Osorno via La Picada - North Face

A stunning ski descent of one of the most treacherous volcanoes in Chile

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
6.1 km
Ascent
1.8 km
Descent
8 m
Low Point
821 m
High Point
2.7 km
Gradient
42˚
Osorno via La Picada - North Face Map

From the trailhead at Thomas' cafe, head towards the summer trail which meanders through the wet forest. After around an hour, one reaches the treeline and the ancient remains of the old ski hut of La Picada.

Description

From the hut, the route is pretty straightforward, aiming directly towards the summit.

Once skinning, the volcano may be steep and icy, so be prepared for multiple skin-boot- crampon transitions throughout the day. The route has few protected areas to avoid the wind, so bring a puffy, always.

When nearing the 2000 m mark, the flanks of the volcano increase in steepness, requiring crampons and ice axes.

The final portion of the route is the most tricky. There are hidden crevasses under the the snow that blows over from the other faces, so be prepared to rope up and belay your partners.

As opposed to the normal west route, it is usually possible to ski directly off the summit, although be prepared to ski sastrugi and rime. Follow your ascent route carefully, in order to avoid falling into the deadly crevasses near the summit.

The descent provides incredible views of the Puntiagudo, Tronador and Puyehue Volcanoes, and is strongly recommend as a spring tour, preferably during October and November.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Guidebooks in this area