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Report from our expedition to the Patagonian Icecap in November 2016 The expedition was beset by unsettled weather and enforced route changes due to unseasonal warm weather.
Summary The plan was to access the Patagonian Icecap via Paso Marconi as usual but then head off across the icecap to climb the remote and rarely climbed peak of Cerro Mariano Moreno. Due to the collapse of the Marconi glacier a new access route had to be found NW of Playita up to Laguna de los 14 and onto the lower Glacier Gorra Blanca Sur.
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, Patagonia The first ascent was done by the remarkable Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri in February 1958.
Trip report, personal thoughts and recommendations after this years expedition to the Patagonian Icecap A trip report, photos and video links together with some personal thoughts, recommendations and musings after this years expedition to the Patagonian Icecap in November 2014 (by Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs)
The original plan to visit the “nunateks” of Witte and Viedma had to be cancelled due to warm and dangerous snow conditions. Instead we reverted to the normal traverse down the icecap from the Paso Marconi to Paso del Viento.
Soon we leave for Argentina and one of the last true wilderness areas on earth, the Patagonian Icecap. Who knows what adventures it will bring Thursday we leave for Argentina and one of the last true wilderness areas on earth, the Patagonian Icecap. Who knows what adventures it will bring? What surprises it has in store for us?
It’s been a long time coming, our last trip was in 2011 (and what a glorious expedition that was!
Twice I have been privileged to stand in awe, beneath one of the most natural cathedrals our mountain environments can provide. This is the Cirque de las Altares in southern Patagonia The Cirque is to be found on the western side of the Cerro Torre massif, at the eastern edge of the great southern icecap which stretches 300 miles long and 50 miles wide between Argentina and Chile. In fact this is the largest piece of ice outside the polar regions.
A collection of some of our favorite images from last years expedition to the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Last years trip to the Southern Patagonian Icefield was of of the most memorable expeditions we have ever been on. The contrast from the previous battering that the weather elements gave us in 2010 was marked. Unfortunately we are not going back in 2012 as we originally intended. Hopefully November/December 2013?
I recently came across the new Snapseed application from Nik Software and ran it through some of our photos from 2011.
As the dawn on a new year breaks it’s a good time to reflect on the past 12 months. 2011 has been unforgettable in so many ways There were ups and downs, of course (it is the mountains after all…..ha ha!), but experiences in the Sierra Nevada and Patagonia have shown me some insights I thought I’d share with you.
1. You can make a difference to your world no matter how small it seems!
Poem by Michelle Wakeley about her time spent on our recent Southern Patagonian Icecap Expedition THE ICE-CAP - SO WILD & STILL
On the vast icecap below Paso Marconi Finally, in El Chalten we arrive To face this southern cap of ice Our team of six come from far & wide Would we achieve her illusive prize?
The Patagonian gods mocked us with a sunny display Only to veil Cerro Fitzroy & Torre for days But with better reports, a little patience, We were on our way.
Becoming snowblind is one of the most debilitating hazards of being in the high mountains. This article relates my own personal experience on the Patagonian Icecap with this painful condition. I am not a medical expert and haven’t read up on all the facts, so if you want the medical stuff then do a Google Search. I relate below only my own experience.
Snowblind. Not a pretty sight! I guess after spending over 40 years walking in the mountains I’ve been lucky not to have contracted snowblindness before.
Sometimes a basic snow wall is not sufficient as the wind drops spindrift on the leeward side, burying tents. So what design would make them more efficient? Sometimes a basic snow wall is not sufficient to keep the elements at bay. The wind can drop spindrift on the leeward side thus burying the tents. Is there a solution in the way we can construct snow walls that would make them more efficient?
We bought the Yukon Down Jackets in an online sale. But how did they perform and stand up in the wilds of Patagonia? The ordering and delivery process- Easy. The website is well thought out and helpful. Sale items are identified and purchased with minimum fuss. We occasionally have problems with suppliers delivering to our home in Spain. In this case the delivery was prompt and, pleasingly, without such issues.
A report from Kiersten Rowland about her harrowing experiences on the Patagonian Icecap in November 2010 Two taxis arrive to take us to the trailhead at Rio Electrico. From the trailhead we walk a few hours through a forest to our camp at Los Troncos. You have to pay a small fee as you pass over private land, but on the plus side there is a small cabin where its your last chance to get food and drink.
Our own personal recommendations and help for mountaineers, trekkers and travellers visiting the town of El Chalten in southern Patagonia The town of El Chalten comes as a pleasant surprise. It is tucked away between some rock walls north west of the magnificent Lago Viedma in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. It has a clean and frontier feel to it and the people are genuinely warm, friendly and helpful.
The rescue efforts to aid 3 climbers continue on the Patagonian Icecap. 2 Argentine guides and their Mexican client are trapped on the Nunatek Viedma Unfortunately the Mexican did not survive and died from hypothermia. Yesterday, the helicopter could not reach the ice cave where the two guides await. If the weather does not improve, they will have to be evacuated on foot.
Mountaineering Patagonia Guide Office in EL Chalten closed yesterday If the continental ice sheet was not there then the Nunatak Viedma would be a mountain.
A summary of the Spanish Highs Patagonian Icecap Expedition 2010 which has just returned from Argentina We must have upset the weather gods. Unlike previous trips, this time Patagonia threw everything it had as us weather wise. Like other Argentine groups we sat for 3 or more days at La Playita campsite waiting for our chance to climb onto the icecap. During that time we were nearly blown away in gale force winds, got snowed in and once when flooded, had to build drainage diches in the middle of the night to allow excess water to escape.
In February 1958 both peaks were traversed in one amazing day by the incomparable Walter Bonatti and his climbing partner, Carlo Mauri. The beautiful Patagonian peaks of Cerro Adela and Cerro Grande lie south of the majestic and dramatic peaks of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitzroy. Yet in February 1958 both peaks, all those in between them, were traversed in one amazing day by the incomparable Walter Bonatti and his climbing partner, Carlo Mauri.
Report from Jane Fields on her experiences on the Patagonian Icefield Expedition in 2010 Patagonia Icefield Expeditions
Day 1 Rolling across the Patagonian Steppe on un-surfaced roads on a crowded bus was how this journey began. Nothing for miles but open grassland and hills on the horizon. My daydreams were interrupted by a stop at an Inn in the middle of nowhere where we were treated to coffee and delicious home-made cakes.