After spending the afternoon at the glacier, we began the descent to our campsite; despite the chilly temperatures in the shaded areas, in the sunlit places it was still quite warm, and the sight of the lagoon, half a kilometre below us, was glorious. We had crampons on, and started a swift but relaxed walk down to the lower lands with the Morado peak getting gradually orange and red at our left.
Taken with Nikon FM2,Nikkor 80-200 mm.,1/250 sec.,f.5,6-8, Kodak ProImage 100 print film.
There are no restaurants nor lodging in the monument itself, which is inside a CONAF-managed area, but in Baños Morales –the town at which buses and vans arrive, 300 metres from ranger’s office- several guesthouses and rustic restaurants can be found, and at quite reasonable prices.
CONAF entrance fees are $ 1500 (US$ 2) per person, valid for a 2-day stay; longer stays are allowed, paying the corresponding accumulated fees when leaving the park. Foreigners pay the same as Chileans.
The best season for general visits is from late November to late March; outside these dates, snow and ice are abundant (snow was so deep in 2002 that the lagoon itself was impossible to find), there is danger of landslides in springtime, and temperatures by daytime are below freezing; in spite of that, mountaineers –me included- keep visiting it all the year round to enjoy winter conditions and do fine ice climbing.
GPS fixes in this (and all) chapter are on geographical co-ordinates, and on WGS 84 datum.