Southern Ice Field
The South Patagonian Ice field forms the larger part of the Patagonian Icecap. It stretches over 3 National Parks including Los Glaciares, Bernado O’Higgins and Torres del Paine. It covers 16,800 square kilometres and feeds numerous glaciers in the region including the world-famous Perito Moreno glacier.
Due to its size, there are still areas of the Southern Ice field that remain unexplored. To this day, the Southern Ice field remains a border issue between Chile and Argentina.
It is possible to visit the glacier via a number of different routes starting in El Chalten or Torres del Paine. You’ll typically head onto the ice field via the Marconi Pass or Paso del Viento.
Key landmarks include the Circo de los Altares (huge natural amphitheatre at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy), Volcan Lauturo, Gorra Blance to the north, and Cerro Moreno to the west.
As the Southern Ice field is more accessible than its smaller sister, you can join a taster trip of just 1 or 2 days trekking on the ice. You can also opt to join longer expeditions upwards of 8 days by ski touring, which allow you to summit several of the peaks mentioned above.
Northern Ice Field
The North Patagonia Ice field forms the smaller part of the Patagonian Icecap. It defines the huge Laguna San Rafael National Park in the Aysen region of Chile. It covers 4,200 square kilometres and feeds 28 exit glaciers including San Rafael and Neff.
This extensive ice sheet covered much of Patagonia just over a million years ago. Despite retreat, it survives due to its elevation of between 1,100m - 1,500m and a moist marine climate.
Expeditions crossing the entire glacier are few and far between but there are some accessible trekking routes focusing on the area around the Neff and Colonia glaciers due to their low elevation. They have experienced rapid thinning and retreat, and thus give a great opportunity to view climate change in real time.
The Northern Ice Field is a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve so if you decide to visit here you will be exposed to a wilderness that few people have ever seen.
Most people focus on two day hikes and the views of Laguna Torre and Los Tres but there's a chance, if you're really hardcore, to get out onto the icecap itself and see Fitz Roy from the back.
Harriet Pike Swoop Expert
Trips to the Southern Ice Field
Trek out onto the South Patagonian IceCap, via the Marconi Pass, with a local operator who specialises in trekking and mountaineering in Patagonia. You'll spend 3 to 4 days on the IceCap itself, be working with ice-axe and crampons and…
Hike out onto the Southern Ice Cap and spend 3 days trekking and living on the ice, with a local specialist. You'll take in a 360 degree perspective of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro…
Trek across the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap over 6-9 days with a local mountaineering operator based in El Chalten. You'll be supported and led by an expert guide and their assistant. This is a very challenging but rewarding expedition trekking…
An expedition for experienced ski tourers who want to witness the remote and wild Patagonian Ice Cap and push themselves in a wilderness setting. A choice of three different itineraries gives you the chance to tailor the trip to your…
You'll spend 11 days on the IceCap, covering over 90km, and will attempt to climb the remote Cerro Moreno (at 3,505m). This is one for adventurers with some previous experience on the snow and…
Trips to the Northern Ice Field
Spend 13 days on the North Patagonian Ice Cap, exploring the Neff glacier, skiing to the base of the highest mountain in Patagonia (San Valentin (4,058m)), and climbing Cerro Largo. Run by a mountaineering operator who specialises in the Andes…
The proximity of this trek to the glaciers of the Northern Ice Cap, the variety of landscapes you will see means the Aysen Glacier Trail (AGT) is regularly named one of the Greatest treks on the…
What Our Customers Think
It is a unique and very special experience due to the vastness and remoteness of the ice field. It feels like visiting another planet. A yet unspoiled wilderness which is challenging but also very much rewarding.
Danny November 2015