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Spanish Highs Patagonia Icecap Expedition 2014

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Patagonian Icecap Expedition page - Ruta de las Nunataks - Nov, Dec 2014

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Itinerary - "Ruta de las Nunataks" 2014

The objective of the trip is to make a long glacier tour on the western side of the icecap visiting Nunataks Witte and Videma. Possible ascent of Cerro Mariano Moreno

Weather affected back up plan is our normal route traversing the Southern Patagonian Icecap from Paso Marconi to Paso del Viento.

14th November
Arrival El Calefate airport. Transfer to El Chalten (3hrs).
15th November
Day in El Chalten buying food and provisions. Team meeting and discussion. Visit National Park Office. Get passports stamped and authorised by Gendarmerie. Tent erection practice in high winds!
16th November
Private transport to trailhead at Rio Electrico. Walk to refugio at Piedra del Fraile (Los Troncos) through fine woodland and riverside scenery. Level, sheltered and good, clean water available.
17th November
Move up to "La Playita" campsite by the side of Lago Electrico. Cross some small hills and then the Rio Pollone before it becomes in spate. Over an awkward section of loose terrain and a headland before dropping down to sheltered camp by lake. Great views up the Pollone valley to Fitzroy NW face and Cerro Pollone.
18th November
Big day. 1000m ascent to the Icecap via the Marconi Glacier and Paso Marconi. From camp we rise to the base of the Marconi glacier via a loose section of old moraine. Then we get onto the easy lower glacier and cross a medial moraine before reaching the base of the Seracs. From here the ground steepens until we top out on gentler terrain leading slowly and inexorably towards the Paso Marconi. This section is mentally tough and the winds are usually strong as the Marconi pass becomes a funnel for the winds coming from the west. On reaching the slight decine onto the campo de Hielo Sur some relief is felt. We set up our snow walls and tents on the icecap.
19th November
Heading south-west into the heart of the icecap towards Nunatak Witte. Camp.
20th November
Attempt on Cordón Mariano Moreno from the east ridge. First ascent by Walter Bonatti, Carlo Mauri, Folco Doro Altan and Rene Eggmann in February 1958. Return to camp (possible intermediate bivouac).
21st November
Traverse southwards on the weatern icecap to Nunatak Viedma. A relatively gentle day with superb views if clear. The feeling is one of being at sea and it is difficult to get a sense of scale.
22nd November
South east crossing the upper Viedma glacier coming off the icecap and rising up towards a small refuge below Paso Viento.
23rd November
We traverse to the base and then steeply up to the Paso del Viento. Then it's down towards the Tunel Glacier with marvellous views northwards towards Cerro's Grande and Solo. We cross the lower Tunel glacier and then loose moraines before eventually dropping down to a sandy campsite alongside the tranquil Lago Toro.
24th November
Next day walk out to El Chalten. After crossing the waist deep Rio Toro, we have a 16km walk out with a 500m ascent along the way. Great views along the way though, over to the turquoise Lago Viedma and back to Fitzroy and Cerro torre. We encounter green forests and fields of flowers, a contrast after the white of the icecap. We drop down to El chalten for a welcome return to civilisation!
24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Spare days for bad weather. El Chalten
4th December
Bus to airport at El Calafate. Flights home

Signals from Yellowbrick Tracker

Once the expedition starts hourly position signals will be displayed on the map below. First test signals from El Chalten expected 15th November

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Map and Route 2014

map and routes 2014