The volcanoes of Southern Chile's Araucania Region are fantastic ski mountaineering objectives. Our 10-day ski mountaineering expedition attempts ski descents from the summits of several Chilean peaks: Volcán Lonquimay (9,400' | 2,865m), Volcán Llaima (10,253' | 3,125m), Volcán Villarica (9,341' | 2,847m), and Volcán Lanín (12,293' | 3,747m). Trip highlights include:
- Climb and ski four Andean peaks over the course of one ski mountaineering expedition.
- Combine both single and multi-day ascents during the expedition, staying in comfortable chilean lodges between objectives.
- Build your ski mountaineering experience with instruction and practice on fun and challenging terrain.
- Experience the beautiful landscapes and welcoming culture of Southern Chile.
- Climb and ski with an experienced RMI Ski Mountaineering Guide, benefiting from their background, training, and expertise and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.
Beginning in Temuco, Chile, our Ski Mountaineering Expedition first heads to the lower slopes of the Volcán Lonquimay where we spend the day skiing the backcountry of a local ski resort to revive our legs after two days of travel and review ski mountaineering techniques. Volcán Lonquimay (9,400' | 2,865m) is our first skiing objective, and we climb and ski it with daypacks. The mountain towers above the small village of Malalcahuello and is one of the best ski mountaineering objectives in the region, offering a sustained 35° descent right off the summit.
Next we set off for a two day ascent of Volcán Llaima (10,253' | 3,125m), one of the most visually stunning peaks of the Southern Chilean volcanoes. We climb and ski the imposing northeastern shoulder of Llaima, and incredible route that sees fewer ascents than the shorter western route. Llaima last erupted in 2009!
After Llaima we head south to the beautiful resort town of Pucón for our next objective, Volcán Villarica (9,341' | 2,847m). This volcano's classic conical shape towers above Pucón and is one of only five volcanoes in the world with an active lava lake in the crater. Similar to our first objective Lonquimay, we climb and ski Villarica with daypacks, covering 5,300 vertical feet ending at the ski area on the lower flanks.
Volcán Lanín (12,293' | 3,747m) is our last objective of the trip, and the highest. Lanín sits right on the border with Argentina, and offers incredible views from the summit deep into both countries. We take two days to ascend Lanín, digging in a high camp around 7,000' on the mountain's northern flank. It is an exciting ski descent with steep turns off the top, and a total descent of up to 8,000 vertical feet!
The objectives of RMI's Chile Ski Mountaineering Expedition provide significant mountaineering challenge, considerable vertical relief, and the unforgettable experience of long ski descents from high summits. Throughout the expedition we learn how to safely access mountaineering destinations on skis while increasing the speed and efficiency both climbing and skiing technical mountaineering terrain.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition, with "advanced" downhill skiing or riding ability, and previous ski touring experience. Participants should feel comfortable on black diamond terrain in ski areas, and be able to ski a variety of off-piste (ungroomed) snow conditions. Participants should be able to ascend and descend 5,000 vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb backpack, or 3,000 vertical feet carrying a 35-40lb backpack.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for ski touring in Patagonia, instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Chile Ski Mountaineering Expeditions is led by RMI's foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing and ski mountaineering experience on mountains all over the world. As you reach higher elevations and challenging terrain and test the limits of your experience, the value of accomplished and highly trained RMI Guides cannot be understated. Our professional guides make possible the experience of safely completing the adventure.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PACIFIC ALPINE GUIDES
The Chile Ski Mountaineering Expedition is operated in partnership with Pacific Alpine Guides, a small guide service run by RMI guides Tyler and Katy Reid. Our partnership combines the strengths of our guide services: RMI's decades of experience leading countless successful international expeditions around the world and to high altitudes, with Pacific Alpine Guides experience specializing in guided backcountry skiing, remote ski mountaineering, and AIARE avalanche training.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our ski expeditions in South America. Careful planning, flexibility in our itinerary, daily weather forecasts via satellite, and diligent attention are taken as we venture into a remote backcountry environment. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or email@example.com.
Day 1: TRAVEL
Depart U.S.A. Travel to Temuco, Chile (ZCO) typically takes 18-27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times.
Day 2: TEMUCO • 1,180' | 360m
Upon arrival in Temuco, we are picked up at the airport and transferred to our hotel. After checking into the rooms there is time to explore the city or to relax. Overnight in Temuco.
Day 3: MALALCAHUELLO • 3,198' | 975m
We meet in the hotel lobby for an orientation meeting and our first team breakfast. After breakfast we travel to the Corralco Ski Center, a ski area situated at the base of Volcán Lonquimay. We spend the afternoon riding the lifts and skiing some of the backcountry terrain accessed by the ski area. This provides a valuable chance to get our ski legs back under us after a full summer in the northern hemisphere. At the end of the day we drive down to the town of Malalcahuello where we settle in to our accommodations on a beautiful ranch. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)
Day 4: LONQUIMAY SUMMIT DAY • 9,400' | 2,865m
Summit day on Volcán Lonquimay! We get an alpine start and drive to the base of Volcán Lonquimay, beginning our ascent carrying only daypacks. The climb takes approximately 5 hours and the ski descent from the summit offers a consistent 35° black diamond pitch for the first 2,000'. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)
Day 5: APPROACH TO LLAIMA • 5,180' | 1,579m
We drive an hour and a half from Malalcahuello to the starting point of our ascent of Llaima. With overnight packs, we begin our approach on the lower slopes of the volcano, setting up camp near the base of our route. In the afternoon we head out on a short ski tour above camp, to get a closer look at our ascent route for the following day. (B,D)
Day 6: LLAIMA SUMMIT DAY • 10,253' | 3,125m
Summit day on Volcán Llaima! With an early start, we begin or ascent. The northeast side of Llaima creates a deceiving foreshortening effect, making the summit crater appear closer than it really is. We ascend the first portion of the mountain on skins before transitioning to climbing in boots and crampons with our skis on our packs on the upper slopes. The summit crater on Llaima is impressive with young, sharp lava rock formed as recently as 2009!
The ski descent from the crater rim of this cone shaped volcano is steep from the start, with a slope angle that approaches 40° for the first few turns before easing back to 35° for the rest of the face. It is an amazing descent and our team is guaranteed to be high fiving back at camp! We pack up camp and enjoy the remainder of the descent back to the road. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)
Day 7: PUCÓN • 745' | 227m
We travel south from Malalcahuello to the town of Pucón. Along the way we stop and soak our muscles at one of the termas (hot springs) along the river outside of Malalcahuello. The drive to Pucón takes 3-4 hours. Overnight in Pucón (B)
Day 8: VILLARICA SUMMIT DAY • 9,341' | 2,847
Summit day on Volcán Villarica! We start off ascending with skins before transitioning to ski crampons higher on the mountain. Depending on snow conditions, we may choose to strap our skis to our packs and climb with boots and crampons. The ascent takes 5-6 hours. After a summit celebration we begin our third ski descent of the trip! At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Pucón. Overnight in Pucón. (B)
Day 9: PUCÓN • 745' | 227m
Rest day in Pucón. Options for today include soaking in the local thermal hot springs, exploring the town, skiing at the local ski area, or simply relaxing. (B)
Day 10: APPROACH TO LANÍN • 7,000' | 2,134m
From Pucón we drive an hour and a half towards the border with Argentina. Here, on the northern side of Lanín, we begin our ascent. We work our way above treeline, skinning up a broad rib between large gullies. In the afternoon we dig in our camp around 7,000'. (B,D)
Day 11: LANÍN SUMMIT DAY • 12,293' | 3,747m
We get another alpine start as we set off from our camp. The terrain gradually becomes steeper on the upper mountain, and like the other volcanoes, we use a combination of techniques: skinning with ski crampons and climbing with our skis on our packs. On the summit we are able to see deep into Argentina, and on a clear day, Llaima to the north and Villarica to the northwest. It is a long run back to our camp, and by the time we reach our starting point at the base of Lanín, we will have skied up to 8,000 vertical feet. We drive back to Pucón and celebrate a safe and successful expedition. (B)
Day 12: TRAVEL
In the morning we travel back to the Temuco airport for outbound flights. (B)
Day 13: TRAVEL
Chile's Volcanoes Ski Mountaineering Expedition Equipment List
The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.
Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2015.
Pack & Bag Guides' Pick
BACKPACK: A 70+ liter pack is the recommended size for this climb. A strapping system to hold your skis is a nice feature.
DAY PACK (OPTIONAL): An optional item for use on the ski tours above camp. It should be large enough to carry food, water, clothing, and rescue gear for the day. A strapping system for carrying skis is a nice feature.
SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated 0° to 15° F. Either goose down or synthetic.
SLEEPING PAD: Full length inflatable or closed cell pad.
Technical Gear Guides' Pick
ICE AXE: A shorter 50-60cm ice axe is preferable for ski mountaineering, as this is a tool we tend to only use in steeper terrain. Avoid aggressive ice climbing tools in favor of a simple mountain axe with an adze.
CLIMBING HARNESS: We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.
1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into the climbing rope.
1 SCREW-GATE LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into anchors, etc.
HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet or a ski mountaineering helmet rated from both rock fall and skiing falls. Standard ski helmets are not acceptable. They are not rated for rockfall and are too warm to be worn during ascents.
CLIMBING CRAMPONS: 12 point adjustable crampons which fit your ski boots and are designed for general mountaineering.
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.
SKI CRAMPONS: A crampon specific to your ski binding which is used for ascending firm slopes with skis on.
SKIS WITH AT BINDINGS, TELEMARK SKIS, OR SPLITBOARD: All skis and boards need to have brakes or retention straps.
Head Guides' Pick
BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.
GLACIER GLASSES: You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.
GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVE: One pair of fleece, soft-shell or wind-stopper gloves.
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant, insulated mountain gloves.
HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.
2 LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.
RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood. We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.
INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
2-3 UNDERWEAR: Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Synthetic or wool.
SKI PANT: A lightweight, well ventilated soft-shell or hard-shell ski or climbing pant that fits over the cuff of your ski boots.
- First Ascent Grand Tour Pant
- First Ascent Grand Tour Pant
ALPINE TOURING, TELEMARK BOOTS, OR SNOWBOARD BOOTS: Telemark boots flex at the toe for more efficient striding uphill and to allow the "telemark turn" on descent. Telemark boots should be of contemporary plastic design. No leather "Nordic" boots please. Alpine Touring boots are a cross between a downhill ski boot and a hiking boot. AT Boots have rigid, lug soles, and are crampon compatible for climbing steep snow slopes. If renting boots it is recommended that you demo the rentals at your local ski area before taking them on this program. Please call our office to speak with a guide about ski and snowboard boot recommendations.
LIGHTWEIGHT HIKING SHOES: Great for travel, day hikes, and camp.
3-4 SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.
Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick
SUNSCREEN: We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
2 WATER BOTTLES: Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.
2 GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.
ZIP-LOCK BAG (1 GALLON): Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.
REPAIR KIT: Bring a small repair kit with parts specific to your ski or snowboard boots and bindings.
2 STRAPS: Voile style ski straps for you carrying your skis and poles, and longer straps for lashing foam pads and tents to the outside of your pack.
2 SHIRTS: For hotel dinners and while traveling.
Personal First Aid Kit
ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT (FOR CUTS & SCRAPES)
ASPRIN / IBUPROFEN / TYLENOL
PEPTO-BISMOL (STOMACH RELIEF)
SMALL ROLL OF ADHESIVE TAPE
ANTIBIOTICS: Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.
ANTIBIOTICS: Antibiotics for upper respiratory infection.
TYLENOL #3: Tylenol 3 for pain
Utensils Guides' Pick
BOWL: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
INSULATED MUG: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
SPOON or SPORK: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
PASSPORT: Valid for six months beyond your return date.
COPY OF PASSPORT: The first two pages of your passport.
COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, fuel, climbing ropes, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).
Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a cell phone for emergency contact.
Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. Your trip fee does not included bottled water and drinks.
Please list any special dietary needs on the Participant Information Form. The form must be returned to the RMI Office 90 days prior to the program departure date.
You are responsible for your own mountain lunches for 7 days. Lunch items should weigh about 4 lbs. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Chile, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take lunch foods that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, trail mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid). All items should be commercially packaged.
Be aware that Chile disallows certain food items to pass through Customs. You may not bring the following items into Chile: cheeses, fresh meats, dried meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. Other food items may pass inspection, but that decision is at the discretion of the customs inspector. Items which are generally okay include jerky and dried fruits as long as they are in their original packaging.
Mountain Breakfasts and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars (Kashi, Kudos), hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner at usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition, with "Advanced" downhill skiing or riding ability, and previous ski touring experience. Participants should feel comfortable on black diamond terrain in ski areas, skiing in a variety of off-piste (ungroomed) snow conditions.
Participants should be able to ascend and descend 5,000' vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb backpack, or 3,000' vertical feet carrying a 35-40lb backpack.
- Intro to Ski Touring Course
- Intro to Ski Mountaineering Course
- Ski Touring Skills Course
- AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course
Physical Fitness Training
Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, ski touring requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb and descent.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing and skiing.
For this Ski Mountaineering Seminar, you are preparing for:
- Ascents and descents of 4,500' vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb backpack.
- Ascents and descents of 2,500' vertical feet carrying a 35-40lb backpack.
Nothing ensures an enjoyable adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual's success on an expedition such as this.
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support, both with regards to travel arrangements, evacuation policies and insurance options. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Even if you are a seasoned traveler capable of organizing your own travel arrangements, consider contacting her if you wish to avoid sifting through the variety of evacuation policies and insurance options on the market. Please call (208) 788-2870 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellation Insurance, Medical Evacuation & Security Evacuation
We strongly encourage participants to consider travel insurance, a medical evacuation policy, and a security evacuation policy. Travel insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, repatriation and more. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling. Note that many of the insurance options can be purchased under one policy but some coverage may only be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit or if purchased as an upgrade to an existing policy rather than as a stand-alone option.
Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation insurance offers protection of deposit and registration funds should you need to cancel from a program. This might be due to an injury during training, a personal illness, or it might be due to extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. Policies are determined based upon your home state, check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including adventure/sports coverage*.
*Adventure/Sports Coverage: Most standard policies do not cover climbing or mountaineering. You can purchase Adventure/Sports Coverage as an upgrade to a standard policy. Please be sure to check with your provider and their description of coverage to make sure the policy you are purchasing provides you with adequate protection.
Medical Evacuation: An illness or injury in a remote area could require a medical evacuation costing well over $100,000. Travel insurance providers (such as AIG Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance) typically offer reimbursement for medical evacuations. Additionally, crisis response companies (such as Global Rescue) can orchestrate an actual field rescue as necessary in medical, security or other evacuation situations, even from extremely remote areas. Check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including details of what constitutes a medical vs. a non-medical emergency.
Security Evacuation: This policy offers crisis evacuation services in non-medical situations. Examples include evacuations from areas affected by natural disasters, war or conflict zones, terrorism, and other areas in which participant security is threatened.
For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.
|AIG Travel Guard||Erin Rountree|
|Travelex Insurance||Global Rescue|
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories / warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Travel to Temuco, Chile (ZCO) typically takes 18 - 27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times. Flights generally arrive in the afternoon on Day 2 of the itinerary.
Departing flights may be booked for any time on Day 12 of the program.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Chile. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Santiago: For most flight itineraries, travelers pass through immigrations and customs at the Santiago airport. This requires passing through immigrations, collecting your bags, and passing through customs. Once you exit customs, take the elevator to the third floor and recheck your bags onto your domestic flight to Temuco.
Temuco: Temuco is a small airport. Upon collecting your bags, a private shuttle will take you to our hotel.
Traveling With Skis
Pack your ski bag carefully to ensure your skis and bindings are well padded. Strap your skis and poles together and wrap your climbing skins around your bindings for extra protection. Fill any voids in your ski bag with clothing. We recommend using a TSA approved luggage lock to ensure the zippers stay closed.
Most airlines count skis as a normal checked bag however as baggage policies differ by airlines, be sure to check with your carrier. We recommend keeping your ski bag and duffel under 50 lbs each to avoid oversize charges.
A strategy that we recommend is to travel with your ski boots as a carry-on item. Your boots are arguably the most important piece of equipment, and in the event that your ski bag is delayed, you will have a workable option in the interim. Finding a pair of rental skis that work with your boots is generally easier than finding an entire ski setup.
The provided ground transportation in Chile as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
Food - If it is cooked, boiled, or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Santiago.
Chile Country Facts
Chile is a country of immense beauty, stretching for 2,700 miles along the southwestern coast of South America. Chile's fascinating geography (a thin ribbon of territory that stretches from the northern Atacama Desert to the Torres del Paine at the southern tip) and geology (the country contains hundreds of volcanoes, more than fifty of which are active) combine to make it one of the interesting destinations on earth. "Chile," wrote Chilean Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, "was invented by a poet."
The country's high-income economy has helped produce a stable and prosperous nation, leading Latin American nations in competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low percentage of corruption.
Chile is a multi-ethnic, multicultural country whose people, subsequently, identify their nationality by citizenship rather than ethnicity. The Peruvian census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Its population can be composed of Mestizos (European-Indigenous ancestry): 47%, Amerindians (Indigenous): 31%, European: 18.5%, Afro-Peruvians: 2%, Asians and others: 1%.
Santiago, the country's capital since colonial times, was founded in 1541. The city's downtown has 19th century neo-classical architecture and winding side-streets, but the growing city also sports a growing entertainment scene, a rising skyline, and sprawling suburban growth. For those with some extra time, Spanish language courses for travelers are readily available.
For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.
The primary ski season for volcanoes in Chile is during the months of August through October. The month of September is roughly equivalent to April in the northern hemisphere, offering some of the best snow coverage and skiing quality of the season.
September is a transitional month and weather conditions tend to be spring-like, however there is still potential for snowfall and colder winter conditions.
The people of Chile are generally very warm and friendly to tourists. Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.
A handshake and nod show respect when greeting someone. When entering a shop or home, politely use a greeting such as buenos días (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Similarly, upon leaving, even if you've had only minimal contact, say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later).
Chileans are typically proud of their country and culture. They are well-educated and tend to be cosmopolitan and progressive. Because a majority of Chile's population originated from Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, travelers typically have little trouble fitting in.
Electricity in Chile is different than in the United States. Chile has standardized type C sockets and plugs. Type L plugs and power points are still commonly found in older buildings.
Both are used for 220-240 volt, 50 hertz appliances. U.S. appliances will require plug adaptors, converters or transformers. Please visit www.worldstandards.eu/electricity for more detailed information.
The current currency of Chile is the Peso. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You should find that $400 - $500 for spending money is adequate for your restaurant meals, drinks, tips and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Cash machines are readily available in Temuco and Pucón, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well being and success on the trek. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 - 15% of the cost of the program.
Frederic Lena's Chile & Argentina, Handbook of Ski Mountaineering in the Andes Belu Press, 2007
Deposit Payments: A deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation. Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check, or wire transfer.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 90 days prior to the start of your program, and we will send a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment is due. If your balance payment is not received within 90 days of the program, your reservation will be cancelled and all fees forfeited. Trips departing within 90 days from the reservation date must be paid in full at the time of reservation. Please note that balance payments may be made via check, e-check or wire transfer only.
Once we receive written notification that you are canceling an individual participant or your entire reservation the following fees will apply:
- A fee of $750 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 90 days before departure.
- There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 90 days before your program.
Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.
Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.
Included are the following:
- RMI Leadership
- Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
- All park entrance fees & lift tickets as indicated in the itinerary
- All group transportation in country as indicated in the itinerary
- All group cooking, camping, and climbing equipment
Not included are the following:
- International airfare
- Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Rest day activities
- Bottled water and personal drinks
- Customary guide gratuities
- Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
- Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
- Transfer from the hotel in Pucon to the airport for outbound flights
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
* Single Travelers: If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate. If you wish to stay alone, a supplemental fee will be charged for a single room.
Managing risk is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:
- is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber’s own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
- honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.
Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions
In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines and restrictions on all climbing programs, domestic and international.
- Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
- Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
- Ages 18 & above: No restrictions
An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.
Accompaniment by parent or legal guardian is required for the program or climb.
Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.
RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.
Any Participant under the age of 18 must be accompanied on the trip by a parent or legal guardian and both the Participant and parent or legal guardian must sign all forms.
RMI's program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.
RMI recommends and strongly advises that the Participant have or purchase personal life, medical, accident, travel, baggage, trip cancellation, and other insurance that may pertain to participation in the program. The Participant understands that RMI provides no such insurance coverage in connection with the trip.