Patagonian Ice Field 8-day guided expedition

Enjoy one of the most stunning and breathtaking expeditions in Patagonia: an 8-day trip to the Patagonian Ice Field. Do it with local IFMGA guide Manuel.

 
 

Details

 

Trip Duration

8 days

Mountain Range

Andes

People per Guide

3 people

Trip Level

Intermediate

Offer Period

Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov, Dec

Type of Trip

Not specified

Highlights

 
     

    The Patagonian Ice Field is a large area of continental ice on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is the 3rd largest expanse of ice in the planet, after Antarctica and Greenland. At the same time, it is also the largest of all ice fields located in non-polar continental area with land access.

    I think that it’s a place that you have to visit at least once in your life. Specially if you love winter adventures. That is why I have planned an amazing 8-day expedition during which I’ll guide you trough this impressive and imposing ice field.

    As for the itinerary we’ll meet up at El Chaltén from where we’ll start a trek to the base of the Marconi Glacier. We will then cross the Marconi Pass which, along with the homonymous glacier, is one of the accesses to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

    By day 4 we’ll be arriving at Circo de los Altares. From here we must continue to the Paso del Viento Hut. And once we cross the Paso del Viento mountain pass we’ll be in front of the stunning Patagonian Ice Field enjoying such a majestic view and celebrating our goal. We’ll return to El Chaltén on day 7.

    Please find a more complete itinerary at the end of this description. This expedition includes a back up day and a resting day to be used according to weather conditions. We may spend some of these days in the camp “La Playita” before entering the ice field.

    Remember that I can guide a group of 3 people. All participants must have an excellent fitness level and feel comfortable using crampons. You’ll also have to carry your own backpack with the personal and group equipment.

    So if you’re ready to live an unforgettable experience in El Chaltén contact me now and make your reservation. I have no doubt that you and your friends will fall in love with such an imposing white landscape!

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    Price per person, per day

     
    Group of 1
    6930 USD

    Group of 2
    3465 USD

    Group of 3
    2310 USD

     

    Price includes

     
    • Guiding fee
    • Accommodation
    • Transport during the trip
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
     

    Itinerary

     
    • Day 0Meeting in El Chaltén

      Meeting in El Chaltén, located at the foot of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. We’ll have the equipment checked, making sure we have everything we’ll need. We will then have a brief talk to explain the characteristics of the region and the most important details to take into account during the expedition. We’ll check in at our Hotel / Hostel and meet for a group dinner. Lamb roasted with a good wine will be the menu.

    • Day 1Electrico River - Marconi Glacier

      Private transfer to the Bridge of the Electrico River that will be our starting point for our first day of trekking to the base of the Marconi Glacier. For the first 2 hours we’ll walk along a well marked path that follows the Electrico River through a forest of Ñires and Lengas. At the end of the vegetation we will find the Piedra del Fraile Camp, which will be our last contact with the civilization until arriving at El Chaltén at the end of the expedition.

      There we will leave the vegetation behind and a wide glacial valley will open in front of us to let us see the Cerro Treinta Aniversario and the Marconi’s North and South. From Piedra del Fraile we will skirt the Eléctrico Lake by its southern bank crossing glacier moraines and rock formations eroded and abandoned by the Marconi Glacier. Less than two hours away we will have to follow the Pollone River from where we can observe one of the highest walls of Mount Fitz Roy. One more hour of walk will take us to the West bank of the Electrico Lake where we will set up camp only 20 minutes from the Marconi Glacier, which we can visit after a well deserved rest. All meals included. Total walking time: 6 hours. Distance: 12 Km. Altitude change: 80 m.

    • Day 2Marconi Pass

      Today is an important day. The Marconi Glacier and the Marconi Pass are the accesses to the Patagonian Ice. The majority of the winds come from the west or north and when arriving at this pass they are accelerated by the “bottleneck” effect. We will get up early, have breakfast, disarm the camp and leave. Depending on ice conditions we will take one route or the other to climb the Marconi Glacier. If we go to the Laguna de los 14, we will cross a fairly large river with zip lines. Once on the Marconi Glacier, we will find a combination of ice and rock. Now we must put the harnesses and crampons on and use ropes. After a section of 35 to 40 degrees of snow or ice plus an hour of walk, we’ll arrive at the Marconi Pass. The landscape takes our breath away. We’ll appreciate the Kolliker, Gaea, Mariano Moreno and the Lautaro Volcano. From the camp we will see the sunset and sunrise on the walls of Fitz Roy, the Super Canaleta, Cerro Pier Giorgio and Gorra Blanca. We will eat and go to sleep. All meals included. Walking time: 7 to 9 hours. Distance: 10 km. Altitude change: + 900 mts.

    • Day 3Circo de los Altares

      We packed the equipment to continue heading south. Our next destination will be Circo de los Altares. We will camp at the entrance of that circus. Only those who come here and luckily have good weather can appreciate this indescribable landscape. We will spend a little time building ice walls to protect our camp from the prevailing north and west winds.

    • Day 4Extra Day

      Depending on the weather and physical condition of the group, we may stay one more night in this camp. We will take the day to walk the heart of the Circo de los Altares. We will reach the foot of Filo Rosso where Casimiro Ferrari together with others, set up his camp to ascend the Cerro Torre’s west face for the first time in 1974. We will return to our camp by mid-afternoon.

    • Day 5Paso del Viento Hut

      Today we will walk on snow, ice, rock and grass! We’ll leave from the Circus to the Paso del Viento Hut, a beautiful refuge used by the National Institute of the Patagonian Continental Ice to carry out its investigations. We will continue our walk passing the bivouac Ferrari (a possible intermediate camp if the group is very tired). The Mascarello range, which is located inside the Los Glaciares National Park, will accompany us throughout our day. One more hour and we will reach the mountain hut. We’ll use it only to cook and eat in case of bad weather. We will sleep in our tents. Distance: 20 km. Altitude change: -250 m and + 250 m at the end of the day.

    • Day 6Paso del Viento - Patagonian Ice Field

      After breakfast we will leave for Paso del Viento. When we get there we will contemplate the Continental Ice Field and one of the most impressive views of Patagonia. After capturing this beautiful landscape we will start our descent to Laguna Toro (900 m of elevation gain). We will cross the Tunnel River, wading or using the zipline. A half hour more and we will arrive at Camp Laguna Toro where we will spend the night. Distance: 5 km. Altitude change: +400 m and -900 m.

    • Day 7Back to El Chaltén

      Return to El Chaltén following the Tunnel River until we begin our ascent of 500 meters towards the Pampa de las Carretas. We’ll pass a large section of burned forest. After that we will have lunch, enjoying these beautiful granite needles. Finally, we’ll continue our descent towards El Chaltén, where we can see it from above in the last section. A small stop in the visitor center of Los Glaciares National Park and then to our hostel / hotel / hostel to enjoy a well-deserved shower. We’ll meet for dinner. Distance: 14 km. Altitude change: +500 m and -500 m.

    • Day 8Back up day

      In case of bad weather.

     
     

    Other details

     
    Skill level required

    Intermediate

    Fitness level required

    Fit

    Meeting point

    El Chaltén. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to El Chaltén. The easiest way to get there is flying from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. For those who come from other points I also recommend getting to El Calafate and from there, take the bus to El Chaltén. From day 1 to the end of the expedition, all the transfers mentioned in the itinerary are included.

    Accommodation

    In tents

     

    About the Guide

     
     

    UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide from Argentina

    Based in El Chaltén, south Patagonia, since 2000. I was the first guide to complete the AAGM (Argentine Mountain Guides Association) complete training platform.

    I did the first Argentinean guided ascent of Mt. Fitz Roy via Supercolouir route (la Supercanaleta). I have guided Aguja Guillaumet more than 25 times. I also guided Aconcagua, Alpamayo (Peru), Matterhorn (Switzerland), Mont Blanc, Dent du Geant (France), The Rockies & The Bugaboos (Canada), Torres del Paine (Chile), among others.

    I am also member of El Chaltén Search and Rescue team. I have several WFR certificates with different schools such as NOLS & Fundacion Ecomed.

    I speak Spanish, English and French fluently

    My biggest passion is Alpine Rock climbing & Ski Mountaineering. Get in touch with me if you are interested in discovering the unique spots in the Fitz Roy massif, and other gems around El Chaltén! I work together with a group of guides, so if I'm not available when requested, one of my colleagues will guide you.

     
     

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    What People are Saying about Manuel Quiroga

     

    Manuel was very knowledgeable and worked with me with what I wanted to climb and learn. With his help, I climbed my first multi-pitch route! Would definitely recommend!
    Read review
    Preetha Naidu
    A big thanks to Merlin for organizing and guiding two unforgettable ascents during my trip to el Chalten! Merlin was very responsive and helpful ahead of the trip, sending me route ideas and answering all sorts of gear questions of a Patagonia novice! During the ascents themselves Merlin was extremely professional, helpful... and great fun! (and he always arranged delicious packed lunches for Day1 :)) I would totally recommend Merlin for any mountaineering ascents in Patagonia, in the Alps or anywhere else! I felt safe at all times and had an unforgettable time!
    Read review
    Sara S
     

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