Ascent of Volcán Lanín on 2019-01-16
|Others in Party:||Greg Jagielski|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 16, 2019|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||12293 ft / 3746 m|
Ascent Trip ReportPretty much all TR’s I read mentioned there was no red tape to climb Lanin from the Chilean side. That is at least compared to the significant amount of hoops you have to jump through to climb it from the Argentinian side. We set out under the impression that we’d be fine to hike up the mountain without a permit or permission. When we got to the standard starting area for the Chilean Route there was a sign stating that one had to have a permit from the local CONAF office and a gate at the start of the spur dirt road that gets you roughly a mile closer to the mountain. This dirt road is located off CH 199 a couple miles before the Argentina border crossing.
There are plenty of other hikes in the area that do not require a permit, so we parked at a dirt pull-off off the highway just east of the dirt road and started our hike there. This dirt pull-off is actually a bypass for the gate to get on the road that gets you closer to the mountain. It appeared many, many vehicles have driven this to get around the gate. We figured that we wouldn’t see anyone up there and if we were approached on the hike down, we’d mention we did one of the many other hikes in the area.
The route is surprisingly straightforward on this mountain, considering how complex and massive it looks from the base. At the end of the dirt road you pick up a trail that follows the river bed to the base of where it gets steep. From there it is easy to pick up cairns and get on the ridge line. The ridge is solid and a fun scramble at times. Kind of a rule of thumb is, when in doubt angle left. We crossed over several ridges angling left before we got to a somewhat level section 2000’ below the peak. From here we picked up a trail again and were able to follow it up a few switchbacks before getting on another ridge. There is a major snowfield to the left of this ridge, but it felt easier and safer to stay on the rock. In fact we didn’t touch snow until maybe the final 800’ of gain to the top. This was more of a rime snow with some interesting frozen formations blasted in it. It was a bit icy and slick in spots but there was enough texture on it we opted against putting on crampons. A bit higher up we picked up another, very well defined, trail in the snow that we were able to follow the rest of the way to the top. The summit is one massive snow/ rime dome that clearly gets a lot of wind. I can’t say I’ve stood on top of anything quite like this peak.
For our decent we more or less retraced our steps, but opted for scree gullies or snow fields vs ridges when we could find them. I was hoping for a quicker decent than we did, but not the greatest scree for blasting down. Once back down to the bottom we ran the trail and road back to car and didn’t see any other folks up there.
All and all this mountain is a beast!!! From where we parked you are staring up 8600’ to the top and it’s only 3 miles away. Our stats were 8600’ of gain and only 11 miles round trip. But if you factor in the relatively flat approach to the base you are looking at 7400’ of gain in 3.5 miles or 2,115’ per mile the last 3.5 to the top. Time up was 4 hr 35 min and 2 hr 37 min down. 7:22 rt with time spent on top.
Like I mentioned earlier, despite the overwhelmingly massive presence this mountain portrays, the route is solid. Don’t underestimate this one though.
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