Leaving fun memories in the lakes region of Chile, the time had come for us to venture up and over the Andean border between Chile and Argentina to see what was in store on the other side. At this point in the trip we were living in heaven and making an old dream come true; exploring and climbing in Patagonia!The town of Bariloche, Argentina and the surrounding area was our intended target to explore first. With dreamy lakes and mountains everywhere, it wasn’t hard to feel at home and find enjoyment in this part of the world.We’d heard about a climbing area known as El Frey that required a long hike in and had a refugio (cabin) to camp near. Without hesitation, we packed up everything again and started off. To say it was worth the effort is an understatement.We pitched our tent in the surreal setting for as many days as our food would last. In case you didn’t know, we love to eat delicious food even if it’s 6 miles in the back country.With so many climbable spires all around, we jumped right in and did what we love.Not only did we encounter great climbing in an unreal setting, we met some fun loving and festive Argentinians. We ate dinners slowly while sharing delicious wine, and enjoyed homemade music late into the night.Having the refugio to relax in, stay warm, and enjoy each others company after climbing was definitely a treat. Everyone was shockingly friendly and approachable, something that has become a common theme along our adventure.We were able to share the summit of one of the spires with some new friends on our last day of climbing. Matt’s dad had arranged a few days at an AirBnB for a much needed van break and our food was low, so we enjoyed one last morning and began our descent back to Koru and Bariloche. The views on the downhill hike out were spectacular and helped make the journey easy and relaxing. On our way back, we even discovered a great idea for a new back-country getaway someday. Once we were back in Bariloche, we set out to experience more of what the area had to offer, which if we’re being honest, was mostly beer, wine, meat and chocolate in the most stunning setting. Paradise!Every market, from the little corner store to the big grocery store had entire aisles designated to wine, mostly Malbecs (type of grape from Argentina) for dirt cheap.Argentina is also known to give some of the European countries a run for their money in the chocolate world. At least 2 chocolate shops existed on every block with free samples, so we only did what seemed natural, sample something from every, single, one. Mmm Mmmm!We kept the good times rolling by visiting a few of the many breweries in the area. The Patagonia brewery, ideally set on a beautiful lake looking at the Andes, was definitely our favorite. We can easily say this was the best brewery experience we’d had since leaving Colorado and is highly recommended for anyone visiting Bariloche.Rested and clean, we continued south with plans to visit another climbing area in a completely different and warmer desert ecosystem. Along the scenic drive, we encountered wild blackberries everywhere on the side of the road. So, we screeched to a halt and filled all available tupperware. Our pancake-life for the few days following was upper-level.The long and beautiful drive to Piedra Parada (literally translated to rock stop) was reminiscent of Wyoming back roads with vistas going on for eternity.We finally arrived and were treated to a stunning monolith along with deeply incised canyons full of high quality volcanic tuff to climb.We made camp and waited for our good friends Tim and Andrea to arrive. We were stoked to spend time playing outside with them and had lots to catch up on since our last adventure together in Peru! We discovered the shady canyons with some of the most enjoyable sport climbing of the trip.With a river nearby, vans parked under a shady tree, and a nearby homestead that sold cold beer where climbers met up, we considered this one of the best spots yet.Asados or parrilladas (terms used for open fire bbq) are famous in Argentina and southern Chile, so we tried our hand at a slow cooked asado over our camp fire after a long day of climbing and quick swim in the river. Although we decided that more experience was needed to match the quality of a local asado, we thoroughly enjoyed the slow pace of eating a meal the way Patagonians do. Yet again, we were in the position of not wanting to leave another wonderful place, but we had the famous Carretera Austral ahead of us in Chile and a family visit we were looking forward to. Wishing our dear friends goodbye, we promised to meet up again further south in Chile.All we could do as we drove away from Piedra Parada was gush about how grateful were were to be on such a trip and see such incredible places with wonderful people around every corner. Vamos otra vez!
3 thoughts on “Argentinian Gems”
Bariloche the beautiful! Great climbing stories in a beautiful area. It is always so inspiring to hear how you both immersed yourself in the local culture and sampled all the local treasures. Fresh picked blackberry pancakes, oh my!
Argentina looks like a must for our bucket list. Your pictures and commentary are fabulous and your adventures the best ever!! Can taste those fresh blueberries and Don was drooling over all the Malbecs and me the CHOCOLATE!!! Such an adventure and thanks for letting us join in with your wonderful times!!
Increíble lugar amigos, estoy en shock luego de mirar las fotos de los dos escalando montañas tan peligrosas, es un talento que pocas personas lo tienen.
qué lindos lagos en Argentina, es un país tan grande que se necesita de varias semanas para tener una mejor idea de lo que ofrece a los turistas, gracias a su página web y a la información que nos proporcionan, nos ayudan a ver y descubrir lugares tan bonitos como lo es la república de Argentina.
en realidad no tenía idea que son productores de chocolate y de cerveza, el vino es mundialmente conocido, y los asados de carne son de las mejores.
me alegro mucho que hayan conocido lugares tan bonitos, y sobretodo que hayan tenido la oportunidad de conocer buenos amigos, que seguramente están en su corazón.
hermosa la Argentina…en particular me gusta mucho los alfajores que tienen galletas y dulce de leche en el medio, me gusta mucho un dulce que viene con maní…creo que se llama mantecol..una delicia..
por cierto SARITA me gusta mucho la foto en la que estás cocinando en la van, se ve que te gusta la cocina y Matt debe estar muy contento que seas su compañera de vida.
un abrazo a la distancia.