On arrival at the Balmaceda airport, you will be met by our local representative. We have a long drive ahead of us, down the Austal road to Puerto Guadal, so it is important you arrive no later than 12:00*. The drive will take us by Coyhaique, the capital of the Aysen region. If time allows, we will make a stop at the La Capilla de Marmol (the marble chapel) which is a magnificent marble cave, sculpted over eons by wind and water, set on the emerald green to turquoise blue waters of the General Carrera Lake. The lake is shared by Argentina and Chile, the fourth largest and largest in each respectively. We will spend the night at a charming lodge, which has a spectacular view of the lake and partake our first Patagonian dinner together as a group.
Note: Due to flight schedules it may be necessary for an additional night pre tour in Coyhaique and we can help you book these additional arrangements.
Full day of preparation and expedition briefing. Terra Luna lodge.
While the group makes its way to Lake Leones peninsula via jet boat & zodiac, a helicopter transports loads to Campo Italiano, and then a short ride on the helicopter to Campo Italiano. We set the camp with a fantastic panorama on the East side of the Northern icecap mountain range.
Cross the icecap using snow shs to reach Raton camp. We first have to climb 200m on a snow slope with crevasses to get to the pass that leads to the icefield. Once in this spectacular alpine environment we descend 200m and begin a long traverse (11kms) to reach a rocky ridge with an extraordinary view on the ice cap. A long day of about 8 hours on the ice cap, sharing the work of pulling a sled and carrying your full pack, before establishing camp for the evening, which generally takes about 2 hours, depending on the conditions.
Climb to Terrace Camp. A steady climb of about 500m to a pass between Mount Tobler and Fiero with extraordinary views of the Northern Patagonian Icefield with Mount San Valentin in the background. We camp just below the pass in front of the mountain. Again, crossing the Ice Cap involves pulling a sled and using snow shs and this will take some time getting used to for those unfamiliar with the process. We will assist you in rigging your sled and demonstrating the various techniques for using snow shs on glaciated terrain.
Long traverse of about 9km on a steady incline to set our camp at the base of San Valentin. We are now above 3000m, so pulling a sled and carrying a heavy pack will feel more exhausting at this altitude. But we have arrived at the base of San Valentin, and from here will launch our bid for the summit.
This is the most serious part of the expedition. Summit day involves a long traverse on an exposed ridge, steep at parts up to 45 degrees, with high winds common. After 2-3hrs on the ridge we finally reach the summit plateau which leads slowly to the summit mushroom that we have to climb to reach the summit. We then need to recount our steps back to high camp, a long and exhausting day of 12+hrs of continuous climbing. 3 contingency days set aside in the case of poor weather. Sleds and snow shs are not used on summit day, but rather traditional climbing gear.
Return to Raton Camp via the same route we took earlier in the expedition.
Return to Italian Camp via the same route we took earlier in the expedition.
Helicopter flight to Peninsula to get down to Terra Luna (with zodiac and jet or cars), while equipment is sent directly to the lodge by helicopter.
Rest and reorganisation day. Overnight Terra Luna lodge.
Journey by road to Balmaceda for the 17:30 flight to Santiago and Puerto Montt.