Summiting Mt Lomas Blancas (3,650 M)
Our second day in Mendoza, we woke up to a rather misty and overcast day, causing some concern that our outing would be jeopardised. We went ahead with breakfast and getting our hiking equipment together, ready for our 8:45am pickup. Our guide was perfectly on time and soon he was whisking us out of town to the Cordon del Plata national park. The starting point of our hike was some 100km away, taking about 1 ½ hours due to the gravel switchback road for the last part of the trip.
Soon we were getting out of the car, setting up hiking poles and setting out in the mist to climb to the top of Mt Lomas Blancas. As we moved on, the mist cleared and we were surrounded by blue skies and green fields splattered with grazing cows.
Very soon, the blue disappeared again, to be replaced by another cloud of mist. This is how most of the ascent went – mist coming and going, with some extremely strong gusts of wind thrown in the mix. The wind was so strong that we could hear it coming.
It turned out to be a relatively easy climb, with very little rock hopping required. It still felt pretty good to make it to the top and enjoy the views over the nearby glacier.
Whilst we couldn’t see the nearby lake or out to Mendoza, it was spectacular looking out over the carpets of mist filling the valleys.
After a banana and a couple of muesli bars, we were ready to start the descent. We were taking a more direct route down and the lose scree made it both challenging and fun – all three of us had a few slips.
By the time we were down the main part of the mountain, the mist had come in thick and we were glad to have a local experienced guide leading us the rest of the way. Soon we were back at the car and the trip back to the hotel sped by – we tried not to look at the speedometer!
After a shower, we were ready for dinner. As it was still relatively early – restaurants only open after 8pm – we were a little limited in our choice, but we found a parilla to enjoy a steak and bottle of torrentes (white wine from the Salta province of Argentina).