Patagonian Icecap November 2016 & Ascent of Cerro Mariano Moreno

Details of our proposed expedition in November 2016 to the Patagonian Icecap to climb the remote peak of Cerro Mariano Moreno (3462m). It is the third highest peak in Patagonia and is rarely climbed. It is the highest summit in the Cordon Mariano Moreno massif, in the centre of the icecap and is accessible only by lengthy trekking over the many glaciers.

Cerro Mariano Moreno from Paso Marconi

Cerro Mariano Moreno from Paso Marconi

The first ascent was done by the remarkable Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri in February 1958. Starting from a camp below Cordon Adela they completed the ascent in a very tough 30 hours non stop!


Dates – Expedition start 26th November (arrival El Chaltén a few days before)
Duration – allow 14 days, which gives some leeway for bad weather days en route
Numbers – minimum 5 clients, maximum 8 clients
Difficulty – 131km and 4200m ascent (via Rio Electrico and Paso Marconi)

Itinerary (days)

1. Rio Electrico Trailhead to La Playita camp (7hrs/250m)
2. Ascent to Paso Marconi/Ref Eduardo Garcia Soto (8hrs/1500m) – a tough day up onto the icecap!
3. Head west across the icecap to set up Base Camp 1 below the mountain (8hrs/100m)
4. Into the glacier bowl north of the peak to set up Base Camp 2 (7hrs/500m)
5. Summit day and return to Base Camp 2 (12hrs/1250m)
6. Return down the glacier to Base Camp 1 on west side of icecap (6hrs/0m)
7. Across the icecap SE to Circo de las Altares below Cerro Torre (8hrs/50m) – a magical place to camp
8. South to find the upper Viedma Glacier and exit icecap to camp at Laguna Ferrari (6hrs/150m)
9. Over the Paso del Viento, cross Tunel glacier snout and decend to Lago Toro. Camp (6hrs/200m)
10. Long walk back to El Chalén through valleys and high moorland (7hrs/400m)
N.B days 11, 12, 13 and 14 are reserved for bad weather

Alternative bad weather descend from Base Camp 1 starting day 7
1. East across the icecap to Paso Marconi/Ref Eduardo Garcia Soto (7hrs/50m)
2. Down through the seracs of the Marconi Glacier to La Playita camp and onto Refugio Piedra del Fraile (9hrs/150m)
3. Easy walk out to trailhead and transport at Rio Electrico


€1325 per person
Included – Mountain guiding. Group first aid kit. GPS (Global Positioning System). Satellite communications. 2 airport transfers. Transfer to Rio Electrico trailhead.
Not Included – Food and lodging in El Chaltén (camping/guest house/hotel). Personal equipment and food
Optional – group hire of 2 porters (carrying 15kg of group weight each) €270
We can assist with planning, transportation to El Chaltén and accommodation options in the town itself.

Who will this suit?

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 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 (at extra cost).

Map keys for sat images below
Red dotted line – approach via Paso Marconi, Paso de Cuatro Glaciares
Blue dotted line – our normal Icecap traverse route from Paso Marconi to Paso del Viento and Tunel Valley
Yellow dotted line – Very long approach from Lago Desierto via Candelario Mancilla, La Carmela, Glaciar Chico, Paso de Cuatro Glaciares

Approaches to Cerro Mariano Moreno

Approaches to Cerro Mariano Moreno (click to zoom in)

Cerro Mariano Moreno Sat Image

Cerro Mariano Moreno Sat Image (click to zoom in)

2014 Expedition Photo Gallery

This entry was posted in Expeditions, Patagonia & Andes.