Guides and group sizes
Ratio is 1 guide/assistance per 3 guests. Maximum group size is 9 guests 1 guide and 2 assistants guide.
Difficulty and prerequisites
Guests must be comfortable using crampons to flat foot and front point on moderate angle ice up to 30 degrees.
These are all physically demanding days and participants must be in good hiking shape.
Guests are required to carry a backpack with their personal gear (clothes, sleeping bag, pad, etc), group (tents, pot, stoves, etc) and food. About 15 to 20 kg. Personal porters could be arranged in advance, if needed.
No mountaineering experience is required, however if you have had some, it helps a lot.
Participants are responsible for their own transportation to El Chaltén, Argentina. Your travel agent should be able to arrange this for you. You can get there by flying to Buenos Aires, and then fly to El Calafate. From there, you can get on a 4-hour bus journey or you we can arrange a private transfer.
The fame of the area regarding wind and fast changeable conditions are not a legend. Be ready to experience nature and all its beauties and power. We have one back up day, which can be used in La Playitabefore getting into Marconi Pass in case of bad weather.
Accommodation & Meals
All food during the expedition is included.
Please let us know of any special dietary requirements you have when booking.
If you need any help with your lodging, do not hesitate to ask us. We can find the best for your taste and budget.
El Chaltén is our meeting point and where the trip gets started. The youngest town in Argentina founded in 1985. It only has 350 inhabitants. We are going to use today to check every bodies gear, also we will be briefing the trip, the Continental Ice Field characteristics, and get any last minute details sorted. Hotel check-in and followed by dinner; possibly, some barbecued local lamb with a good Argentinean red wine?
We take a private bus to Puente del Rio Electrico (Electric river bridge), where our trek kicks off. We hike for 2 hours through Lenga and Ñires forest (Beach tree, Nothofagus family). We pass by Piedra del Fraile hut and camping ground; our last contact with civilization for few days. Leaving the camping and forest behind, we keep hiking in a U-shaped glacier created valley, most of the time on a moraine terrain. After an hour’s hike, we run into Pollone Valley where we have to wade the Rio Pollone; sometimes this is an adventure in itself. We follow Rio Electrico until its first beginnings: “La Playita” camp, a river bed that Electrico river has left for us to camp on. We’ll find rock protection for our tents. After a rest or, even better, a meal, we hike to Marconi’s snout to check the next day’s route. Altitude gained 100 meter, 14 km, and approx. 6 hours.
Today is the key day of the trek. Glacier Marconi is one of the accesses to the ice cap. Most winds and weather come from west/north and funnel through passes like this one. Therefore, weather/wind permitting, we get up early, have breakfast and hike. Depending on glacier conditions, the guide will decide which route to take betwenn 2. De los 14 lagoon with a tirolean rope, or through Marconi. We get on Marconi Glacier, a combination of bare ice and rock at first. We make our way to the base of “Cambio de Pendiente” (change of gradient). We rope up, put harness and crampons on. After a section of 40 degrees aprox and 1 hour on the ice, we reach Marconi Pass. A breath-taking view of the 3rd largest fresh-water ice mass in the world just in front of us! We appreciate Koliker Range, Lautaro Range, Gaea Range and Mariano Moreno Range. We set up camp on the ice cap or we may go by Refugio Gorra Blanca, depending on weather and physical conidition of the group. 900-meter altitude gain, 10 km, 8 to 10 hours.
After a very nice breakfast, we put down camp y we prepare for the descent. In our way down we will see all the west faces of Cerro Fitz Roy and its surrounding needles. We’ll spend the night in La Playita.
Return to El Chaltén passing the same way we came up. Depending on group desires, we can pass by Pollone valley, where more beatyful granite needle show up. Back to Piedra del fraile and after 2 more hours a transfer is gonna be waiting at rio electrico bridge. Check in Hosteria/hostel and a well-deserved diner, may be some “Cordero asado”, barbecued lamb and Vino tinto.