What should I expect?
Frey is located in Nahuel Huapi National Park, close to Bariloche. It is an incredible climbing wonderland, where climbers from all over the world come to experience the amazing granite multi-pitch routes of Aguja Frey and its surrounding peaks.
About rock climbing in Frey
Rock climbing areas in Frey
Aguja Frey: The main 'needle' the Refugio is named after, and the first peak you will see as you hike up, Aguja Frey is an iconic finger of granite, home to a number of routes. The Normal Route goes at f6b, although the grades at Frey can be pretty stiff.
M2: A shorter tower with an assortment of good routes, featuring a mixture of cracks and face climbing.
Aguja Campanille: A longer walk in from the Refugio is needed for these routes, up scree slopes and possibly snow fields depending on the time of year.
Torre Principal: Home to some of the longest routes in Frey, with a very beautiful summit. The routes are mainly crack lines, and some are partly protected by bolts.
Aguja El Piramidal: A 40 minute walk in from the Refugio over talus fields and up gullies, to some of the best crack climbing at Frey. A good place to come if you don't like abseiling, as most of the climbs have a walk-off.
Refugio Emilio Frey
Refugio Frey is an incredibly picturesque mountain hut at the base of Aguja Frey, next to Laguna Tonchek. With some classic routes as close as only a 10 minute walk away, it is the perfect hangout in an ideal location. Climbers can spend any number of days or even weeks here while they climb in the area. Decide to stay in the Refugio itself (around $500ARS per night for a bed, bedding not included) or camp just outside (which is free, and you can still use the facilities!). Either way, soak up the friendly atmosphere of the Refugio with your fellow climbers and enjoy a glass of wine, a can of beer and a game of cards.
You will need to book in advance, whether you are staying in the Refugio or camping. You can book up to three days in advance directly on their website. You can also pay extra for breakfast, dinner, and use of the kitchen, along with any snacks or drinks you may want. The refugio sleeps up to 40 people.
The traditional hike up to Refugio Frey takes 3-4 hours from Catedral car park, just outside of Bariloche, and takes a beautiful winding route around the bottom of the mountains and then up through flower speckled forests. The route is well marked the whole way with red markers and signposts. As you hike you are rewarded with stunning vistas of lakes and mountains, with the Frey needles slowly coming into view the closer you get to the Refugio.
An alternative route is also possible, via the cable car from Punta Princesa. This is slightly more technical, although shorter, at around 3 hours. The route is well marked with red paint but should only be attempted in good weather and low wind, as it involves more scrambly terrain.
Spend a week enjoying Frey
Topping out a route on the North Face of Aguja Frey to sunshine, blue skies and swooping condors was a pretty incredible experience.
Charlie Low Climbing Specialist
Climbing in Frey
There are regular flights from to Bariloche from Buenos Aires. There is also a bus from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, although this will take you 21 hours! There are also regular buses from a number of nearby Argentinian cities to Bariloche. Once you reach Bariloche you will need to hike up to Frey.
It will depend on how much rock climbing experience you have as to whether or not you need a guide. If you have a lot of multi-pitch experience, you're able to lead climb and have all of your own climbing equipment, you won't need a guide. However if you're newer to climbing and don't have the confidence to lead multi-pitch mountain routes, or you're not able to bring your own equipment with you, a guide could be a good option for you.
If you've booked a trip or hired a guide, they will typically have most of the equipment you will need, although you should check about personal equipment (harness, shoes etc.). It is possible to buy breakfast, lunch and dinner from the Refugio and to book a bed, so you don't need to bring any food with you. However if you are going for longer than a few days you may prefer to camp and cook your own food - you can still use the Refugio's kitchen for a small cost.
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