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Patagonia Southern Ice Field Expedition from El Chalten

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Join Alberto, an IFMGA certified guide, on this Southern Patagonian Ice Field expedition. And discover a mystical world of ice near El Chalten.

Group

Andes

8 Days

Jan, Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov, Dec

Fit

Intermediate


Highlights

  • Spend 8 days exploring the amazing Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
  • Contemplate stunning views with peaks and volcanoes in the Andes.

Description

This Southern Patagonian Ice Field expedition from El Chalten will take you to an unknown world of ice and snow.

The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the biggest remnant of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, located south of the Andes, between Argentina and Chile. It's the world's second-largest contiguous extra polar Ice Field.

And in this program, I will take you through the best spots on it. We'll start from El Chalten, a beautiful small town, located at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy, on the Argentinian side of Patagonia.

There are so many amazing features in this adventure that is hard to describe them all. We'll spend a week immersed in a kind of landscape that you've never seen, with panoramic views of great peaks and volcanoes. We'll see lakes and lagoons with indescribable colors.

So join me on this incredible Southern Patagonian Ice Field expedition from El Chalten and discover an incredible Ice World at the end of the world. It’s an experience you will never forget!

And if you're coming to El Chalten and you want to try a different adventure, please check my Fitz Roy Grand Tour: hiking, mountain bike and canoeing or my Loma del Diablo guided snowshoeing tour.

Itinerary

Day 1: ARRIVAL TO EL CHALTÉN

On this day, you will arrive to El Chaltén and you will stay at your hotel.  

In the evening, we will meet with our guide and the rest of the expedition staff. During this briefing, the  guide will explain the technical characteristics of the program and he will introduce us to the magical  Southern Ice Field. There will also be a revision of the personal equipment of each passenger and the  common loads that each person will have to transport all along the itinerary, which includes the food  provided by Fitz Roy Expediciones. 

It is IMPORTANT that the arrival to El Chaltén on this day be early (during the morning) so as to have enough time in the evening in case it is necessary to rent or buy equipment. 

Meals: Not included 

Accommodation: Not included

Day 2: EL CHALTÉN – LA PLAYITA CAMP

After we meet the guide at the hotel, a private transportation will pick us up to take us to the bridge of  the Río Eléctrico (15 km northeast from El Chaltén), which is going to be the departure point of our  expedition. 

We will start trekking to the base of the Glaciar Marconi. The first two hours of the trekking follow the  Río Eléctrico upstream through a thick forest of Ñire and Lenga trees up to Piedra del Fraile Camp.  Crossing the camp, we will enter into a vast glacier valley that will open in front of us to let us see the  Cerros Treinta Aniversario, Marconi Norte and Marconi Sur. 

From Piedra del Fraile we will walk along the southern edge of the Lago Eléctrico by its southern edge,  and in less than two hours walking we will ford the Río Pollone. From here, we will be able to see the  northeast face of the monte Fitz Roy. 

By walking one more hour we will arrive to the west margin of the Lago Eléctrico, where we will set up  our tents in La Playita camp, which is only 30 minutes away from Glaciar Marconi. 

Hiking time: 6:00 hrs 

Distance: 10 km 

Elevation gain: 100 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy)

Day 3: LA PLAYITA CAMP – PASO MARCONI CAMP

We will wake up at first light to have breakfast, to pick up camp and to begin with the hiking day. A 30  minutes walk will lead us to the moraine of the Glaciar Marconi, where the land is unstable and the path  disappears. Once we cross that stretch, we will get on the glacier to gradually ascend the 800 meters of  elevation gain that separates us from Paso Marconi. From there we will have a panoramic view of the 

surrounding mountain range and of the immense continental ice cap field.  

At the end of the day, we will set our camp at the foothills of Cerro Marconi Sur. The almost aerial  position of the campsite will allow us to see the sunset and the sunrise on the walls of the Fitz Roy, the  Super Canaleta, and the Pier Giorgio and Gorra Blanca mountains.  

Depending on the ice conditions, crampons and cords will be used to overcome the cracks or compact  ice steep hills. The Glaciar Marconi creates a funnel effect for the winds that come from the Southern Ice 

 

Field and the Pacific Ocean. At this point, expedition members can experience an added physical and  mental challenge due to the gusts of wind and hail that can pick up in this area. 

Hiking time: 8:00 hrs 

Distance: 9 km 

Elevation gain: 850 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy) 

Day 4: PASO MARCONI CAMP - CIRCO DE LOS ALTARES

Early after breakfast, we will start walking. Our guide and assistant will carry the bulk of the general load  (tents, food, gas, and others) in sleds.  

During the day we will walk over the Southern Ice Field, which will be the magnificent setting of our  journey. And we will be revel in the sights of the Volcán Lautaro (still active), the Mariano Moreno  Mountain Range (almost as high and much more larger than the Fitz Roy), the Cuatro Glaciares pass and  the Glaciar Chico. We will have to use snowshoes if necessary. 

By evening, we will arrive to Circo de los Altares, at the foot of the legendary South Face of the Cerro  Torre, where we will set up our camp. 

Hiking time: 7:00 hrs 

Distance: 13 km 

Elevation gain: 0 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy) 

Day 5: CIRCO DE LOS ALTARES - LAGUNA DE LOS ESQUÍES

During the morning, we will walk to Laguna de los Esquíes over the lateral moraine of the Glaciar Viedma,  which is going to be the place from which we are going to abandon the Southern Ice Field (formally  Glaciar Viedma in this place). 

If the weather and physical conditions allow it, we will continue to Paso Del Viento shelter where we will  spend the night.

 

Hiking time: 8:00 hrs 

Distance: 10 km 

Elevation gain: 100 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy) 

Day 6: LAGUNA DE LOS ESQUÍES - PASO DEL VIENTO - LAGUNA TORO

After a great breakfast, we will start trekking to Paso del Viento, where we will take a rest to contemplate  the magnificent landscape.  

From there, we will descend the 800 meters elevation gain to the Laguna Túnel Superior through a glacier  and altitude rocky ground. We will cross the Rio Túnel through a ford or a zip-line, depending on the  conditions, and we will border the Laguna Toro. Very near from it, will we spend our last camping night  at the Laguna Toro camp. 

Hiking time: 6:00 hrs 

Distance: 10 km 

Elevation gain: 250 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy) 

Day 7: LAGUNA TORO - EL CHALTÉN

We will start walking with the Río Túnel to our right, following the path that will take us back to El  Chaltén, and enjoying the last sights of the Torre and Fitz Roy mountains. End of the services. 

Hiking time: 6:00 hrs 

Distance: 16 km 

Elevation gain: 250 m (maximum elevation gain during the day) 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch 

Accommodation: Not included

Day 8: CONTINGENCY DAY (REST OR WEATHER)

This day will be used in case of adverse weather conditions that prevent us from progressing in the key  steps of our journey. In any other case, we will use it to spend an extra day in Circo de los Altares, to rest  or to camp again in any of the other spots of our program. This will be decided by the guide taking into  account weather conditions and the physical condition of the passengers. 

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner 

Accommodation: Camp (sleeping tent in double occupancy) 

 

Details

Accommodation

Hotel, Camp and huts.

More info

  • Passengers must carry their personal things and part of the overall team. Two helpers are included in this expedition, one in Paso Marconi and other in Paso del Viento. Both portages will transport food and help with the overall team. The porters carry 15 kg each and passengers should carry 18 to 20 kilos per person.

Participants do not need technical experience in the use of crampons or snowshoes. However, we ask for previous experience in camping and multi-day treks. The equipment and food are prepared in function of the expedition. Participants will be self-sufficient in their cooking and need to help set-up of camp with the supervision and help of our staff before and during the expedition.

The hiking times, distances, and elevation gains are tentative. Remember that people will have to carry their own personal equipment, box lunch, and water during all the program routes.

Meeting point

El Chaltén

Photos


Equipment you will need to bring

Other gear: - Mountaineering boots (Boreal Latok or Sportiva Nepal Top (we recommend from experience lighter weight and water-proof materials) - One pair of good quality Gaiters (depending on the season of the year) - Lightweight footwear or sandals (which also serve to ford rivers) - Synthetic mountain stockings, comfortable and adjusted to the foot (3 pairs) - Strong fleece pants, trekking or other synthetic material - Waterproof trousers with side closures (we recommend 3-layer Gore-tex) - Synthetic underwear (polypropylene): two shirts with long sleeves and two pair of leggings or thin inner pants - Polar fleece jacket - Duvet or synthetic jacket for warmth when not hiking - Waterproof Shell jacket with hood (we recommend 3-layer Gore-tex) - Polar fiber balaclava - Polar fiber cap - Glacier sun glasses with UV filter for high solar radiation, Category 4 or 5 - Ski goggles with UV filter - One pair of thin gloves made of synthetic material - One pair of polar gloves or mittens - Cover mittens (We recommend Gore-tex), COMPULSORY - A backpack of 75/85 liters capacity - One pair of trekking or ski poles with snow baskets - Sleeping bag rated -10 C, Duvet or synthetic - Insulating sleeping pad length (we recommend Therm-a-rest brand) - Plastic bottle (if possible, wide mouth, Nalgene type) - One-liter thermos for every two people sharing a tent - Headlamp (with replacement batteries) - Multi-purpose penknife - Mug, bowl, knife, spoon & fork - Sunscreen cream (SPF 50) - Chapstick with sunscreen (SPF 50) - Personal first aid kit with personal medicines - Wide adhesive tape for blisters - Hygiene items reduced to the minimum necessary - Waterproof bags to pack clothes and keep them dry - Photographic equipment reduced to a minimum - Reading/writing material (cut to a minimum)


About the guide

Since 1985 we have been operating the best trekking programs in southern Patagonia. We are always looking for new itineraries, unique expeditions, little known spots, and we offer the highest quality outdoor activities in the area... A good example of this are our classic Ice Field Expeditions that have been running with great success for many years.

Our mountaineering origin made us choose this pristine part of the Andes; Southern Patagonia is a place ruled by immense glaciers, rough weather, and mountains such as Mt Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, a place not to miss.
We hope you join us in one of our programs so our guides can show you what Patagonia is about. We offer the best hotels, lodges and camping arrangements to suit everyone.


What people are saying about Alberto del Castillo


Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 5114 Each

Group of 2

USD 3191 Each

Group of 3

USD 2408 Each

Group of 4

USD 2315 Each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transportation start and back

- Permit and entrance fees

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Group equipment rope

- Group equipment harness

- Group equipment helmet

- Group equipment crampons

- Camping equipment tents

- Camping equipment cooking utensils

Price details

A minimum of 3 clients is required for departure.




 

 

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