloche has a wealth of information. Though don't be confused with the tourist office. They also have great info but charge. Overall Frey is a spectacular place with fantastic climbing, generally easy to approach but grades are sandbag grades, at times extremely harsh and weather conditions can change quickly
Frey is inaccessible by road - it's around a 4 to 5 hour trek; so you'll be staying the night or week.
Catch the number 55P bus from Bariloche to Vila Catedra. Aprox 40mins and 12 pesos (ARS). Take the bus to the end of the route. Signs pointing to 'Frey' on other side of the car park. A 3 to 5 hour, 10.5km trek with 750m plus vertical meter gain.
Alternatively, take cable car from Villa Catedral (400ish pesos - ARS), to Refugio Lynch or Punta Princess with ridge hike along the 'filo de Catedra' to Laguna Schmoll then to Refugio Frey. Slightly shorter and much more scenic taking approx 3hrs with -200 vertical meter change
Porters are available from Club Anndino in Bariloche for 1,000ARS to carry 20kg.
Where to stay
Stay at the Refugio (costs vary from full board 550ARS/night to 350ARS/night for bed and kitchen use) or camp in some well protected sites (some not so well), 50km hour winds. Best location is just over the hill I the shrubs. Many sites, some flat, so less flat but out of the wind. This camping also enjoys spectacular morning sunrise views of the valley.
Bookings are required for camping (though it is free), and are made online. The booking system only allows bookings three days in advance and to to book a maximum 5 nights. This can be extended depending on availability
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