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Ascent to Volcán Lanín-Parking Lot on 2019-01-06

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Sunday, January 6, 2019
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Volcán Lanín - Parking Lot
    Location:Argentina/Chile
    Elevation:3937 ft / 1199 m
    Remaining Elevation:8356 ft / 2547 m (100% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

After a couple of beautiful days in the Bariloche area, I was hoping to bag Lanín while the weather was still good. There was still a few days before a big storm would move through the area, but winds had already become extreme. Forecasts were indicating that they might reach up to 80 km/h sustained on the summit. Despite this, I decided to check it out anyway.

The only legal access is from the Argentine side. The unofficial route via the Chilean side has been closed. The road is gated at the highway and there is a sign clearly indicating that CONAF does not have a marked route for Lanín, so no climbers are to access it from Chile. I have no idea what enforcement looks like; there certainly aren’t any CONAF rangers out looking to bust climbers on Lanín. However, it is on the border right next to an official port of entry, so they might keep an eye on it.

Anyway, to climb from the Argentine side you have to get official permission. There is an online application for doing this, but it appeared to work only for Argentine residents. In person the permit can only be issued at the park office in San Martin de Los Andes or at the guard station where the climb starts. The office was closed on the weekend, so I was forced to inquire at the guard station. We didn’t get there until 5 pm, and it had long since closed. Fortunately, there is a campground next door and multiple parking lots for those that prefer sleeping in their cars. We did the later. There also happens to be decent public Wi-Fi.

I woke up early to a large lenticular cloud on the summit and substantial winds in the parking lot. Waffling on whether an attempt would even be a good idea, I inquired about getting a permit at the station when it opened. The rangers were very friendly. They will let almost anyone with warm clothes and shoes go to the shelter. For the summit there is a list of required gear, but they are largely just looking for competency. It does turn out, however, that having a VHF radio is mandatory. We were working on convincing them that my inReach had comparable functionality, when news came in that someone was lost on the mountain and needed help. They immediately convened an emergency meeting to start coordinating a rescue, and this killed any chance of getting an exception granted. For the record, the other required gear is basic mountaineering gear like crampons, ice axe, stove, headlamp, etc. The full list is on the park website.

With plans foiled on Lanín, we opted to come up with a plan B.
Summary Total Data
    Trailhead:3937 ft / 1199 m



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