Tag Archives: Southern Patagonian Ice Field

Danny’s Ice Cap Exploration

Danny’s Ice Cap Exploration

As the world’s third largest mass of ice, trekking and living on the Patagonian ice cap is a truly unique experience and a challenge. Danny contacted Swoop in May of last year looking for an experience that took him to the ice field for several days.

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Danny’s trip to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field started with his group leaving El Chalten, entering the ice fields through Paso Marconi and leaving via the Paso del Viento. He travelled there in November, and below are a selection of his incredible photos and some feedback about the adventure he undertook.

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What were the challenges you faced?
My challenge was one of language and communication – I wish the group would have been more mixed with fluent English speakers. Communication with the guides was fine, they were highly experienced and professional, but small talk in the group did not really work well for me, as the group mainly talked in Spanish.

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What were your highlights?
The first day on the ice field, as we had perfect weather conditions. At the end, I think the most important success factor for this expedition is the weather, this Patagonian beast… But we were very lucky, and had some very sunny days.

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What was it like living out on the ice field?
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.

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How does this adventure compare to other skiing and trekking trips you have undertaken?
It is quite different. Most trekking and skiing trips are not in such remote areas, and do not require such specific experience. Additionally, this is not one of those popular destinations like Torres del Paine with thousands of visitors and an established infrastructure, but truly a hidden gem which is rarely visited.

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How did it feel after completing your trip?
That this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I think the only place on earth comparable to this is Antarctica. But even in Antarctica, there would not be the such incredible views on Cerro Torre and the Circo de los Altares.

IMG_1595IMG_1591Would you recommend Swoop to friends, family or colleagues for a trip to Patagonia?
Yes, absolutely.

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To venture out onto the incredible ice fields yourself, get in touch with Swoop.

Ali’s Trek and Ice Hike in Los Glaciares National Park

Ali’s Trek and Ice Hike in Los Glaciares National Park

Ali returned at the end of January from a trek in Los Glaciares National Park, where he hiked in and around El Chalten, exploring the many mountains, glaciers, lakes and valleys around the dramatic Mount Fitz Roy. Here he tells us about his trip and his experience of booking with Swoop and our partners, and shares some fantastic photos and videos!

Ali Habbtar Viedma Glacier from Paso Huemul

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of my ‘Complete Chalten’ trip was seeing the Continental Ice Field and trekking between Paso del Viento and Paso Huemul with very few people and amazing scenery.

Video: Viedma Glacier & the Continental Ice Field

Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina on your trip?

 Not this time, but hopefully next time.

How well did Swoop Patagonia do helping you plan your holiday, and finding the best trip or operator for you?

Swoop did an excellent job, the flexibility in trying to meet my schedule was great and the operator recommendations were fantastic.

Were you well looked after by the operator in El Chalten & their guides on the trip?

Zoe and the crew did an outstanding job in terms of adjusting the trek to get maximum benefit, it helped that I was a one-man group 🙂

The equipment and food provided was great, the hotels recommended and booked were excellent, and the guide, Gaston did an outstanding job- very professional, knowledgeable, and fun to trek with.

Ali Habbtar Snow-covered peace

Was there anything that you wish had happened differently/or not happened at all?

Hopefully next time I’ll be able to plan further in advance without many changes.

Do you have any tips for other people who are planning a trip?

Be ready physically and mentally, and enjoy nature at its best.

Stacey’s Guided Full Circuit Trek in Torres del Paine

Stacey returned in early January from a Full Circuit trek in Torres del Paine National Park. Here she tells us about her experiences on the trek, and in booking with Swoop Patagonia…

‘We seriously couldn’t be happier with the whole thing and how it worked out so thanks so much.’

How was your trip?

It was fantastic! Thanks so much!

How were the OPERATORS we put you in touch with in Torres del Paine? 

Thanks for getting us in touch with them- they were perfect. Gonzalo and Johanna were really great to communicate with and made it all very easy.

… and how were their GUIDES on your Full Circuit trek?

Our guide Maurizio was the best. It ended up being just Simon and I and him, which for 7 days could have been weird but wasn’t at all.

He knew everyone on the trail, we felt like some friends who he was showing a good time.  He was knowledgeable, professional and safe but also relaxed and fun when it counted.

What are your thoughts on the value of taking a GUIDED Full Circuit over trekking the Full Circuit INDEPENDENTLY?

For the first few days we wondered whether we really needed a guide. But then the weather came in and the pass closed. Everyone had to turn back except us and the other group that were out with our operator (who were a day behind due to weather).

We absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do the hike without a guide. We met a few other couples without a guide who had to turn back and we felt very lucky.

How did SWOOP do in helping you plan and arrange your trip?

We were really happy to use Swoop because its so hard on the internet to organise things in a foreign country – the websites are variable and you never know what you’re actually getting.

We were quite last minute with our organisation and didn’t know that much about the area so it was great to have someone to give us advice and assistance. Your quick and informative replies were really appreciated.

We’re so glad also that we took your advice about doing the Full Circuit instead of the W Trek. We wouldn’t have been challenged enough on the W and would have missed so much amazing hiking on the north side of the park (mostly the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which was our favourite part!). 

Do you have any TIPS for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?

Tips for others doing the Full Circuit would be to definitely use a guide,

We would also recommend doing the Full Circuit and not the W Trek if you want to really see the park and want more of a challenge.

Take cash because you can buy beer and wine along the way, which is pretty nice after a long day hiking. And you can upgrade to a refugio last minute if all your stuff is soaked and you need a good sleep.