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South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

Test yourself in one of the most difficult environments on Earth on this trek across the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Climb up onto the Marconi Glacier and camp overnight in the dramatic frozen landscape of the ice field. Hike across the ice field to the base of Cerro Torre and camp at Circo de Los Altares before traversing the Paso del Viento and returning to El Chaltén.

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South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

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Trip type

Guided Activity

Trip length

8 Days

From

$2,895

Location

Los Glaciares

South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition - 8 Days - $2,895

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Trek along the Eléctrico River; 'Valle de los 14' wild camp

Day 2: Trek to the Marconi Pass; Ice field hut

Day 3: Trek to the foot of Cerro Torre; Circo de Los Altares wild camp

Day 4: Trek to Refugio Paso del Viento; Wild camp

Day 5: Trek over Paso Huemul; Bahía de los Témpanos wild camp

Day 6: Trek to end point; Transfer to El Chaltén

Days 7 & 8: Reserved days

Start from El Chaltén and end at El Chaltén

Landmarks visited on South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Trek along the Eléctrico River; 'Valle de los 14' wild camp

This morning you'll be driven to the bridge over the Eléctrico River, 15km to the north-west of El Chaltén. It is here that your expedition begins. The first two hours of the hike passes through a forest, until you reach the Piedra del Fraile campsite where there's a brief stop.

From here the trail along the Eléctrico River opens up into a wide glacial valley with very little vegetation, from where you'll have fantastic views of Mt Fitz Roy and the Pollone Needle. Next up is a challenging section where you ford the Pollone River and cross the upper Eléctrico River via a zipline before beginning a steep ascent to the Piedra del Fraile, on the path to the Marconi Pass. You'll set up wild camp at an appropriate location in the 'Valle de los 14', en route to the Marconi Pass.

Length of hike: 8-9hrs, 19km

Meals: Box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: 'Valle de los 14' wild camp


Day 2: Trek to the Marconi Pass; Ice field hut

This is a tough day, but you'll be rewarded with consistently fantastic views. There's a steep ascent up onto the Marconi Glacier and ice field for which you'll need to wear crampons and rope together.

Once on the plateau you'll see the vast expanse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field before you and mountain ranges that are only visible from here. You'll make our way carefully across the cracks and crevasses of the ice field to reach the Chilean hut at the base of Cerro Gorra Blanca, from where the views are truly stunning.

Length of hike: 6hrs, 9.5km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Ice field hut


Day 3: Trek to the foot of Cerro Torre; Circo de Los Altares wild camp

Today is comparatively short and acts as a pseudo-rest day. You'll trek along the ice field down to the northern end of Marconi Hill from where the ice flattens out, though there are still cracks and crevasses to negotiate.

Your destination is one of the most beautifully located wild camps in Patagonia. It's in an area called the Circo de Los Altares at 1250m, by the foot of Cerro Torre's west face. To one side of you is the ice field and to the other soaring mountain views.

Length of hike: 6hrs, 11km 

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Circo de Los Altares wild camp


Day 4: Trek to Refugio Paso del Viento; Wild camp near Lake Ferrari

You'll continue your trek in a southerly direction to begin with, roped together, down the back side of the Fitz Roy range. This is a long day that involves numerous climbs over moraines, crevasses and unstable terrain. The wind can also be extreme on this section.

You'll exit the ice field via the Viedma Glacier which you'll then follow until you reach the Refugio Paso del Viento at 900m. From here you make your way to the wild camp near Lake Ferrari.

Length of hike: 8hrs, 16km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Wild camp near Lake Ferrari


Day 5: Trek over Paso Huemul; Bahía de los Témpanos wild camp

Today you'll gain height on a zig zagging, rocky trail to reach the Paso Huemul. This narrow col can be extremely windy but once over the other side, you'll have stunning views of the turquoise Lake Viedma and a change in scenery. You'll descend on a rocky path, through a small forest and further down an extremely steep section where a bit of climbing downwards might be needed.

At you near the bottom of the descent, the vegetation increases until you enter the forest where your wild camp will be set up at Bahía de los Témpanos by the shore of Lake Viedma.

Length of hike: 7hrs, 11km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Bahía de los Tempanos wild camp


Day 6: Trek to end point; Transfer to El Chaltén

On your final day you'll set out from the wild camp along a well-marked, easy, flat trail, through large pastures. There will be great views of Lake Viedma for the entire day which provides plenty of photo opportunities.

The final stretch of the trek involves using a zip line to where a transfer will be waiting to take you back to El Chaltén.

Length of hike: 6hrs, 16km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch


Days 7 & 8: Reserved days

These days are reserved in case the group has to spend more than one night at a camp due to bad weather. If the trip isn't adversely affected by the weather, the extra days may be spent potentially summiting Gorra Blanca Peak and/or exploring the area around Circo de Los Altares.

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Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices for the 2023/24 season based on the 8-day version of this trip are:
6 people: from USD $3,135 per person
4-5 people: from USD $3,460 per person
2-3 people: from USD $3,640 per person
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A 7-day option is available (see additional notes). 2023/24 prices as follows:
6 people: from USD $2,895 per person
4-5 people: from USD $3,175 per person
2-3 people: from USD $3,345 per person

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Book now to guarantee your place and price for the 2024-25 season.

We expect the operator’s rates to increase in the coming months, and we guarantee you will not pay more for your trip if you book before then. If the final rate is less than initially quoted to you, the lower rate will be honoured.

Prices for the 2024/25 season are:
6 people: from USD $3,290 per person
4-5 people: from USD $3,635 per person
2-3 people: from USD $3,820 per person

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Please enquire about joining a small group of like-minded travellers on an expedition to reduce the cost.

2024

2025

Start date Price (pp)
March 2024
4-Mar-2024 $2,895* Provisional Date Enquire
October 2024
19-Oct-2024 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
November 2024
2-Nov-2024 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
12-Nov-2024 $3,290 Provisional Date Enquire
24-Nov-2024 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
December 2024
3-Dec-2024 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
13-Dec-2024 $3,290 Provisional Date Enquire
23-Dec-2024 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
January 2025
4-Jan-2025 $3,290 Provisional Date Enquire
17-Jan-2025 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
February 2025
8-Feb-2025 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
22-Feb-2025 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire
March 2025
4-Mar-2025 $3,040 Provisional Date Enquire

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $2,895

Additional Notes

Group size – Six maximum, two minimum.

Itinerary – Due to the extremely unpredictable weather in this region the itinerary above is subject to change with no prior notice. Every effort will be made to complete the route, but the length of trekking each day and the campsites stayed at might change. We include two reserve days (on the 8-day trek) and one reserve day (on the 7-day trek) in an effort to adapt to bad weather if required. If climate allows extra trekking or possibly ascending Gorra Blanca peak, may be possible but given the wild nature of this expedition, these eventualities are decided by your guide during the trek.

Trek briefing - You will need to be in El Chaltén the afternoon before your trek starts in order to attend an obligatory briefing with your guides.

Note – You are expected to carry your own backpack with sleeping bag, sleeping mat and other personal items, as well as some group meals. Your backpack may weigh around 20kg.

Technical knowledge – No prior technical knowledge is required as your guide will assist you with this, but you should have long-distance hiking experience and a very high level of fitness. Please get in touch if you'd like to discuss the best ways to prepare for this expedition and see if it is suitable for you.

Includes

  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 8 picnic lunches, 7 dinners
  • Accommodation: 7 nights camping (in quality 4-season tents)
  • Bilingual certified mountain guide
  • All technical equipment (crampons, ropes, etc) and meal equipment
  • Garmin inReach
  • Assistant guide for every three guests

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal porters: USD $250 per porter per day (includes their meals and insurance)
  • 75-80ltr backpack
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat (can be rented locally)
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?