Fitz Roy Circuit & Ice Cap Traverse


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A challenging circumnavigation of the Towers of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre


Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel in El Calafate around 7.30am for your transfer to El Chalten. We will take the public tourist bus across the Patagonian Pampa to this small mountain village situated at 450m above sea level. On the way to El Chalten you will have magnificent views of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy in the distance if weather allows. El Chalten means ‘smoking mountains’ and is the main entry point into Los Glaciares National Park. It is the base camp for numerous climbing expeditions to Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre as well as expeditions to the Patagonian Ice Field. This evening you will meet your guide for a first trip briefing at 7pm at your hotel before you head out for dinner with your group.Overnight: Lodge in El Chalten

In El Chalten and prepare for expedition

This morning after breakfast our guide will explain the adventures that await us in the days ahead. The rest of the day will be preparation for the trek and detailed instructions on how to use the camping and technical gear will be given and trained.Overnight: Lodge in El Chalten

Commence trek to base of Marconi Glacier

This morning we transfer to the “Rio Electrico” bridge, 15 km northwest from El Chaltén, and the starting point for our first day's trekking towards the base of the Marconi Glacier. The first two hours of the walk follow a well marked footpath along the river and a fording of the river on foot. We will then enter an area of moraine and rocky terrain until we reach our first camp. Approximately 6 hours walking/12km/50m ascent.

Trek across the Marconi Pass

We ascend onto the Marconi Glacier and undertake a glacier trek up to the Marconi Pass (1550m above sea level). Weather allowing, there are excellent view of Fitz Roy, Piergiorgio and Gorra Blanca, among other peaks. This trek will require the use of crampons and depending on the glacier's conditions, we'll use climbing ropes and harnesses. Today will be truly out of this world and into a remote wilderness of stunning mountain scenery and impressive views of the ice field and the granite towers that make Los Glaciares world famous. Camp on the ice field.Approximately 7-10 hours walking/10km/800m ascent.

Traversing the Continental Ice Field on Viedma Glacier

Continue trekking on the ice field southbound to the "Circo de los Altares" at the foot of the mythic west face of Cerro Torre. The narrow granite pinnacle of Cerro Torre is unmistakable in this glacial wonderland. For many decades Cerro Torre was considered impossible to climb due to its extreme vertical faces in an extreme environment, but eventually it was first climbed in the 70's by an Italian team, and many mountaineers consider this one of the greatest feats in mountaineering history. As we pitch camp under the mile high vertical spire we truly realise how extraordinary this mountain range is. Camp on the ice field.Approximately 6-7 hours walking/12km/50-100m descent.

Complete Ice Cap Traverse

Another tough but rewarding trek on the ice field from Circo de los Altares to Los Esquies Lagoon. Today, weather permitting we should get great views of the Mariano Moreno range, Cerro Luca and Southern Ice Cap. We exit the ice field across the lateral moraine of the Viedma Glacier to our camp. If the weather and the physical condition of the participants permit, we will continue up to Paso Del Viento Hut. Approximately 7-8 hours walking/14km/250m ascent/250m descent

Contingency day

Today has been set aside as a contingency day in case of bad weather. If it is not used, the group will spend an extra day at one of the beautiful campsites at either Circo de los Altares or Paso del Viento.

Paso del Viento Hut - rest day

Rest day in the campsite near the hut.

Cross Huemul Pass

Today we will cross the Huemel Pass with magnificent views of Cerro Huemul, the Andean steppe and glacial lakes. Spectacular aerial views of Viedma Glacier’s snout as it carves into Lake Viedma will reward us.Approximately 6-7 hours walking/8 km

Conclude trek and return to El Chalten

Trek down the steep descent to Lake Viedma and Cabo de Hornos Bay. We will hike to Bahía Túnel and will end our trek by zip-lining across the Tunel River.From here we will walk back to El Chalten where our comfortable lodge is awaiting us. Tonight we celebrate the end of the expedition with a last group dinner!Approximately 5-6 hours walking/5 km/600m steep descentOvernight: Lodge in El Chalten

Return to El Calafate, where trip concludes

This morning we will take the public tourist bus back to El Calafate where your trip arrangements conclude. We do not recommend leaving El Calafate until after 4pm, just in case there are any delays.

Additional Information

A challenging circumnavigation of the towers of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre via the continental ice cap. Our self sufficient expedition will appeal to those looking for the ultimate Patagonian adventure with spectacular and rarely seen views of the dramatic granite spires of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. The Patagonian Ice Field is one of the biggest fresh water reservoirs left in the world. This is probably one of the wildest trekking experiences that does not involve high altitudes and climbing. Very few people have undertaken this traverse and it is very unlikely that we shall meet anyone else. Whilst not technical, this trip involves long trekking days carrying a full pack of 15-20kg and using snow shoes or crampons at times dependent on the conditions. In the truest sense of exploratory trekking, this trip is weather dependent and the full circuit cannot be guaranteed. However we have included spare contingency days to give us the best opportunity to achieve our goal in case of poor weather. If we complete the circuit or not, one thing is guaranteed - pure adventure in a remote wilderness.

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