This trek is best walked Frey to Jakob and not vica verca due to the descending the steeper screes and not ascending them.
From Refugio Frey you can head out on the trail on either the left (crosses the small stream by Refugio Frey) or right hand side of the lake. After walking past the lake the trail continues across the flat valley floor before zig-zagging up the right hand side of the valley to Laguna Schmoll; following red painted spot on rocks and small cairns. (There is a plaque on the large boulder by the lake shore). Continue clock-wise round Laguna Schmoll to the base of the easy scramble (from a distance it looks worse than it is) that ascends to the 'Cancha de Futbol' - a flat/sheltered pass between the two valleys. Following red painted markers on the rocks the trail descends steeply down the screes to the Ruco Valley. A beautiful forest trail takes your through the valley before you start ascending again, heading out above the treeline to a col before the final scree/rocky descent to Refugio Jakob. There is a new bridge over a small stream and a new route cut through the forest on the final 300m before arriving at Refugio Jakob so you now don't need to get your feet wet on the previously very wet/muddy last section.
Water: From the outlet of Laguna Schmoll and there are a number of small streams in the Rucaco valley.
Is the stream water safe to drink? As with any mountain region where lots of people trek, there will be pollution of water sources. The refuges provide safe drinking water; whilst out on the trails I would recommend treating water from streams found in the more popular areas and taking other water sources on a case by case basis depending on the stream source.
Refugio Jakob - Tambo (end of trail)
Refugio Frey (RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL) $30 to camp & Refugio Jakob (AR$35 contribution asked towards toilet facilities upkeep). Refugio Frey & Jakob prices
Bariloche - Villa Catedral (Cerro Catedral ski resort): During summer there are public buses (Bus no. 55) about once an hour between 7.00am and 8.00pm starting from the Bus terminal, passing through the centre of Bariloche then alternately going along Avenida Bustillo and Avenida Pioneros. The bus doesn't have a number but instead has a sign in the window saying 'Cerro Catedral'. The cost is (ask at the Tourist Info or Mountain Info centres for up to date prices) per person one way, payable in cash; alternatively you can pre purchase tickets at the bus company offices. Get off at the last stop in the huge car park at the base of the ski resort.
The best option that I personally use is to take the local bus to KM 12,5 on Bustillio then take a remis to the trail head. 'Remises Bustillo' (0294) 4463003. A Remis is just like a taxi, but it has to be reserved by phone or at their office.
If finishing your trek at 'Tambo' it's about 6kms along a gravel road to the nearest bus! If you have a cell phone you can call 'Remises Bustillo' (see above). SECURITY NOTE: There have been a number of robberies over the last few years of people walking along this gravel road from the trail head back to the main road.
|Duration:||2 - 3 days (trekking times)|
|Park Entrance $:||None|
Refugio Frey to Refugio Jakob (light blue trail 8)
The information contained on this website is no substitute for a qualified Mountain Guide and the site author accepts no responsibility for inaccurate or outdated information (nor omission of information), nor any accident or injury sustained while carrying out the treks described here. This website has no affiliation with any of the refuges or businesses mentioned within it and does not receive commission or operate in any way for commercial gain.