Our Backcountry Tour continues, taking us out to a remote stone hut in the Andean wilderness. Refugio Frey is more like a chalet than a hut, featuring wonderful caretakers who serve you hot meals, cold beer, and good vibes. They also have a nice collection of wine and champagne to choose from. Of course, that’s not the only reason to make the trip. Other than offering some of the most breathtaking views of the iconic granite spires of Patagonia, the terrain surrounding the refugio is a skier’s paradise.
We took opportunity of the small weather window we had to spend a night out at Frey between weather systems. Along with our guest, Jon, from New York, we departed from the Cerro Catedral ski resort and skied into the beautiful Valle Van Titter. After a 500-meter powder run into the bottom of the valley, we skinned up through the spooky forest to find a warm hut awaiting our arrival. Our host, Pastor, greeted us with a bowl of warm soup, followed by an amazing pizza and cold pints of locally made Berlina beer. Nighttime out at the hut is a magical time, offering incredible views of the starry Southern sky.
Refugio Frey is surrounded by countless skiing opportunities, from mellow alpine bowls to steep couloirs. One could easily spend an entire month out at the hut, spending days on end skiing thousands of vertical feet of Patagonian powder. With the onset of a storm front, we had to leave our mountain paradise and head back to Bariloche. Unable to ascend via our original path, up Valle Van Titter, we were forced to head down the valley through a maze of bamboo forest and wooden bridges. After the long walk around the cordillera, we returned to where our journey began, the parking lot at Cerro Catedral. We bellied up at Jackson’s Bar and celebrated our victory with a well-deserved bottle of ice cold Quilmes.
As always, we had a wonderful time out at Refugio Frey, and it is certainly one of the greatest places on Earth. We’ll be back soon!
Want to see more pictures? Click here to view our Facebook photo album from Refugio Frey.