Overview: Easy access, free camping, great weather, and a huge concentration of quality routes on aesthetic granite spires, makes Frey one of the most magical Alpine cragging spots in the world.
Minimum: Day trips are possible from San Carlos de Bariloche, although it would be a big day!
Recommended: 1-2 weeks
Level of Difficulty: 5/10
Frey has routes ranging from 5.8 – 5.13; some pitches have amazing gear, while others can be challenging to find more than a couple pieces. The approaches to the climbs are typically short (5 min.-2 hrs) and can be done without crampons or axes during the high season. Safety is moderate due to Heli-pad, horse packing, communication.
Lodging at Frey:
Refugio Frey: Camping and use of inside area is free! Check out the Club Andino Site for recent prices and details for staying and eating in the Refugio.
Frey is a logistical dream as far as Alpine climbing areas go. It is accessible by public transportation, and with very relaxed approaches for an Alpine area.
Getting to Bariloche: It is relatively quite easy to get to Bariloche from most places in Argentina and Chile because of it’s popularity as a summer vacation destinations for Argentinians and Chileans alike.
by bus: Many bus companies service routes to San Carlos De Bariloche. Check Plataforma 10, or Omnilineas for a great online bus booking website, or inquire at any city’s major bus station.
by plane: San Carlos de Bariloche has an International airport with flights to most major cities in Argentina.
Getting to Frey from Bariloche:
During high season, there are public buses every hour between 7.00am and 8.00pm. The shuttle starts from the main Bus terminal, passes through the centre of town, then alternate between Avenida Bustillo and Avenida Pioneros every hour. There should be a sign that says ‘Cerro Catedral’ in the front window. In 2015 it costed 20 pesos per person for a one way trip and required buying a single journey ticket or a laminated multi-trip card at either the bus company offices or at local convenience stores. Get off at the last stop in the huge car park at the base of the ski resort, and continue to the trailhead marked by a large sign and wooden statue of a hiker. From Cerro Catedral to Frey, typically takes about 3-4 hours on a very well-marked and well-traveled trail with small streams along the way.
Around town (Food, and Accomodation):
- Supplies: There are many outdoor stores located along Calle Mitre, keep in mind that because of high import taxes, outdoor gear is relatively expensive. You can generally find what you’re looking for below, although sometimes items are out of stock in all stores (such as chalk)
- Accomodation: Make sure to book ahead during high season!
- Salta Road has about 10 different options ranging from super budget hostels to higher-end hostels.
- Moving Hostel: Great hostel located on Salta Road (Salta 504, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina)
- Patanuk Hostel: Located right on the lake, with cheap prices, relaxed atmosphere, a local bar downstairs, and super close walk to town. Owned by a Spanish climber couple.
Bariloche has a great public transportation system, including the Cerro Catedral shuttle that takes you to the trailhead for Frey (see Getting to Frey above).
Guidebook is available in Print at these locations in Bariloche:
San Carlos de Bariloche
Casa Raul, calle Mitre 367
La Bolsa del Deporte, Diagonal Capraro 1081
Librería Cultura, Avenida San Martin 243 o calle Elflein 78
Oficina de Informes del Club Andino Bariloche, en calle 20 de Febrero 30
Refugio Emilio Frey, Cerro Catedral 1700m