South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

A chance to test yourself in one of the most difficult environments, with some of the most demanding summits, on Earth, trekking for 6 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

$2,490

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

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Truly quench your thirst for challenge traversing the little explored Ice Cap
  • Trek deep into remote land, following wild trails, wading through a river, and completing a Tyrollean crossing
  • Experience wide-ranging environments, from immense glaciers and vast icy seas to farmland and the forests of Piedra del Fraile
  • Uncover unique views of the Cerro Torre and Mount Fitzroy – and with them stunning photograph opportunities
  • Camp by gushing streams, overlooking lagoons, in the shadow of mountains, and on untouched snow

Start from El Chaltén and end at El Chaltén

Landmarks visited on South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and briefing

Upon arrival at El Calafate airport you will take a minibus directly to El Chalten on a 2 and a half hour drive along the Patagonian steppe land. Once the bus turns to the west, passing the huge Viedma lake, you will have the first views of the spectacular mountains and glaciers.

Your guide will meet you at the bus station, ready to take you to the hostel. You'll spend the afternoon having an expedition briefing lead by your guide, in which you'll discuss the details of the itinerary and answer any questions. You will then check all of your personal and group equipment, making any necessary adjustments.

Accommodation: Local bed and breakfast


Day 2: Electrico River – Pollen River

Journey: 6 hours, 11 km

This morning a vehicle will take you to the bridge over the Electrico River, 15 km to the north-west of El Chalten. Here the expedition begins. The first two hours of the hike passes through a forest, until you reach the Piedra del Fraile camping area.

You then follow the Electrico River upstream into a wide glacial valley with very little vegetation, from where you are able to see the area's impressive peaks. In the afternoon, you'll wade across the Pollen River, seeing the north face of Mount Fitz-Roy and the Pollone Needle.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping


Day 3: Marconi Pass – Southern Patagonian Ice Field Entrance

Journey: 7/8 hours, 10 km

At first light the group breaks camp and sets out towards the Marconi Glacier. You will cross old moraine fields until reaching the toe of the glacier. Here, trek up the glacier until nearing the Marconi pass - the entrance to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

This is definitely the most challenging day of the expedition. 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. All worth it for the experience and a night camping in the Ice Field.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping


Day 4: Reach the foot of Cerro Torre's west face

Journey: 7/8 hours, 10 km

Today is comparatively short and acts as a pseudo-rest day. After 5 hours hike, arrive at your next night's camp in an area called the Circo de los Altares (or the Cirque of Alters, at 1,250 m.a.s.l.). The camp is based at the foot of Cerro Torre's west face - one of the most breathtaking mountains.

Approximate Trek Time: 6 hours (weather dependent)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping


Day 5: Hike south to Paso del Viento Refuge

Journey: 8/9 hours, 13 km

Continue the trek in a southerly direction to begin with, then hike on eastwards in search of a large moraine-field. You will pass a series of lagoons and eventually arrive at the Paso del Viento Refuge (900 m.a.s.l.).

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping


Day 6: Viento Pass – Toro Lagoon

Journey: 8/9 hours, 13 km

Today you'll gain height until you reach the Viento (Windy) Pass, at 1,500 m.a.s.l. from where you will exit the Ice Field. You'll be presented with some great panoramic views, before heading downwards to the Tunel River Valley and back into the vegetated area. Before arriving at the Toro Lagoon campsite you will pass the Tunel Glacier and then climb across the valley's river by Tyrolean traverse. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping


Day 7: Cerro Huemul Mountain – El Chalten

Journey: 8/9 hours, 105km

Weaving through forest and fields, in between the Cerro Huemul mountain and Lake Viedma, you'll cross the Pliegue Tumbado Hill, the final ascent. From here, you'll have a magnificent view of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. Then, descend into the Vueltas River Valley and return to El Chalten.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Local bed and breakfast


Days 8 & 9: Reserved days

These days are reserved for bad weather, in the event that the group has to spend more than one night at a particular night stop. If there are no weather issues, extra days may be spent in the Marconi Pass or on trekking nearby.


Day 10: Transfer to El Calafate airport

Travel to El Calafate airport for departure or onward travel. 


An 9 day option is available. This program includes one less day reserved for bad weather. Trips with prices from $2,315 are for these 9 day trips.


PLEASE NOTE:

Hotel upgrades and private transfers from the 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.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Start date Price (pp)
October 2019
19-Oct-2019 $2,490* Provisional Date
November 2019
2-Nov-2019 $2,490 Provisional Date
16-Nov-2019 $2,315 Provisional Date
28-Nov-2019 $2,490* Guaranteed Date
December 2019
8-Dec-2019 $2,315 Provisional Date
19-Dec-2019 $2,490* Provisional Date
January 2020
3-Jan-2020 $2,490 Guaranteed Date
12-Jan-2020 $2,315 Provisional Date
20-Jan-2020 $2,315 Guaranteed Date
February 2020
1-Feb-2020 $2,490* Provisional Date
15-Feb-2020 $2,315 Provisional Date
March 2020
1-Mar-2020 $2,490* Provisional Date
15-Mar-2020 $2,315 Provisional Date

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $2,490

10 Days: Price of USD $2,490 per person is indicative of a group of 4 people sharing a hostel room at the start and end. Upgrade to a private room and the price is USD $2,560 per person. 

9 Days: Price of USD $2,315 per person based on a group of 4 people sharing a hostel room at the start and end. Upgrade to a private room and the price is USD $2,385 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

Includes

  • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Accommodation: 7 nights camping, 2 nights B&B in El Chalten
  • Experienced bilingual mountain guide
  • All technical equipment (crampons, ropes, etc.)
  • Transfer in/out from El Chalten bus station
  • Satellite phone
  • Passengers are expected to carry their own backpacks with sleeping bag, insulation mat and other personal items (around 18 to 20 kg in the icefield expedition)

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Transfer in/out from El Calafate airport
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal Equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
  • Gratuities/Tips
  • International and domestic/in country flights
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?