Ski mountaineering around Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre
Patagonia offers great opportunities for ski mountaineers who love wild nature and sometimes accept a long approach on foot. Here we propose a program around El Chaltèn, perhaps the most iconic location in all of Patagonia, right under the imposing rocky towers of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
In winter and spring El Chalten is rather quiet, as most climbers and hikers arrive no earlier than December. These majestic peaks and glaciers are therefore at the complete disposal of ski enthusiasts eager to explore the most attractive glaciers and couloirs in the area.
The snowpack and the weather will determine which area and itinerary to choose, along with the technical level and fitness of the team. There are some fairly easy itineraries, feasible in a single day from the village, otherwise most of the itineraries require two days with one night in a tent. To get to the departure points, you need the services of a local 4 × 4 taxi, the alternative is to rent a car directly from El Calafate airport.
The terrain can be complex to ski, especially on glaciers with many crevasses, and route finding is often not at all obvious. To ski mountaineers without solid experience of Patagonian or Arctic environmental conditions, we recommend the assistance of a professional mountain guide.
POSSIBLE VARIATIONS OR EXTENSIONS:
– steep skiing (see in the description of the Program);
– crossing of the Hielo Patagonico Sur (from / to El Chaltèn via paso Marconi, Circo de los Altares and paso del Viento) in 5-6 days, with possible unskied lines on the west side of the Cordon Marconi and Cerro Adela (this is an expedition to be organized in total self sufficiency, carrying your own food and bivouac gear);
– 10-12 day ski and pulka expedition to Volcan Lautaro 3623 m on Hielo Patagonico Sur;
– south of Lake Viedma: ski expedition to Cerro Planchon 2468 m, in 3-4 days and / or to Cerro Azul 2343 m in 4-5 days;
– south of Lake Argentino: ski expedition to Cerro Cervantes 2380 m in 4-5 days;
– peaks and passes on the glaciers west of El Calafate, with a boat approach from Lake Argentino, expedition of 10-12 days at average altitudes of 2000 – 2500 m (maximum elevation Cerro Petrobelli 2950 m);
– crossing of the Hielo Patagonico Sur (Ice Cap Traverse) east-west, with skis and pulka (min.10 days);
– Trekking program only on foot (1-2 day trips from el Chaltèn);
– 1 or more days of mountain biking at Chaltèn, or trekking or mountaineering;
– 1 or more days on Lake Argentino for a visit by boat to the Perito Moreno glacier and / or kayaking excursions.
OTHER SKI MOUNTAINEERING PROGRAMS IN PATAGONIA, on request:
– 8-10 day ski expedition to Cerro San Lorenzo 3706 m from the chilean side, south of Lake General Carrera;
– 10-12 day ski expedition to Monte San Valentin 4078 m (the highest peak in Patagonia), on Hielo Patagonico Norte in Chile;
– Ski tour in Torres del Paine National Park, from Puerto Natales in Chile;
– expedition to the Cordillera Darwin and other mountain ranges in the Tierra del Fuego.
Arrival in El Calafate (internal flights from Buenos Aires); transfer by minibus to El Chaltèn. Overnight at the lodge.
Half a day dedicated to the preparation of materials and planning and half a day for a trekking or mountain bike tour around the Chaltèn. The snow conditions are very variable, so it is necessary to observe the situation and identify on the spot the itineraries that are currently most suitable for ski mountaineering.
With 4 × 4 vehicle, on a dirt track, up to Lago del Desierto 500 m above sea level. From here several possible objectives, including: Cerro Vespignani 2146 m, Cerro Creston 2050 m, Loma del Diablo 1750 m, Cordon del Bosque 2100 m,
Ski mountaineering trips from Chaltèn, generally in 2 days with an overnight stay in tent. Among the many classic tours and possible exploration destinations (to be evaluated on site):
– from Rio de las Vueltas 460 m (by jeep 4 × 4 from Chaltèn), walk to the Laguna del Diablo 800 m, bivouac, then the following day to the glaciar Cagliero; possible targets: Cerro Neumayer 2670 m, Cerro Cagliero 2584 m, Gorra Blanca 2907 m;
– from the rio Electrico, El Pilar 470 m (by jeep 4 × 4 from Chaltèn): Cerro Electrico 2257 m N side, glaciar Pollone and Paso Tridente 2100 m, glaciar Marconi and Cerro Marconi Norte 2210 m, Gorra Blanca 2907 m on the Hielo Patagonico Sur in 2 days via Paso Marconi with overnight stay at the Garcìa shelter-bivouac 1587 m;
– glaciar de los Tres 1170 m with possible targets: Cerro Madsen 1800 m, Punta or Paso Velluda 1963 m
– laguna Sucia 1000 m and Cerro Techado Negro 2152 m
– Fitz Roy south base camp 2152 m;
– from Laguna Torre,: De Agostini base camp 634 m (on foot in about 3 hours from Chaltèn)
– Cerro Solo 2121 m,
– Glaciar Grande and exploration on the east side of Cordon Adela
– glaciar Torre and southern base camp of Cerro Torre;
– from Rio Tunel (about 600 m) (on foot in 3 hours from Chaltèn): Cerro Huemul 2677 m, exploration in the Tunel valley beyond the Laguna Toro.
Transfer by bus to Calafate airport, boarding for return flights
Steep Skiing Options and Variants:
Among the infinite possible lines, all to be carefully evaluated on site:
– east side of the Aiguille de Poincenot (from the glaciar de los Tres),
– Brecha de los Italianos about 2500 m (from CB ddel Fitz Roy),
– Brecha 4 Dedos about 2100 m, (from CB del Cerro Torre)
– hills and canals on the east side of Cordon Adela.
Trip dates, Duration, Departure
The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations. Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements. If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information. In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request
By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events
The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).
The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.
Service included and Prices
We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only. Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking. Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates. Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.