Improperly referred to as volcano, it is the highest mountain in Patagonia (4709 m) and the only one in Argentina with glaciers outside the Andes mountain range. Acting as a guardian of the North of Neuquén Province, it is the source of countless tales and legends, and has always been regarded with respect and venerated by the local rural people as “Father Domuyo”.

According to its geology and morphology, the Domuyo is not a volcano, as are the small hills nearby, where remains of lava can be appreciated. In Domuyo, the presence of ferruginous metamorphic schists, gypsum and petrified fish and ammonites account for the fact that –prior to the emergence of the Andes range- this place used to be the bottom of the ocean.

Domuyo Base Camp at 3000 m.a.s-l - Photo: Osvaldo Gagliardi

All the surrounding area acts as a kind of underground pot of boiling water, whose vapour manages to escape through the various hydrothermal manifestations. Research is being carried out in the area, with the objective of exploiting and making better use of the underground steam reservoir for geothermal power generation as well as to boost tourism in the area.

Several translations have been attempted, but splitting the word “Domuyo” into the two Mapuche terms “dumdum” and “nuvun” is probably the most likely to be correct. The fast pronunciation of these two terms merged into Domuyo, meaning “that shakes and grumbles”, accounting for the legends around anger and running away.

Climbers ascending Domuyo Peak - Photo: Osvaldo Gagliardi

Ascents: different agencies and mountain tour guides offer guided ascents to “the Roof of Patagonia”.

Read the Domuyo Legend

What to see in Northern Neuquén