The Scenic Route Lakes and Volcanoes is the ideal destination for activities with snow. In its 725 kilometers that cross the regions of La Araucanía, Los Lagos and Los Ríos, you will not only be able to discover 26 large rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanoes, 12 national parks and more than half of all thermal areas of Chile.
In addition to all these attractions of living nature, the the route also has seven mountain centers located between the circuits Araucanía Andina, Siete Lagos, NorPatagonia and Lago Llanquihue.
Built at the foot of volcanoes and surrounded by native forests, some of these centers are geared toward skiing and snowboarding, and others toward snowshoeing. They also include snow slopes, lifts, ski schools, hotels and various sleeping facilities. In them you can practice hiking, trekking, mountaineering, cross-country skiing or the increasingly popular randonée (consists of walking through valleys and climbing hills and then descending the slopes with ski techniques).
All these accessories are ideal to improve your performance if you practice any winter sport; or if what you are looking for is simply to rest surrounded by snow, whether on winter holidays, on weekends or to enjoy panoramas during the day.
The route's accommodation infrastructure, with a varied gastronomic offer, also makes it an ideal destination for mixing activities in the snow with other types of views, such as hiking through rainforests, water sports, fishing, ascents to volcanoes or take refreshing thermal baths.
This winter, in addition, thanks to the abundant rains, a lot of snow has fallen, which further increases the attraction, explains Rodrigo Sepúlveda, Rockandtour mountain guide.
Sepúlveda, who through Ruténica offers the service of Ascent with snowshoes to the sulfur pots in Cordón Caulle (two hours from the city of Valdivia), recommends those who are thinking of visiting the route, that they define their objective and based on this decide on a panorama.
These are their recommendations in case of ascent to snowy areas, which can also be applied to other activities with snow as the protagonist.
–If you are going to make an ascent, it is necessary to spend the night in a lodging since the departures are at dawn. There are hotels, cabins and campsites. In high season it is recommended to book, because in summer the area collapses due to visits.
–Define the goal. It will be different if it is an activity in the snow with a family group, friends, adventure or with sports goals. “If the group is family and the ascent is low mountain, a guide is enough for up to eight people. On that, one more guide should be added”, says Sepúlveda.
–In the case of mid-level ascents, people must be clear that they are going to push themselves physically.
–Consider arriving in a 4x4 vehicle (or rent one) if you are in adventurous mode and want to get as close as possible to the destination to start the ascent and not be against time.
–The ideal is to have your own mountain equipment, since they will be adjusted to the size of each person. Essential, high mountain gloves and sunglasses. However, they can also be rented, just like shovels and snowshoes. Without snowshoes, the foot sinks, gets wet and gets tired and you don't enjoy the quiet activity.
–It is recommended to bring caloric snacks plus a bottle of water for all types of excursions or activities in the snow.
–For any mountain activity it is vital to have training in everything related to walking and self-arrest techniques, planning, risk management, orientation and first aidwith instructors certified by international organizations. As well as knowing how to interpret the meteorological reports of the sector to visit.
“In the case of the ascent to Caulle, you start in the morning and return at 7, 8 or 9 at night, depending on the activity. It gives the possibility of knowing the sulfur pots, which are a hot spot of the volcano, which, when mixing and melting the snow, generates a very different color, brown with white, very particular. To get there you must also cross a lenga forest. There are also other types of excursions, from 4 to 5 days. In this case, the excursion includes the possibility of skiing, use of a harness, snowboarding, camping, which also allows you to see several places of unique beauty, such as the Twin Lagoons and the Gray Lake”, concludes Sepúlveda.