Ascent of Cerro Gorra Blanca, Patagonia
Guided ascent of Gorra Blanca, a great mountain climb on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field
Your chance to climb a magnificent Patagonian mountain! Gorra Blanca 2907m is one of the most beautiful and complete mountain expeditions in the area.
You can either choose this five-day programme or combine it with our classic tour around the Southern Icecap. It is a glacier itinerary and non technical, although the guide will need to use both axes up the final snow mushroom to secure the route to the summit.
Gorra Blanca is just north of Paso Marconi in the Southern Ice Field so the views are spectacular. To the south we see all the northern side of the Fitz Roy Massif and the impressive hidden and rarely seen peak of Cerro Piergiorgio.Physical Demand: Very Tough
Is this for you?
- These expeditions are run on demand from October to April each year. Allow 7 days in total. Due to the difficult nature of the expedition we try to keep the group small but need a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 clients.
- These are extremely demanding trips BUT..... with the right mental attitude you can be assured the experience of a lifetime!
- Participants do not need great technical experience but should be able to use crampons and ice axe efficiently. Also basic crevasse rescue techniques are an advantage (our winter skills courses would be ideal). You should also be comfortable with "camp life" and making your own meals. A certain level of discomfort should be expected.
- A good mountain spirit and collaboration of all expedition members is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience. The weight of group items has to be shared between members . Besides the weather (expect cold temperatures, snowfall and high speed winds), you should be prepared to carry up to 20/25 kgs on your backpack and be able to walk on very uncomfortable ground i.e. glacier moraines, screes, glacial ice and snow. It is also expected that you help setting up/breaking camp and cooking. Extra porters are available if required.
- Our guides are fully experienced in the area so expedition members will have to accept all decisions regarding weather, safety, member’s lack of ability and itinerary modifications of any degree.
For those going on Expeditions to Patagonia, Polar or Greater Ranges we run a short 2 day "Expedition Preparation Course" which can be "bolted on" to our existing Winter Skills Mountaineering or Alpine Introduction Courses
Itinerary - Ascent of Gorra Blanca
- Day 0 - Group meeting in El Chalten
- Group meeting and gear check. The guides and assistants will be introduced; they will give an itinerary review and a general briefing of the expedition. Also, you will have the opportunity to clear all remaining questions and doubts.
- Day 1 - El Chalten to Lago Electrico
- Bus transfer to Rio Electrico. Here we start walking for 2 hours to reach the Piedra del Fraile base camp. The trail is mostly flat and protected by forest. Another 3 hour trek alongside the moraines bordering Lago Electrico. We ford the Rio Pollone and later arrive at “La Playita” (Camp I) on the western side of the lake. Great views of Mt FitzRoy NW face! ESTIMATED TIME: 6 hs. APROX. ELEVATION GAIN: 150m.
- Day 2 - Ascent to Paso Marconi
- We pass over loose moraine and polished glacier rocks to access the lower Marconi glacier. The lower glacier is easy but spectacular. At half height we reach a steep corner alongside huge seracs. This difficulty is soon passed and we are then onto the upper slopes leading to Paso Marconi. We set up Camp II on Paso Marconi. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of some of the surrounding mountains such as Gorra Blanca, PierGiorgio, and Volcano Lautaro. A vast white landscape and snowcapped mountains will be all around us. We spend the night at Refugio Gorra Blanca on the northern side of the pass. ESTIMATED TIME: up to 10 hours depending on glacier and weather conditions. APROX. ELEVATION GAIN: 900m.
- Day 3 - Climb to the summit 2907m
- Today is our summit attempt. If the weather conditions are not favorable we wait for the next day. We will be roped up, crampons on and ice axe to hand. Slopes are approx 30 to 40 degrees, but steeper on the final mushroom to the summit. The mushroom is constantly being shaped by the wind, so the route and difficulty constantly changes. The summit will be simply unforgettable! Afterwards we return to the refuge. ELEVATION GAIN: 1400m.
- Days 4 and 5
- After a 900m climb to Paso Marconi and then a 1400m ascent to the summit we will be very tired. There are different options for days 4 and 5. Resting on day 4 and going back to El Chalten on day 5; to descend to “La Playita” camp on day 4 and on day 5 to El Chalten; or just keep the extras days to wait for the right weather. In Patagonia we must leave our options open!
- Days 6 and 7
- These days are reserved in case of delay due to bad weather or rest days.