Rock Climbing Adventures in Patagonia with Manu & Chanchita the Bus
About Manu & Chanchita the Bus: “I am a French Freeskier and used to travel a lot, chasing the snow all around the world.
During a ski trip in South America I fell in love with the Andes and its wilderness, and decided to spend more time over here. I finally found my amazing bus and decided to start a project with the help of my sponsor @factionskis.
La Chanchita is a 1966, 911 Mercedes-Benz bus. It used to be a city bus in Buenos Aires in the sixties before they converted it into a truck. I bought it in 2013 to give her a third life as a motorhome!
It took me a year to do the conversion.
The plan was to use the bus to bring people, mainly adventurers and extreme sports lovers, to discover South America. I wanted it to be totally autonomous, with good insulation for Patagonia’s rougher weather.
Being a skier, I travel a lot during the winter, so I decided to install a wood stove which guarantees a warm and dry interior with a lower cost and definitely more comfort than any other heating system.
I decided to put 12v LEDs for illumination so we have very low consumption and don’t need to be plugged in to 220v. In addition, I have a 12v to 220v converter in case we need to plug in phones or computers. I also installed 2 water tanks. A 350L tank outside under the bus and a 150L inside. So, we can switch from the outside tank to the inside tank when temperatures go down to be sure the water will never get frozen. All the mechanics have been changed for a 1114 Mercedes-Benz engine, with a truck differential as well as high and low gears so we can climb up in the Cordillera de los Andes easily. About the Project South America offers endless possibilities for extreme sports, travelling, photography and filming lovers. But most of the best spots in the Andes are not very easy to access. As opposed to Europe or North America, transportation is not very well organized and some stations offer no tourist accommodation or transport service. That is why I decided to convert a bus into a comfortable motorhome.
With all services on board (sleeps 5, water, electricity, shower, toilet , wood stove) the Chanchita bus is completely autonomous and gives you the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.
Chanchita allows us to explore the best Patagonia has to offer : the wild Carretera Austral, the mystical fjords, impressive volcanoes, relaxing hotsprings, endless lakes and more!
A recent Rock Climbing Adventure in Patagonia:
”We first met Michelle and Estelle at Refugio Frey during a weekend climbing in mid-December. The holidays were quickly approaching & we were all feeling a little out of place in the warm sun of the Southern Hemisphere, far away from the family & traditions that we usually associate with that time of year. Both the climbing & traveling cultures lend themselves to instant, long-lasting friendships. So we decided to set off for another adventure with our new Swiss/French climbing friends.
Just days after our first shared moments in that little mountain hut, we decided to all hop in the Chanchita Bus & take off on a three week long climbing tour of Patagonia. We loaded up the bus with necessary provisions & hit the road, from Bariloche to Valle Encantado, down the long Ruta 40 to Piedra Parada.
For a few of us it was our first holiday season away from home. It looked different than we were accustomed to, but in the simplest & most freeing way. Christmas dinner consisted of tacos in the bus, lit up by bursts of laughter & a mix of languages. No material gifts were exchanged, just time spent doing what we love together. New Years Eve brought an early toast between calloused & tired hands. To start 2019, an open road ahead of us & more routes up new walls.
In those weeks, we disconnected from our technology & our routines. We turned strangers into family & celebrated yearly milestones & new climbing feats together. We reconnected with the process of living authentically & in community. We spent our days climbing, hiking, slack-lining, reading, swimming, & throwing ourselves at the joys of this life. We explored the beauty of Southern Argentina with refreshed eyes. We remembered why we choose this style of life & thanked the universe & each other for the gift of it all.”