Contact: Matthias Helldoerfer
Duration: 5 Days
Level: Very hard
Starting point: Parral
Recomended website http://www.trekkingchile.com/Casachueca/indexDE.html
How to get there:
Without your own transportation, even the first stage will be difficult. There is a bus once a day from Parral to the Malcho bridge over Río Longaví. From here, it is 8 km to the entrance of Fundo Castillo, where you have to get permission to enter the private grounds. There are two different gravel roads that take you another 5 km down to Río Blanco. Better take the one to the north, the manager can give precise directions. This will be the actual starting point at an altitude of about 750 m.
First follow the road, which will end after about 30 minutes. It continues on the other side of Río Blanco, which carriers a lot of water, especially in the Spring. You should have solid experience with river crossings, or you might get into serious trouble! Once on the other (eastern) side of the river, walk uphill for about half an hour an then another 1.5 hours on relatively level ground back down to the river, which you will have to cross here again. There is also a nice spot for camping here. Since this stretch is densely forested, you can catch only occasional glimpses of snowcovered Toro.
You should be able to hit the trail well-rested, and soon you will arrive at Río Martín. After crossing it, continue to follow Río Blanco upstream. It´s important to stay close to the escarpment until you are back on the trail. Then it´s uphill steeply to the summer pastures which the locals call potrero; you will pass a wooden cabin. Stay on the left edge of the pasture and climb a cattle fence to get back on the trail. After about another hour, and two more stream crossings, you will find a good campsite in a forest near a stream. By now, you´ve been hiking 5 hours total.
Those who feel like a bath can hike to La Turbia withou their packs. A few minutes after you have crossed the second stream, a trail starts switchbacking uphill following the stream at some distance. On a small level plain colored sediments right next to the stream will signal the small warm springs.
A few hundred meters behind the camp you will pass "Crying Rock" where water emerges from the volcanic rock. The trail leads back to Río Blanco, and you´ll have to cross it again. A little ways up, the same thing all over, and then it´s further up the valley without a trail, over big river rocks.
Loma de arena (Sand Hill) can be seen from quite a distance ahead. The ascent is a little tiring because of the shifting sand. Once at the top, you will find a trail on relatively level ground. After crossing a tributary, you will get to a nice campsite next to a huge rock that you simply can´t miss. Since you will have been above the treeline starting at Loma de arena, you will have an unobstructed view of Longaví.
It´s mountain climbing today; a day tour to 3,240 m Nevado de Longaví, no less. On the eastern slope, snowfields descend until well into the Summer, so you might need crampons and iceaxe. If there is no snow, the ascent will be all the more difficult because of the scree on the steep slopes. From the camp, follow the stream towards the mountain hiking through an impressive gorge. In its lower portion, it consists of silt, and furhter uphill, head for the hilly part that is about 100 meters below the actual summit. Beware of rockfall! Pick your route carefully.
The upper part of the summit is for experienced mountaineers only; it is climbed from the north. But even from the spot where you are now, you can already see for about 300 kilometers on clear days, over numerous snowy peaks close by and all the way into Argentina. The altitude gain between camp and summit is about 800 m.
Return by the same route.
You can already see the trail on the other side of Río Blanco leading to the 2,000 m pass. Once on the pass, hike for about an hour to get to Laguna Achibueno nestled among the dwaf pine that feeds the river of the same name. There is nothing like a mountain lake for cooling off in the heat of the Summer!
The trail follows Río Achibueno down ino the valley. At the mouth of Río Nacimiento you will find a good campsite at 1,200 m.
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