El Chaltén

Expedition to Southern Continental Ice Field


The Patagonian Southern Ice Field (locally known as the Continental Patagonian Ice Field) is the third largest ice mass in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland. It is a humongous plateau that is always covered in snow; located at an average altitude of 1500 masl. It is crossed by the Cordillera of the Andes from north to south. It is shared by both Chile and Argentina. This expedition is a 90km trek circling Mounts Fitz Roy and Torre, walking through forests, crossing rivers, walking with crampons and/or snowshoes, living a unique experience: It is without a doubt one of the most exciting treks in the world.

Length: 10 days
Grade of difficulty: Difficult
Experience required: Trekking and camping experience
Group size:: 2 to 6 people
Ratio: 1 guide : 3 Pax


Day 1

Meet the Mountain Guide to go through equipment and final checks. Last chance to rent any equipment that you may need. Go to Gendarmería and go through Immigration as we enter Chile on the Paso Marconi.

  • Overnight in hotel (not included).

Day 2: La Playita

Transfer to the departure point for the expedition – the Eléctrico River Bridge (17 Km from El Chaltén). Trek for 2 hours through a thick forest of lengas until reaching Piedra del Fraile camp ground (private). After a short break, the trek continues along the old glacial valley of the Eléctrico River before crossing the Pollone River.

Having traversed various different rocky terrains over a 3 hour period we arrive at the camp of “La Playita”, on the northern edge of the Eléctrico Lake.

  • Overnight: Tents.
  • Meals: Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
  • Distance: 12 km.
  • Walking time: 6 hours.
  • Elevation change: 50 m.

Day 3: Paso Marconi

Ascent to Paso (Pass) Marconi (1550 masl), the port of entry to the Continental Ice Field. To cross the glacier we will use crampons and depending on the weather conditions we may also use snow shoes and equipment to ensure a high level of security. This is an important day of the expedition as we do need good weather to be able to reach the Pass.

We set camp up at Campamento “Paso Marconi”, where the ice suddenly becomes flat! A fantastic location for great views of the Mounts Fitz Roy, Pier Giorgio and Gorra Blanca. Depending on the weather conditions we may continue on to the Mountain Refuge of Gorra Blanca, located in Chile.

  • Overnight: Tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
  • Distance: 12 km.
  • Walking time: 8 hours.
  • Elevation change: 800 m.

Day 4: Circo de Los Altares

Trek to Campamento “Circo de Los Altares” (Circle of the Altars) (1350 masl); with the possibility of getting close to the West face of the mythical Mount Torre and the fabulous Fitz Roy.

This has to be one of the most impressive views within the National Park Los Glaciares.

  • Overnight: Tents (on ice).
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
  • Distance: 10 Km.
  • Walking time: 5/6 hours.
  • Elevation change: 100 m.

Day 5: Laguna Ferrari, de Los Esquíes or Refugio Paso del Viento

Walk in a southerly direction passing by the Laguna de Los Esquíes and then turn due east either to Laguna Ferrari or to Refugio Paso del Viento, to set up camp for the night (where we go depends on the group and weather conditions). Walking today will be on a rocky terrain on the lateral moraine of Viedma Glacier.

  • Overnight: Tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and Dinner.
  • Distance: 20 Km.
  • Walking time: 8/10 hours.
  • Elevation change: 500 mts.

Day 6: Laguna Toro

Today we climb up to Paso del Viento (Windy Pass) (1550 masl), and then descend the valley of the Túnel River until we reach Laguna Toro.

This is an excellent spot for a panoramic view of the Mariano Moreno range and Viedma glacier. The terrain will be rocky, crossing various moraines and part of Túnel glacier. We will also have to cross Túnel River.

  • Overnight: Tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and Dinner.
  • Distance: 8 Km.
  • Walking time: 6/8 hours.
  • Elevation change: 500 mts.
  • Programme details
  • Requirements:
  • Excellent level of fitness and willing to carry a rucksack of about 20/25 Kg.
  • Experience in trekking and camping.
  • A proactive attitude and a team spirit.
  • No technical experience is necessary.
  • You will need your passport for immigration.
  • You will need to fill in our Medical questionnaire prior to the expedition.
  • Includes:
  • Mountain guide (AAGM/EPGAMT – APN) (Ratio 3:1).
  • Assistant guide/porter.
  • Technical mountain equipment.
  • Group camping and cooking equipment.
  • All meals throughout the expedition (*)
  • Transfers from El Chaltén to Río Eléctrico.
  • Entrance to private property (Piedra del Fraile).
  • Tourist Activities Permit (Los Glaciares National Park).
  • Doesn't include:
  • Personal kit (see suggested personal kit).
  • Additional porters.
  • Alcoholic or fizzy drinks.
  • Insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Accommodation in El Chaltén.
  • Any service not specified in the programme.
  • Equipment and logistics:
  • All technical, safety and camping equipment will be provided.
  • Transport coordinated by Walk Patagonia.
  • Any missing equipment can be hired in El Chaltén
  • All meals are provided during the expedition (*).
  • A client can hire a porter to take up to 15 Kg of equipment (personal or group).
  • We have digital cameras, GPs, VHF and walky talkys available for rent.
  • Equipment provided:
  • Expeditions tents.
  • Cooking equipment and fuel.
  • Snow shoes.
  • Crampons.
  • Harnesses.
  • Ropes, carabiners and safety equipment.
  • Snow shovels.
  • Sledges.
  • Comprehensive First Aid Kit.
  • VHF radio
  • GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • SPOT (Beacon/Satellite Messaging)
  • Satellite phone
  • Recommended personal kit:
  • Head:
  • Warm hat.
  • Cap for the sun.
  • Buff (or similar) for the neck.
  • Body:
  • Short sleeved T-shirts (synthetic).
  • Long sleeved tops (synthetic).
  • Fleece.
  • Waterproof jacket with hood (e.g. Gore-Tex).
  • Legs:
  • Thermal trousers (synthetic).
  • Trekking trousers – convertibles are the best.
  • Waterproof trousers (e.g. Gore-Tex or Ultrex).
  • Hands:
  • Warm gloves.
  • Waterproof gloves.
  • Feet:
  • Plastic expedition boots (e.g. Koflach) or mountaineering boots.
  • Trekking boots (lightweight).
  • Walking sandals or footwear for wading.
  • 2 pairs thick socks (synthetic).
  • Gaiters
  • General kit:
  • 90 litre back pack
  • Expedition sleeping bag (-18ºC /0ºF). 800 g (Down would be the best).
  • Bed mat (e.g. Therma-rest).
  • Telescopic walking poles.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter (and a spare pair or goggles – ski style).
  • Sun block and lip protection (SPF 60).
  • 1 l Water bottle (e.g. Nalgene).
  • Wide adhesive tape/ anti-blister kit.
  • Small toilet bag.
  • Swiss Army Knife.
  • Head torch (with spare batteries).
  • Toilet paper.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Ipod, small book, camera, etc.
  • Weather:
  • The climate in this area is very unstable and unpredictable. Therefore a certain amount of flexibility must be permitted in the proposed programme. Two extra days are available in the programme in order to carry out the expedition.
  • Any change to the programme, for the security of the group, will be the indisputable decision of the Mountain Guide.
  • General considerations:
  • We recommend that you check that your travel insurance covers mountain activities.
  • The porter or portes provided by Walk Patagonia (from 3 people) can take up to a maximum of 25kg, including their personal equipment. The excess wieight is shared out amongst ALL participants of the expedition. Those that don´t want to carry group equipment can hire an extra porter (for 15kg).
  • Immigration has to be done in El Chaltén in the Gendarmería Nacional Argentina office as part of the expedition takes place in Chile - Paso Marconi to Circo de Los Altares.
  • This programme is a general one, and may suffer small changes by us, Walk Patagonia, or by the client.
  • The reserve days can only be used to recuperate time lost due to bad weather and cannot be used to extend the programme or any other activity not contemplated in this programme
  • Any modification to the programme during the expedition is the Mountain Guide´s final decision.
  • (*) All meals have been calcuated and prepared according to the energy needed for each day of the expedition. Only top quality brands are used and everything has been calcualted by the Nutritionist Lic. Eugenia Sánchez (Mat.Prof.LN-025) exclusively for Walk Patagonia.

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Walk Patagonia - Walk & Trek EVT - Leg. 14504 - Disp. 440.
Tourist Service Provider of trekking and expeditions in Los Glaciares National Park
El Chaltén - Santa Cruz - Patagonia – Argentina
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