Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition: Argentina mountaineering

Venture into the remote wilderness on a Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition including Argentina mountaineering, camping and other adventures


This is an unforgettable and challenging opportunity for experienced long-distance trekkers looking for an expedition-style adventure with some Argentina mountaineering.

The Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition essentially completes a loop around the Fitz Roy mountain chain, allowing you to visit the back-side of these famous mountains and camp in what is arguably one of the most beautiful places in all of Patagonia. Challenge yourself by carrying a heavy backpack up steep climbs, learn about the technical aspects of glacier hiking (no previous knowledge required), and pit your endurance against potentially extreme weather conditions as you explore the stunning landscapes in this wild corner of the planet.

-Learn about different rope configurations and other technical aspects of hiking on a glacier on an extended traverse of the icefield with crampons
-Enjoy an unparalleled view of the world’s 3rd-largest icefield and the back-side of the Fitz Roy mountain range
-Challenge yourself with an intense, expedition-style itinerary

Price Includes

  • Bilingual Mountain guide (English/Spanish)
  • Additional assistant guide for every 3 participants to increase safety
  • Transport from El Chaltén to the bridge over the Río Eléctrico
  • Required permits
  • Camping and technical equipment (expedition tent, harness, crampons, snowshoes, ropes, etc)
  • All food during the trek (7 breakfasts, 8 box lunches, 7 dinners) as well as snacks
  • Additional food delivered by our porters to the Paso del Viento camp or Laguna Toro camp
  • Emergency VHF/Satellite communication

Price Excludes

  1. Transfer from and to El Calafate to El Chaltén
  2. Accommodation in El Calafate and El Chaltén
  3. Personal travel insurance
  4. Tips
  5. Food outside of what is stated in the included section
  6. Porters
  7. Personal equipment

What to expect

Category: Expedition.
Participants require trekking and camping experience (wild camps), must have their own high-quality equipment, and be in good physical condition. Each person must carry their own backpack, half of an expedition-style tent, sleeping system, and their portion of the food that will be consumed. Ideally, they should also know how to use technical equipment such as crampons, harnesses and snowshoes.

Itinerary for Argentina mountaineering adventure:

-Day 1 - Arrival in El Chaltén, information and gear check

Today is about getting organized in advance of our Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition. During the afternoon, you will meet your fellow expeditioners and your mountain guide who will go through the details of the trip, talk about technical and safety aspects of the expedition, and answer any questions you may have. We will also do an equipment check and make sure your backpack is adjusted correctly so that you will be as comfortable as possible on the journey.

-Day 2 - Río Eléctrico - Piedra del Fraile - Glaciar Marconi

From El Chaltén, we begin our journey by driving ~40 minutes to the bridge over the Río Eléctrico (Electric River). Our hike is initially quite flat and weaves along a trail through the gorgeous trees as it follows the river through the forest of the Río Eléctrico valley. We will stop for a brief rest at the Piedra del Fraile campsite and then continue our hike into a terrain that is vastly different to what we just traversed.

From here, we enter a glacial environment that is far more open and offers magnificent views of Cerro Fitz Roy and the Polone spire. This is where the challenges begin. After fording the Pollone river and crossing the Upper Río Eléctrico via zipline, we will start to ascend steeply to find our campsite on the way to the Marconi Pass.

Distance: 19km +550m
Duration: 8/9 hours
Physical Intensity: moderate to intense
Included: Transfer to the Río Eléctrico bridge, 1 night wild camp, with boxed lunch and dinner

-Day 3 - Glaciar Marconi - Chilean Hut

There’s no denying it - today is a tough day, but one with incredible views at every turn. The weather will play a key role in our almost vertical ascent as we climb very steeply to gain access to the glacier and icefield. Once we connect with the ice, we will rope together and put on our crampons to ascend towards the icefield itself and the border between Argentina and Chile.

Once we reach the plateau, we see the vast southern icefield stretched out before us and different groups of mountains that can only be seen from this vantage point. We make our way carefully across the cracks and crevasses that are typical of the icefield until we reach the Chilean hut at the base of Cerro Gorra Blanca. The views from the slightly elevated location of the hut are truly incredible.

Distance: 9.5km +500m
Duration: 6 hours
Physical Intensity: intense
Included: 1 night in the Chilean hut, with breakfast, boxed lunch and dinner

-Day 4 - Chilean Hut - Circo de los Altares

Today we begin our trek down the back-side of the Fitz Roy mountain range along the South Patagonian Icefield. We descend from the Chilean hut for a few kilometers until we arrive at the northern end of the Marconi hill. From here - the ice is fairly flat for the rest of our hike, but there will be some negotiation of cracks and crevasses as we make our way South.

Our objective - one of the most beautiful campsites in all of Patagonia at the Circo de los Altares. Nestled at the base of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, we will have soaring mountain views on the one side and the impressive expanse of the icefield on the other. Let’s hope that the weather cooperates and we can enjoy the full beauty of this spectacular place!

Distance: 11km -250m
Duration: 6 hours
Physical Intensity: moderate
Included: 1 night wild camping, with breakfast, boxed lunch and dinner

-Day 5 - Circo de los Altares - Paso del Viento hut

We recommend waking up early to watch the sun rise behind Cerro Torre - an unforgettable experience on this Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition.

After breakfast, we will break camp, rope together again, and continue our journey down the back side of the Fitz Roy range towards the Paso del Viento. It is a long day where we will likely be confronted with many obstacles, including crevasses, small lagoons, very unstable terrain and huge moraines that we will have to climb up and over - all part of the Argentina mountaineering experience.

Although we lose 150m in altitude today, there is still a lot of climbing involved between the start and the end, and the wind coming down the icefield at our back can be extremely strong.

Once we leave the icefield and start traversing the moraines, we will see how immensely powerful glaciers are at transforming the geography around them. We will also, unfortunately, get a sense for how much they have been impacted by climate change and the extent of their retreat.

We will set up our camp near the Ferrari lagoon, just below the Paso del Viento.

Distance: 16km -150m
Duration: 8 hours
Physical Intensity: intense
Included: 1 night wild camping, with breakfast, boxed lunch and dinner

-Day 6 - Paso del Viento - Valle del Río Túnel - Glaciar Túnel - Laguna Toro

From our camp, we climb a clear but fairly steep trail to the Paso del Viento. At the top, we will take in our last views of the Icefield on the one side and enjoy the spectacular vista over the valley and Túnel Glaciers, and all the way down to Laguna Toro (Bull Lagoon) and the Río Túnel on the other. It is in this direction that we now head.

Our descent takes us between huge glacial moraines, across the Lower Túnel Glacier, and through a landscape of stones and stunted vegetation to a zipline set up over the raging Río Túnel. This is our last obstacle of the day, as we finish our hike on the shores of the Laguna Toro.

Distance: 11km +450m / -850m
Duration: 7 hours
Physical Intensity: moderate
Included: 1 night wild camping, with breakfast, boxed lunch and dinner

-Day 7 - Laguna Toro - Loma del Pliegue Tumbado - El Chaltén

Our last day of this Argentina mountaineering expedition takes us along one of the least visited trails in the park. We start out by hiking through the Río Túnel Valley and then slowly ascend in the direction of the Loma del Pliegue Tumbado. Along the way, we will enjoy beautiful views of Viedma lake, and every break in the forest will reward us with glimpses of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

Once we arrive at the viewpoint, we will have an uninterrupted vista of the Fitz Roy river valley, Cerro Fitz Roy, and Cerro Torre with Glacier Grande spilling down to its base. We will linger here for as long as the weather allows before beginning our final descent towards El Chaltén and a well-deserved shower.

Distance: 16km +450m / -600m
Duration: 6 hours
Physical Intensity: moderate
Included: Breakfast and boxed lunch.

-Extra Days 8
If adverse weather conditions mean that we are unable to complete the expedition in the first 6 days, these extra days will be used. Under favourable conditions, these days will be spent resting or exploring the area around Paso Marconi, the Chilean Hut, the Circo de los Altares, or the Paso del Viento.

Notes or Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition:
-No prior technical knowledge is required, but you should have long-distance hiking experience and a very high level of fitness
-We must carry all the equipment with us. You will carry your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, part of a shared tent, your bag of snacks (included) that should last the duration of the trek, and a share of the food for the group. This means your backpack may weigh between 18 - 21kg - depending on the lightness of your personal gear.
-Depending on weather conditions, days may last up to 10 hours.
-On days that we camp, we must set up and pack up camp each day. You should be willing to collaborate as part of a team
-The timing for lunch is flexible as the guide will always look for a sheltered lunch spot out of the wind.
-The guides will prepare breakfast and dinner at the beginning and end of each day.


Southern Patagonian Icefield expedition: Argentina mountaineering: From $1,950 to $2,110 for 8 days

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$1,950 to 2,110 8 days
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