Guided 4 day trek around Cerro Huemul, Patagonia

Guided 4 day trek around Cerro Huemul, Patagonia

The Cerro Huemul Circuit - one of the best multi day guided treks in Patagonia!

Off the beaten path and conceived as a short and less technical trek to the Southern Ice Field Expedition, this circuit is becoming a classic in the area. It offers fantastic views of Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and the Southern Ice Field from Paso del Viento. The way goes along wild rivers, beech forests, glaciers, and lakes. Condors fly overhead. Outstanding views of the Lake Viedma and the Viedma Glacier make this circuit one of the most recommendable and enjoyable treks of the northern area of Los Glaciares National Park. A tyrolean rope over the Tunel River (depending on the size of the river it can be forded), a short glacier crossing on the Tunel Glacier and occasional snow patches are the only technical obstacles.

Grade: Challenging

Is this for you?

  • These expeditions are run on demand from October to April each year. 4 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.
  • 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 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, 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.

Itinerary - The Huemul Circuit

Day 1 - El Chalten to Laguna Toro
Start from El Chalten (450m). After a short stop at the National Park Visitor Center we take the trail to Laguna Toro and Pliegue Tumbado. The well marked path climbs through beautiful beech trees to the timberline (1000m) at the base of the Pliegue Tumbado Ridge. From here we descend to the Tunel River Valley until the Laguna Toro campsite (650m). We'll have a chance to see the southern side of Fitz Roy and Cerro Solo. Total time: 6 hs.
Day 2 - Laguna Toro to Refugio Ferrari via Paso del Viento
After walking around the lake we have to cross the upper section of the Tunel River. Depending on the conditions we will either wade through or take the Tyrolean rope further upstream. Then we pass alternatively through loose rocks, moraines and beautifully exposed bedrock to reach the Tunel Glacier. This is usually easy to cross. Then we have a steep climb following scree slopes to Paso del Viento (Windy Pass 1500m). On the way there are great views of the Tunel and Quervain glaciers and Mt Fitz Roy. Once at the “Paso” the immense beauty of the Ice Field will be in full sight. From here we descend to a refugio built by the “Ice field National Institute” (900m) where we spend the second night. Total time: 7-8 hs.
Day 3 - Refugio Ferrari, Paso Huemul and Bahia Tempanos
Today we walk along the western and southern flanks of Cerro Huemul (2677m) and to our right the Viedma Glacier will always be in sight. The trail appears and disappears as a result of the relatively few hikers here than in the rest of the area. After reaching Paso Huemul we go down to the timberline. Depending on our remaining energy we shall try to go down to the lake as the treeline is a delicate environment we dont want to disturb. The beauty of this location is hard to beat: the lake, glacier Viedma, condor’s nesting in the cliffs. A steep descent leads the way to the lake and Bahia Tempanos (Icebergs Bay) at 250m. Total time: 7 hs.
Day 4 - Lago Viedma to El Chalten
From our camp at the Viedma Lake (250m) we'll walk 5 hours on relatively flat faded old trails or off trail to “Estancia Rio Tunel” in Bahia Tunel. Here we will be picked up by car and then driven to El Chalten (40 mins). Another option available would be to take a boat to Bahia Tunel, where the Tunel River comes into the lake (1hr walk) and then finally a vehicle to El Chalten by road. Estancia Rio Tunel is an old sheep ranch funded by Scandinavian settlers.
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