South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

A chance to test yourself in one of the most challenging environments on Earth, trekking for 6 to 9 days across the windblown Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Expert guides from a local mountaineering operator provide gear and instruction and lead you through the dramatic frozen landscape.

10 Days


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South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition - 10 - $2,490

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Bus to El Chalten, arrive at hotel for briefing and equipment checks. 
  • Hike through forests to the Piedra del Fraile and wade through the Pollone River
  • Trek up the Marconi Glacier and enter the Ice Field
  • Continue to camp at the foot of Cerro Torre
  • Follow the trek through the Ice Field crossing the Tunel Glacier 
  • Descend into the Vueltas river valley and return to Chalten

Start from El Chaltén and end at El Chaltén

Landmarks visited on South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1:

Upon arrival at el calafate airport you will take a minibus directly to El Chalten on a 2.5 hours drive along the Patagonian steppe land. Once the bus turns to the west driving you along the huge Viedma lake you will have the first spectacular views at the mountains and glaciers. At the bus station we will be waiting to take you to the Hotel. There will be time to meet the guide for a briefing about the details of your itinerary and to make all the necessary questions.

Day 2:

Today is for checking personal and group equipment, and for making any necessary adjustments. There will be an expedition brief given by the guide with particular emphasis on the safety of the trip.

Day 3:

This morning a vehicle will take us to the bridge over the Electrico River, 15 km to the north-west of El Chalten, from here the expedition begins. The first two hours hike passes through a forest until reaching the Piedra del Fraile camping area. After which we follow the Electrico River upstream into a wide glacial valley with very little vegetation, from where we are able to see the area's impressive peaks. Two hours later we must wade across the Pollone River. From here we will be able to see the North face of Mount Fitz-Roy and the Pollone Needle.

Approximate Trek Time: 6 hours

Day 4:

At first light we break-camp and set out towards the Marconi Glacier. We cross old moraine fields until reaching the toe of the glacier. Here we trek up the glacier until nearing the Marconi pass - entrance to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This will surely be the Expedition's toughest day. The climb in altitude today is approximately 800 metres over moraine and glacial terrain, and given the shape and orientation of the valley, the winds experienced can be very severe. Today ends when we enter the Ice Field.

Approximate Trek Time: 7/8 hours

Day 5:

Today is comparatively short and acts as a pseudo-rest day. After 5 hours hike we arrive at our campsite, in an area called the Circo de los Altares (or the Cirque of Alters, at 1,250 m.a.s.l.), at the foot of Cerro Torre's west face - one of the most amazing places on Earth.

Approximate Trek Time: 6 hours (weather dependent)

Day 6:

We continue our trek at first in a southerly direction and then eastwards, in search of a large moraine-field. We pass a series if lagoons and eventually reach the Paso del Viento Refuge (900 m.a.s.l.)

Approximate Trek Time: 8/9 hours

Day 7:

Today we look to gain height until reaching the Viento (Windy) Pass, at 1,500 m.a.s.l. Here Here we will exit the Ice Field and will also provide us with some great panoramic views, before we head downwards to the Tunel River Valley and back into the vegetated area. Before arriving at the Toro Lagoon campsite we must cross the Tunel Glacier and also Tyrolean traverse across the valley's river.

Approximate Trek Time: 7/8hrs

Day 8: 

Weaving through forest and fields, in between the Cerro Huemul mountain and Lake Viedma, we cross the Pliegue Tumbado Hill, our final uphill. From here we get a magnificent view of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. We then descend into the Vueltas River Valley and return to El Chalten.

Approximate Trek Time: 5 hours

Days 9 & 10:

These days are reserved for bad weather, in case the party has to spend more than one night at a particular night stop. If the weather is good it may be possible to overnight in the Marconi Pass or trek nearby.


Hotel upgrades and private transfers from airport are available

A recommended 2-3 day add-on: ice climbing training on the Cerro Torre glacier and a mountain ascent to Vespignani peak

Please enquire for further details and pricing.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $2,490 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.

The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.

Price of USD $2,490 per person is indicative of a group of 4 people completing the expedition in 9 days, sharing a hostel room at the start and end. Upgrade to a private room and the price is USD $2,560 per person. 

In case a group of 4 is not formed, please consider the supplements below:

- Only 2 people confirmed - USD $300

- Only 3 people confirmed - USD $210


  • Experienced bilingual mountain guide
  • All technical equipment (crampons, ropes, etc.)
  • Satellite phone
  • All meals
  • Passengers are expected to be fit and carry their own backpacks with sleeping bag, insulation mat and other personal items (around 18 to 20 kg in the icefield expedition).
  • Transfer in/out from El Chalten bus station
  • 2 nights accommodation in / out in a nice hosteria at El Chalten


  • Meals in town except when mentioned.
  • Accommodation at El Calafate
  • Transfer in / out from El Calafate airport

Questions about this Trip?