Skiing the Pacific Ring of Fire and Beyond
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  Cerro Mercedario
  Cerro Aconcagua
  Cerro El Plomo
  Cerro Tupungato
  Volcán Tupungatito
  Cerro Marmolejo
  Volcán San Jose
  Volcán Maipo
  Cerro del Palomo
  Volcán Tinguiririca
  Volcán Descabezado Grande
  Cerro Azul
  Volcán Domuyo
  Volcán Tromen
  Nevados de Chillán
  Volcán Antuco
  Sierra Velluda
  Volcán Copahué
  Volcán Callaqui
  Volcán Lonquimay
  Volcán Llaima
  Volcán Villarrica
  Volcán Lanín
  Volcán Puntiagudo
  Volcán Osorno
  Monte Tronador
  Volcán Minchinmávida
  Volcán Corcovado
  Volcán Melimoyu
  Volcán Macá
  Cerro Hudson
  Cerro Lautaro
  Monte Burney

Southern Andes: Regional Map and Introduction

The High Andes (Central Chile and Argentina) #
South of the Puna de Atacama, the eastern and western cordilleras of the Andes combine to form a single range, which forms the border between Chile and Argentina all the way to southern Patagonia. Several of the highest peaks in the Andes are found in the northern part of this section, including Aconcagua, Mercedario, and Tupungato. This region contains both volcanoes and uplifted mountains, and in fact Aconcagua, the highest point in the Western Hemisphere, was long thought to be volcanic, but is now believed to be uplifted. The climate in this region is much wetter than in the Puna, with increasing precipitation as one heads south. All of the high peaks are glaciated, but most have easy walk-up routes in addition to steep, icy south faces. Mountaineering is quite popular on these peaks, and access is relatively easy, with cities close by on either side of the range and roads leading to the foothills of many peaks. In addition, ski areas are found in several of the high passes and valleys, the northernmost "real" ski resorts in South America.

Select a mountain from the clickable map above

Southern Volcanoes (Southern Chile and Argentina) #
Immediately south of the High Andes, the range decreases greatly in altitude and becomes increasing volcanic in character. Hundreds of stratovolcanoes dot the landscape, most within a few miles of the Chile / Argentina border. Despite the loss of elevation, the increasing precipitation and latitude lead to larger snowfalls and more glaciation. Many of the famous volcanoes in this region, including Chillan, Antuco, Lonquimay, Llaima, Villarrica, and Osorno, are home to ski areas large and small. Several of these are becoming major international resorts, with lift expansions high up on the volcanic peaks. The volcanoes of this region are among the most active in South America, with frequent eruptions and major earthquakes. The climate of this region is quite similar to the Cascades of the Western US, with heavy precipitation during the winter and mild, somewhat drier summers.

Patagonia (Far Southern Chile and Argentina) #
The southernmost region of South America is the famous Patagonia, a remote land of mountains, glaciers, and storms. The southern part of Chile is similar to British Columbia and southeastern Alaska, dissected by Ice Age glaciers into a maze of islands and fjords. Even today it contains two massive icefields, the 75 mile (120 km) long North Patagonia Ice Cap and the 240 mile (380 km) long South. With a combined area of over 9000 sq miles (23000 sq km), these are the largest icecaps in temperate latitudes in the world. On the Argentinian side, outlet glaciers flow from the ice caps onto the flat eastern plains. Along this eastern edge are found the massive, snow-capped granite spires such as FitzRoy and Paine which have made Patagonia world-renowned among climbers and trekkers. Scattered throughout this region are several heavily glaciated volcanoes such as Maca and Lautaro, which are little known and seldom climbed. The weather and access in Patagonia are both atrocious. Violent storms occur year-round, often arriving without warning and lasting for weeks at a time. There are few towns and even fewer roads, and most areas (except those along the east side) are accessible only by float- or ski-plane.

North America | South America | Asia | Oceania & Antarctica | Beyond the Ring | Volcanic Seven Summits | Volcano WebCams
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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