Hiking in Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia
As we expect from Alpine Ascents, the quality of the accommodations and guides was exceptional. – 2018 Trekker
Depart Country of Origin.
Arrive at El Calafate, Argentina. Transfer to our hotel.
The trip starts today in El Calafate, where your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel. In the evening, you will meet the rest of the group and have a general briefing of our trip. Welcome dinner in the evening.
Travel to El Chalten. Hike to Los Condores and Las Aguilas lookouts. Overnight at Don Los Cerros Hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we depart for El Chalten. The drive takes about three hours. The paved road follows a pretty scenic route around the shores of Lago Argentino (which is the biggest fresh water lake in Argentina) and Lago Viedma (formed from melting glacial ice from Viedma Glacier which can also be seen in the distance at the western end of the lake). During the drive it is possible to see guanacos (camelids native to South America) and rheas (large flightless birds related to ostriches and emu). As we approach our destination, the impressive and beautiful granite spires of Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre will come into view. After checking in at our hotel in El Chalten, we will take a short hike to Los Condores and Las Aguilas lookouts with great views of the town, Lago Viedma, Tunel Bay and the rocky fins of Saint-Exupéry, Poincenot and Fitz Roy. Return to our hotel.
Hike to Laguna Torre. Overnight at Don Los Cerros Hotel.
Today we will do a full day hike along the Laguna Torre trail, stopping at different points to take in the magnificent views. We walk eastwards, following the path through beech forests until we reach Fitz Roy River. We pass Agostini base camp from where we hike up to stunning Laguna Torre mountain lake with majestic Cerro Torre in the background. Icebergs can be seen peacefully floating on Laguna Torre as the wind pushes them to the coast. We enjoy a picnic before returning to our hotel in El Chalten in the afternoon.
Laguna de los Tres Loop. Overnight at Don Los Cerros Hotel
After breakfast we will board our private bus to Hostería El Pilar, which is the starting point for the Rio Blanco trail. The trail meanders through the woods until a lookout from where it is possible to observe the Piedras Blancas glacier. This glacier is located across the valley but not too far to look very impressive. After about two hours of hiking, we will reach Poincenot camp. We will then continue up to Laguna de los Tres. From the old moraine ridge we will have outstanding closer views of the imposing walls of Fitz Roy, Poincenot and the other peaks of this massif as well as of De los Tres and Piedras Blancas glaciers. After having a picnic lunch at the shore of the mountain lake, we return to El Chalten via the trail down to Laguna Capri completing the loop. Overnight at Don Los Cerros Hotel.
Hike to Pliegue Tumbado Hill. Overnight at Don Los Cerros Hotel
Today we hike to the top of Loma del Pliegue Tumbado hill, a 360° view point, from where we can appreciate both, the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre massifs and their valley between, the Patagonian steppe and the vast Lago Viedma. Return to El Chalten.
Drive from El Chalten to El Calafate. Visit of Perito Moreno Glacier. Overnight at El Calafate
After breakfast we drive back to El Calafate from where we will go on a day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most famous landmarks in Patagonia. We will walk on the footbridges from where we can observe and hear giant chunks of ice plummet into the waters of Lago Argentino. We will also have the opportunity to do a short nautical safari to observe this magnificent glacier from up close. After the thrilling encounter with the Perito Moreno glacier, we drive back to El Calafate.
Travel to Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Arrive at EcoCamp Patagonia.
Early in the morning we will board our private transfer to EcoCamp. The journey is scenic and highly atmospheric, featuring many wild birds and wonderful Patagonian landscapes. We will have lunch once we arrive to EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. We will have the rest of the afternoon to explore the surroundings and to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.
Hike to French Valley. Overnight at Paine Grande Hut.
After breakfast, we will begin the trek to Valle Francés (French Valley), along a trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. The trail will lead us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the massif, where we will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley and a lookout located at 506 m/1,660 ft, where we will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley’s geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day’s trek will end as we retrace our steps through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest, which will take us to Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe.
Hike to Glacier Grey. Overnight at EcoCamp Patagonia.
This day will see us hike from Paine Grande Refugio to the northern side of the glacially beautiful Lake Grey. We will feast on a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails right to the huge, crystalline facade of Glacier Grey, where we will have plenty of time to marvel at the calving glacier. From the southern end of Lake Grey our private transport will pick us up and take us to EcoCamp.
Torres del Paine Hike. Overnight at EcoCamp Patagonia.
The goal of today’s trek will be to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! We will walk from EcoCamp towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower’s eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic base-view of the Towers – Three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a well-deserved dinner.
Travel to Punta Arenas via Puerto Natales. Overnight at Punta Arenas.
After breakfast, we will board our vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride to Punta Arenas for a farewell celebration dinner.
Our Patagonian adventure ends this morning as we depart Punta Arenas for home.
Arrive country of origin.
As we expect from Alpine Ascents, the quality of the accommodations and guides was exceptional. Clearly Jose Luis is a very experienced expedition climbing guide. The local guides (Rodigo, Roberto, and Jonas) were all very knowledgeable about local fauna, flora and geology. They were great.