East of Bolsón, the piedmont rises steadily and then sharply to 2,284-meter Piltriquitrón’s granite summit, where a clear day reveals the snow-covered phalanx of peaks along the Chilean border, from Tronador and beyond in the north to Lago Puelo and beyond the Cordón Esperanza in the south. When the clouds clear, Volcán Osorno’s Fuji-perfect cone, in Chile, appears almost immediately west of Tronador.
From Bolsón, a winding dirt road climbs 13 kilometers to a parking area at the 1,200-meter level, where a steep footpath leads to the Bosque Tallado (US$1 pp). Here, chainsaw carvers have transformed trunks from a scorched lenga forest into 25 memorable sculptures.
Beyond the Bosque Tallado, the trail climbs to the Club Andino’s Refugio Piltriquitrón (tel. 02944/15-69-0044) at 1,400 meters. Bunks cost US$6.50 pp, but you need your own sleeping bag; meals are also available. This was once a ski area, and the path climbs even more steeply along the rusty T-bar cable before leveling off and rounding Piltriquitrón; marked by paint blazes, it then climbs steeply over loose talus to the summit. From the refugio, it takes about two hours; carry water and high-energy snacks.
In summer, Grado 42 (Avenida Belgrano 406, Local 2, tel. 02944/493124) goes to the parking area at 8:30 a.m. daily, returning two hours later. The fare is US$12 round-trip, while a remise costs US$20.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition