Patagonia Glacier & Ice Cap Trek
Experience the breathtaking landscapes of Patagonia as we explore this beautiful region trekking for 7 days through the Fitz Roy Range in Argentina with its sheer granite towers, sweeping glaciers and bright blue lakes. Visit Perito Moreno Glacier and watch huge icebergs calving from the glacier into Lake Argentino. Finally Exploring the cosmopolitan capital city of Buenos Aires, visiting the Plaza de Mayo and colourful La Boca district.
Our Patagonia Icefields Trek begins at the world renowned Fitz Roy Range and can rightly be regarded as one of the world’s finest mountain areas worthy of being compared with Nepal’s Annapurna and Peru’s Huayhush Ranges. The Fitz Roy Range straddles the southern icecap the largest icecap outside the earth’s Polar Regions and is easily the de-facto trekking mecca of Patagonia
Included in the price of the trip
1 night accommodation in Buenos Aires
Airport transfer in Buenos Aires
1 night hostel accommodation in El Calfate
3 night’s camping during expedition
4 night cabin accommodation in El Chalten
Qualified Mountain Leader (Groups 10+)
Qualified Argentinian Trekking Guide/s with first aid training
Local support crew and porters
National Park Fees
Expedition transfers to starting points
Satellite telephone and VHF radio back up
All meals whilst trekking
Not included in the price of the trip
Flights to and from Argentina (approx. £700 – £1000.00)
Meal in Buenos Aires
2 Evening Meals
Perito Moreno Glacier boat cruise
Additional excursions outside the itinerary
Personal spending money
Depart U.K. to Buenos Aires, transfer to domestic flights as we fly across the vast Patagonian wasteland to descend over the deep blue waters of Lago Argentino, at El Calafate. On a clear day, this descent allows breathtaking views of the distant peaks of the Andes. Time allowing explore El Calafate. Hostel.
Following your arrival in El Calafate, you will be transferred to your accommodation. You will have the rest of the day to explore this rustic town named after the berry that, once eaten guarantees your return to Patagonia. Plus it’s your opportunity to sample the fine Argentinian cuisine – a steak lover’s dream. A full expedition briefing will be given as well
Today will be a day to remember as you visit the breath taking Perito Moreno Glacier in the company of a local guide. The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most famous geological sights in the world, and the stunning centre piece of the southern sector of the Southern Ice Cap measuring a whopping 30km in length, 5km in width and an impressive 60 metres in height. It calves into Lake Argentino and every so often it is possible to see huge lumps of ice break off and fall into the lake as icebergs.
From here you will then be transfer to the town of El Chalten, a distance of 215 kilometres of which you will catch your first glance of the stunning Fitz Roy Mountain range.
Transfer to Los Humules private reserve. This reserve has been designed and managed by a team of naturalists and conservationists specialised in the protection of the critically endangered Patagonian Huemul deer which can only be found in this area.
Today’s trek will be in a Nothofagus forest. Very few people experience this enchanting forest, especially during the tail end of the busy tourist season so it will feel like you have the magic of the forest trees to yourself. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Fitz Roy Massif and follow Rio Diablo until reaching Luguna Diablo for more breath taking views toward Glacier Caglirro. On your decent you will see Laguna Azul the blue glacial lake. You will stay overnight in cabins at Ricanor campsite surrounded by impressive snow-capped mountains and enjoy Argentinian steak for your evening meal (vegetarian meals can also be provided).
Estimated time: 8 hours. Approx distance: 15 kms.
Today’s trail will wind you through beech forests towards the Poincenot Base Camp with breath taking views of the Piedras Blancas Glacier and the Rio Blanco Valley. This valley bestows colourful scrublands and grey coloured trees which artistically display their roots on sheer sandbanks that are intercepted by rocky glacial flowing streams.
Leaving the depths of the forest from Poincenot Camp, a steep trail will guide you to Laguna de los Tres, the most awe-inspiring lookout to Mount Fitz Roy. After this point only climbers can continue. You will have lunch to maximise your time at one of the most striking mountain sceneries in the world, the superb granite tower of Mount Fitz Roy. You may even be lucky to catch sight of condors gliding around the summits.
We return to Poincenot Camp via the same trail where we camp below the jagged backdrop of the Fitz Roy Massif. Sleeping bags and roll mats are provided at this campsite.
This morning make sure you set your alarm early to catch a glimpse of the sunrise against the Fitz Roy Massif. Weather permitting, it will probably be the most incredible sunrise you will ever experience as the mountains glow orange when the sun’s early morning rays hit their sheer granite towers.
After breakfast you will start trekking along the trail following the Madre (mother) and Hija (daughter) Lakes. There will be plenty of photo opportunities this morning of both the mountains and crystal lakes. The trail descends steeply down a number of switchbacks until you reach the Torre Lake Trail which follows the fast flowing Glacial Fitz Roy River. The Torre Lake is one hour from this point. At Laguna Torre the trail leads to a lookout with grandstand views across the glacial moraine towards Cerro Solo, the Adela’s Range, Glacier Torre and the legendary spire Cerro Torre known as the ‘impossible mountain’. After taking in yet more staggering views, you will then retrace your steps for an hour to join the trail along the Rio Fitz Roy to reach your cabins in El Chalten. Before dinner you will have time to relax or enjoy the cafés of this ‘wild west’ town. Plus you can restock with snacks ready for the next leg of the expedition. The evening will spent in one of Chalten’s famous restaurants were we have the opportunity to sample more local cuisine.
Overnight in El Chalten.
Estimated time: 8 hours. Approx distance: 19 kms.
The next two days of the trek are spent expedition style as you will carry your own kit to camp including spare shoes for a river crossing, your sleeping bag, sleeping-matt and personal items. You will be provided with two packed lunches, food bowl, coffee cup and spoon which you will also carry. Porters will take your tent and other food supplies.
Starting from El Chaltén at 450 metres above sea leave, you will take the trail to Laguna Toro (Lake Toro) and Pliegue Tumbado. The well-marked path climbs through beautiful beech trees to the timberline (1000 metres) at the base of the Pliegue Tumbado Ridge; before going down. It has been known for the elusive Puma to be seen in this area. From here you will descend to the Tunel River Valley until the Toro Lake campsite, at 650 metres, where you will camp for two nights in this remote area. You will have a chance to see the southern side of Fitz Roy and Cerro Solo.
Estimated time: 7 hours. Approx distance: 19 kms.
It is almost impossible to describe your trekking experience for this day as it is an extraordinary expedition day jam-packed with adventure! Starting with a glacial river crossing, all-encompassing snow-capped mountain scenery, the rare opportunity of trekking along the Tunel Glacier, then the pinnacle of your uphill trek being the expansive view of the third largest icefield in the world followed by your return river crossing via a Tyrolean rope.
To start today’s great adventure you will set off from camp and cross the flowing Tunel River in order to approach the Tunel Glacier. Depending on the conditions you will either wade through the river or take the Tyrolean rope further upstream. It is highly recommended to bring trainers and trekking poles for the river crossing. After this you will pass through loose rocks, moraines and beautifully exposed bedrock before reaching the Tunel Glacier. With conditions permitting, you will trek across the Glacier with great views of the Tunel and Quervain glaciers and Mount Fitz Roy. You will begin a steep ascent of Paso Del Viento or Windy Pass to a height of 1,500 metres. Once at the “Paso” the immense beauty of the Continental Ice Field will be in full sight, the third largest icefield in the world of which not many people have been fortunate to witness. From here you will descend to Lake Toro and re-cross the Tunel River via a Tyrolean rope and return to camp.
Estimated time: 10-12 hours. Approx distance: 15 kms.
From the campsite at Lake Toro you will head back downstream and retrace your steps from day 7 via “Pliegue Tumbado”. Undulating trekking takes you back through burnt forests, marsh areas and lush beech forests arriving at the park ranger station where the expedition comes to its end. Return to the comforts of El Chaltén.
Estimated time: 7 hours. Approx distance: 19 kms.
Transfer from El Chalten back to El Calafate for your return flight to Buenos Aires in the afternoon. On arrival in Buenos Aires you have the option of adding an additional night or two Buenos Aires or transferring to the international airport for your return flight home. Overnight Hotel in Buenos Aires is not included and can be booked as an excursion.
Weather & Safety
Since Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the reverse of those which we experience in Europe. Trips to Patagonia are organised between October and April to take advantage of the longer, warmer days. During these months the summer temperatures in Buenos Aires reach a maximum of 35ºC, in Calafate around 22ºC and in the extreme south around 19ºC. These are maximum figures, and the average can be taken as being somewhat lower. Night time temperatures in Patagonia and the south will certainly be very much colder than this, and in some cases it can reach freezing levels. Patagonia is well renowned to be extremely windy and it can rain at any time of year. The Leader reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Passport & Visa
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their relevant embassies. Adventurous Ewe is not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.
No visa required for holders of British passport for travel into Argentina.
It is a condition of this trip that you are insured against medical and personal accident. Adventurous Ewe require documentary evidence of your insurance prior to departure. We also recommend that you enrol with Global Rescue prior to embarking on your trip (optional). Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical & security advisory and evacuation services. www.globalrescue.com/adventurousewe
All our guides are first aid trained and carry fully equipped medical kits for serious medical emergencies.There are no compulsory vaccinations for Argentina but we recommend you consult your GP before departure. A good level of fitness is required for this trip.
This trek does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.
To complete the Patagonia Trek comfortably, it is preferable that you have previous experience of long walks in varied and irregular terrain carrying a 35 litre day-pack. The walking is not dangerous or technically difficult, but you must be a confident walker with a good level of fitness in order to manage the sections of ascent and long duration of the trek, combined with carrying your backpack every day. During parts of the expedition you will be required to carry additional items due to the remoteness of the trek. This will include items for two nights of remote camping and trekking on days 7 to 9 including your sleeping bag, sleeping matt, packed lunches & snacks, drinking water, wet weather gear, additional warm layers and personal items.
Due to the unpredictability of the climate in southern Patagonia, you will need to be prepared for walking in all conditions, as the weather can change extremely rapidly, making clothing and footwear choices important.
The regions we visit on the trip are very remote and you should be prepared to spend time in areas where facilities and services are limited. Roads are mostly unpaved and although well-maintained they can be bumpy and dusty Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.During the trek you will be required to carry your own day bag, plus spare warm clothing and wet weather kit.
How to Book your Trip
The easiest way to book your trip is online via the Adventurous Ewe website. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £250 at the time of booking. It is possible to reserve a place on this challenge by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, however you will need to pay your deposit of £250 to confirm your place on this trek together with completing a booking form.
The full balance is required to be paid no less than 4 weeks prior to departure.