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12-day Ski touring in southern Patagonia: Cerro Castillo (Coyhaique, Chile) & El Chaltén, Argentina

ski tour
ski tour
ski tour
ski tour
ski tour

Enjoy ski touring in southern Patagonia and discover the pristine snow terrain in Cerro Castillo and El Chaltén on this 12-day program led by AAGM mountain guide Merlín.

Private and Group


11 Days

Aug, Sep, Oct




  • Have a wonderful time ski touring in southern Patagonia.
  • Discover the remote areas around Cerro Castillo and El Chaltén.
  • Contemplate incredible views of the lakes, glaciers and peaks in the Andes.


Follow me on this 12-day adventure in Cerro Castillo and El Chaltén and enjoy ski touring in southern Patagonia.

Situated in the Aysén region of Chile, Cerro Castillo is a mountain in the Andes range and a wonderful destination to enjoy ski touring and backcountry skiing.  The base for our runs in this area will be the new Cerro Castillo Refuge,  in the small Cerro Castillo Village.

On a long but very scenic day of driving, we’ll cross the border from Cerro Castillo Village to El Chaltén, mostly through the famous “40 road”. In El Chaltén, in the Argentinean province of Santa Cruz, we can enjoy climbing and skiing while admiring incredible views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers.

The following are some of the skiing possibilities: Loma del Diablo, Cerro Vespignani, Cerro Crestón or Cerro Madsen. These are very remote and seldom visited places from where we can contemplate Fitz Roy and the surrounding glaciers.

For a more detailed description of each day's activities, take a look below. However, consider that this is only a guide. The itinerary might vary due to weather or snow conditions.

Please, keep in mind that it’s mandatory for this program to have ski touring experience and a very good level of fitness. To approach the skiing area, we’ll need to carry our skis with us.

So, does this ski touring adventure in southern Patagonia sound exciting? Then don’t hesitate to send the request and make your reservation for this trip. You won’t regret your choice!

Looking for a shorter program? Then check out this 4-day ski touring trip that I lead in El Chaltén.

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transport during the trip

- Group porters

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

Price details

Not included: flights, personal equipment, personal insurance, restaurant meals, drinks, tips, any service not specified.


Day 1: Arrival - Cerro Castillo Village

On day 1, we’ll meet at Coyhaique Airport and drive to Cerro Castillo Village. We’ll have a brief on the lodge and check the equipment.

Day 2: Portezuelo Ibáñez

On our first day of skiing, we’ll drive to “Portezuelo Ibáñez” and explore different valleys. If the conditions are good, we’ll make 2-3 ski runs during the day.

Accommodation: Cerro Castillo Village.

Day 3: Camp Neozelandés in Cerro Castillo

On day 3, we’ll carry our personal equipment and the porters will
carry the camping equipment and food, to help us on the approach Camp Neozelandés in Cerro Castillo. This will take around 3-4 hs. Optional skiing in the afternoon.

Day 4: Skiing in Cerro Castillo

There will be several ski options according to weather and snow conditions. We’ll enjoy a full day of skiing in Cerro Castillo.

Night in Camp Neozelandés.

Day 5: Cerro Castillo Village

On day 5, we’ll have the possibility to enjoy ski touring in the morning and then head back to Cerro Castillo Village in the afternoon.

Lodging at Cerro Castillo Village.

Day 6: Driving day

This will be a long day on the road. The route goes along the Buenos Aires Lake and then through the historical “40 Road”.

Driving time: 12-14hs.

Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 7: Loma del Diablo

Our morning will begin with a drive to Mosquito Creek and then we’ll hike carrying the skis to the starting point. We will enjoy skiing in “Loma del Diablo” (1,800 meters).

Vertical gain: 1200 meters.

Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 8: Huemul Glacier - Cerro Vespignani

We’ll drive to Lago del Desierto (1,5 hours) and hike to Laguna Huemul to approach the base of Huemul Glacier ( 1 to 1,5 hours). With our skins on, we’ll go to Cerro Vespignani (2,146 meters). This descent will be fantastic, with breathtaking views surrounding us.

Vertical gain: 1,500 meters.
Lodging at El Chaltén.

Day 9: Glacier de los Tres

On this day, we’ll drive to “El Pilar” and start the approach to Fitz Roy Basecamp (3 hours). After setting
camp, we’ll carry our skis across steep rocky terrain to Laguna de los Tres. Then, we’ll cross a frozen lake and enjoy skiing in Glacier de los Tres, the closest you can get to Fitz Roy Mountain!

Night at Camp Poincenot.

Day 10: Cerro Madsen

After breakfast, we´ll return to Laguna de Los Tres, and skin up Cerro Madsen (1,806 meters), where we’ll get to see fantastic views of the Piedras Blancas Glacier. Back to the camp and hike back to El Chaltén.

Vertical Gain: 1,000 meters.

Farewell dinner with a good “Asado” (traditional barbecue).

Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 11: Departure

Transfer to El Calafate Airport. End of the services.




Cerro Castillo Village, Camp Neozelandés

More info

EQUIPMENT LIST: - Backpacks 30 and 50 liters - Sleeping Bag and sleeping mattress (Therm-a-Rest recommended) - Headlamp - Water bottle and small thermos flask - Trekking shoes - Merino or synthetic base layers - Mid layer fleece and Windstopper - Down or synthetic hooded jacket - 2 pairs of gloves - Warm hut and buff - Extra socks - Waterproof pants and Jacket (Gore-Tex) - Lens and goggles - Sunblock and lip protection - Ski touring set: Skis, skins, boots, ski crampons, collapsible poles. - Crampons and Ice Axe - Harness and Helmet - Safety avalanche set: Shovel, beacon, probe

NOTE: If you need to rent some of these items, please let us know in advance.

Meeting point

Coyhaique Airport.

About the guide

Certified UIAGM-IFMGA Mountain Guide from Argentina.

I live in El Chaltén since 1998. I'm originally from Bariloche and I started with mountain activities when I was 15 years old. I've done climbing and ascents in many mountains of Patagonia, Perú, Bolivia, United States and Europe; such as Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, Alpamayo, El Capitán, Mont Blanc and Aconcagua among others. I'm also a Ski Instructor and I am passionate for backcountry ski.

I speak fluent English, Italian and French and have been leading trips and expeditions for more than 20 years. I work together with a group of guides, so if I'm not available for the trip you request, one of my colleagues will guide you!


Italian | French | English



What people are saying about Merlín Lipshitz

Matthew Weiss


September, 2023

Trip of a lifetime! Merlin is great the setting is spectacular and we were blessed with perfect snow and bluebird skies. Couldn't ask for more.

Nash Smoll


September, 2023

Merlin is the man!! He made sure we got the most out of our week ski touring in El Chalten. Very memorable experience

David Milton


March, 2023

Our Guiide was Sebastian and I couldn’t recommend him high enough . He’s very personable. Knowledgeable, professional , well prepared and a pleasure to be with .

Marcial Manzano


March, 2023

Had an amazing experience climbing Mojon Rojo with Merlin. This was my first mountaineering experience and he made sure I was comfortable and safe the whole journey. He really knows his stuff both technically and about the area. If you're considering doing something like this, can't go wrong with Merlin.

Jonathan Campos


February, 2023

Had a great time climbing with el Chalten and fitz roy in the background. Merlin was very knowledgeable and made sure we stayed safe. Had great conversations as well.

Stephanie Krzyzewski


February, 2023

Merlín is an awesome guide, can’t recommend him enough. He’s easy going and fun to be around, and his method of route selection was perfect for us. We shared what we were hoping for, and once he was able to assess our skill level, he took us on a route that was right at the edge of both our skill and comfort zone. His intuition about what would be the best experience for us was spot on, and it was our favorite day of climbing we’ve ever had!

Ariana Kim


January, 2023

Juan was wonderful! Though we weren't able to do our first day due to a neck injury he had, he rallied for our second day, and we were so grateful - we checked out some of the most beautiful multi-pitch climbing I've done, with condors soaring ahead...and then did some super fun sport leads after lunch...Juan was kind, knowledgeable, and a total pro. We highly recommend Juan!

Jose Cotrim


December, 2022

It is not an easy trip you must be prepared for what the weather will be at that moment. But once said that is for sure one of the most beautiful places to visit good gear and good guiding is for sure a good start.

Tim Board


November, 2022

Brilliant climb of Cerro Electrico with Merlin! I had actually booked for a 2 day ascent of Mojon Rojo but the weather forecast didn’t allow it. As I couldn’t stay another day Merlin offered the 1 day climb of Cerro Electrico instead. I felt very safe with him all day, he has a vast experience of mountaineering in the region and beyond. I would definitely book with Merlin again.

Sebastian Becker


November, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.



September, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Ben Cynewski


July, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Gülçin Altinok


February, 2022

Everything about this trip was really great. Firstly explore-share was extremely helpful, really responsive. We felt really supported making all the arrangements from Netherlands to Argentina. Thanks for the team for that! In terms of the trip -- this was one of the most special trips we ever had. Huemel circuit is was very special. You start day1 in Patagonian forests and slowly ascend to the more rugged, stoney views of the circuit until you end up in the glaciers (and walk on them!) in day 2. Day 2 is slightly challenging due to the long ascend and walk until the camp. But without being very experienced we were able to do it (also thanks to our amazing guide Luis). We camped in an area only by ourselves, where it snowed overnight, which added to the majestic beauty of the whole trip. Day 3 mainly was descending to the 3rd camp area next to Viedma lake. This was also slightly challenging given the very steep descend in the forest, but despite the challenge it was fun, and was filled with great views. The reward is big, where Viedma lake is awaiting with glacier pieces floating on the lake just in front of you (and sometimes letting go some of it’s pieces). It’s a mesmerising area. And day 4 is going back to the start through next to the lakes, hares and guanakos. slightly easier trek but very peaceful, a nice goodbye to the circuit. We were picked up by a car at the end, arranged by Merlin/Luis. In all days, we were flabbergasted by the ruggedness and beauty of Patagonian mountains, glaciers, forests, lakes and everything we've seen. We were mainly alone in the circuit -- at least in the direction we were doing there was no one else with us. In that sense it was extra special. Our guide Luis was one of the main reasons for why this trip was so special. Very experienced and friendly -- made us feel really comfortable in what we were doing through his guidance on technical moves (e.g. in traverses, when we are descending etc). Also very experienced in the area, knew the circuit step by step - gave us a lot of information on the story of the geography not just like a guide but like a scientist almost (he was full of knowledge for this space). It was obvious that he really loves these lands and mountains, it was great to experience this route with him. I never write reviews, but this was a great trip on all levels, and want to make sure anyone who sees the review doesn’t doubt and just goes for it. Thank you Luis, Merlin and explore share - for your friendliness, professionalism and love of nature. You definitely added an incredible memory to our minds. I highly recommend everyone to experience Huemel Circuit with Luis and Merlin. Gulcin and Sebastiaan

Keith Bailey


January, 2022

Emiliano was great. I have traveled all over the world with many trekking guides. He is definitely among the best. Thank you, Emiliano, for a great trip!

Tatsuya Sato


January, 2022

Merlin is a well accomplished climber, and he has shared with me his knowledge abs skills while we were climbing. Climbing Cerro Electrico was very physically demanding, but I had an amazing time climbing with him. I can’t wait to climb other peaks with him again.


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