After getting my butt kicked on Aconcagua, Phil and I headed south to explore southern Chile and Argentina. I ended up solo’ing Lanin Volcano via the normal route while Phil slept in the shelter since he wasn’t in the mood to slog up Lanin. I had a great solo climb on easy snow in a beautiful setting; no Aconcagua, but a pleasant snow climb to excellent views.
Hard...TR online at my profile.
This is technically an easy and straight-forward peak to summit, but the weather comes in without warning, so it helps to not underestimate the difficultly. The only tricky part is the transportation.
You can't start the hike up to the refugios before 8am (because you need to check in with the park ranger) and you must be on your way by noon. The refugios are often crowded with guided groups so if you have a good tent, bring it. The CAJA refugio is farther, but I like it better because it is usually less crowded. Also the views are amazing and you will have a head start on all the guided groups the next day. Watch out on weekends in the high season. The mountain gets very crowded with guided groups of 30+... lots of loose rock fall and dangerous conditions with that many unexperienced people.
In the high season there are daily buses from Junín de los Andes to Lago Tromen (right near the start of the climb). The high season is roughly (mid-dec through mid-Feb.) The company is called Castelli, and the buses leave Junin at 9am everyday and return at 10:30am.
You can also hitch a ride from an international bus to get back to Junín. These pass around 2pm everyday, except Sun and Mon (Yet I have found that the schedules change constantly, so check at the bus station in Junín or San Martín to be sure.)
The last option is negotiating with a tour operator to take you to the base. If you are willing, it is fairly easy to hitch hike back to Junín and I have found that people love to give rides to climbers and hear your stories of the mountain.