Backpacking Patagonia ? Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares National Park

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4?12
Activity level
Starting from
$3,499 for REI Members
$3,999 for non-members
Departures Nov 2020-Apr 2021

Spend 8 days hiking and backpacking in Argentine Patagonia?one of the world?s most epic playgrounds.

Patagonia. Few places in our world can rival the remote and rugged natural beauty of this land at the end of the world. This 8-day adventure features epic hiking through meadows and lenga forests, across moraines and alongside glaciers, and to viewpoints that will take your breath away?if the wind hasn?t already. Our adventure begins in the small outpost of El Chalten, the trekking capital of Patagonia. From our comfortable lodge we embark on day hikes to Lago Torre and Laguna de Los Tres. These trails offer spectacular vistas of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy.

After warming up on these popular trails we embark on our backpacking trip that ventures into the undiscovered heart of Patagonia. We trek past iceberg-laden bays and over high passes to reach unparalleled views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the second-largest non-polar ice mass in the world. Our guides not only lead the way and whip up impressive meals, they also know all about the natural history of the region and can regale us with tales of climbing adventures by night. Patagonia is a place where nature reigns supreme, making this an experience unlike any other and a rewarding accomplishment for avid backpackers.

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Trip Highlights

  • Spend four days backpacking 40+ miles on the Huemul loop in Los Glaciares National Park
  • Hike to Lago Torre and Laguna de Los Tres, enjoying epic views of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy
  • Camp under the stars far from the crowds
  • Follow expert local guides on this all-inclusive backpacking adventure

Activities

This trip is rated Strenuous [5]. On the first few days you will be hiking 13 miles per day with only your daypack and elevation gains of up to 3,000'. Days 4?7 you will carry your fully loaded backpack with sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal gear weighing 35?45 pounds over steep and rocky terrain with constant and dramatic elevation gain and loss of up to 4,000' per day on most days covering distances of 8?11 miles each day. One day you?ll cross a river via a Tyrolean Traverse?similar to a zip line. The scenery in Patagonia is epic, but so is the weather. While you will not be at high altitudes, the weather is extremely variable and you should be prepared to deal with all possibilities. This is not a beginning backpacking trip. Previous experience is required, as is a physician?s release prior to participating. You must be a very fit hiker capable of carrying a 35?45 pound backpacks

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Airport transfers on Day 1 and one group transfer on Day 8; Professional guide leadership; porters to help with group gear; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; tents; group cooking gear; group first aid kit; campsite, national park and permit fees.

Accommodations

Hotels and lodges, 4 nights. Backcountry camping, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in El Calafate, Patagonia.

This trip begins in El Calafate, Argentina. Plan to meet your guide and fellow travelers at the first night's hotel at 6:30pm for orientation. Dinner in El Calafate will be after the orientation. Dinner included.

Day 2

Transfer to El Chalten and hike to Laguna Torre.

This morning we rise early, have breakfast at the hotel, then depart for El Chalt�n. Our route takes us around the southeastern shores of Lago Argentino, South America's third largest body of water, and past picturesque Lago Viedma. As we drive, we witness the granite fin of Mount Fitz Roy rising up behind the turquoise waters of the lakes, and we?ll likely spot some �and� (a flightless bird similar to an ostrich). Upon arrival at El Chalt�n we start hiking on the Cerro Torre trail. We arrive at the first Mirador (lookout) after 1.5 hours of gentle uphill hiking and enjoy inspiring views of Cerro Torre, Fitz Roy and other nearby peaks. Continuing along a mostly flat, scenic trail which traces the original glacial valley, through patches of lenga forest, we finally reach Laguna Torre. The lagoon features the Torre glacier calving in the far side, and the Cerro Torre group and spires rising in the background. Upon returning to El Chalt�n we overnight in our hosteria for the next two nights. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.?

Hiking: 13 miles, Elevation gain: +1,950'; Van transfer: 3 hours

Day 3

Hike to Laguna de Los Tres and take in the majesty of Mount Fitz Roy.

After breakfast, we drive to the trailhead and begin our hike toward Mount Fitz Roy, following the R�o El�ctrico River to its junction with the R�o Blanco, then turning south to make our way closer to the foot of the peaks. Along our route, we identify a variety of colorful flowers, unique plants and several species of birds. Hiking uphill, we stop at the basecamp area where climbers stage their expeditions to Fitz Roy's summit and enjoy the craggy panorama. Resuming our climb, we continue ascending the steep zig-zag trail to Laguna de los Tres (2 additional miles roundtrip and 1,300' elevation gain). From this small lake, we have outstanding, close-up views of the nearly vertical rock walls of Fitz Roy's east face, the impressive spire to the south called the Poincenot Needle, and the unusually blue, Piedras Blancas glacier. Following a picnic lunch, we return to the basecamp area and continue along the valley floor to the trailhead near El Chalt�n. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 13 miles, Elevation gain: +3,150'

Day 4

Start the Huemul Circuit.

Today we start our backpacking circuit. After departing from Chalten, we shoulder our packs and start the hike to Laguna Toro. Today?s hike passes through pristine meadows and lenga forests, offering spectacular views of the Fitz Roy range and Cerro Torre from a different perspective. We arrive at our tranquil forest camp in the afternoon and have time to settle in and explore before our first trail dinner together. All meals included.

Backpacking: 11 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,445'/-1,560'

We use 4 season tents for this trip. We spend all three nights of the itinerary in primitive, beautiful backcountry campsites without running water or toilet facilities. Your guides will discuss proper Leave No Trace procedures.

Day 5

Zipline over the Tunel River and hike to Paso del Viento.

It?s not every day you get to zipline in the Patagonian wilderness! Our first challenge of the day is crossing the Rio Tunel. Guides have fixed a Tyrolean Traverse?similar to a zipline?across the river. Our expert guides fit us into harnesses and help us to zip across the river. After crossing, we start the uphill trek to Viento Pass (Windy Pass). The hike is well worth the effort as we enjoy unparalleled views of the Southern Ice Field, the second largest non-polar ice cap in the world. We descend from Paso Viento to arrive at our secluded and protected camp. All meals included.

Backpacking: 8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,625'/-1,800'

Day 6

Hike to Viedma Lake.

From camp,From camp, the trail skirts the western slopes of Cerro Huemul for 3 or 4 hours before we start our climb to Paso Huemul, where we soak in our final views of the ice cap. Today?s trail is a balcony hike, offering splendid aerial views of the ice fields and Viedma Glacier for the majority of the day. What goes up must come down, so our afternoon includes a (very) steep descent from the pass through the forest to the idyllic meadows below. Our day ends on the shore of Viedma Lake, an iceberg-filled lagoon with privileged views of the Chalten area. All meals included.

Backpacking: 9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,425'/-3,560'

Day 7

Return to El Chalten.

Our final day of backpacking starts with an epic sunrise over the lake and Viedma glacier, with Huemul peak in the distance. Icebergs float serenely in the water before us as we gear up for the walk out. A pleasant trail crosses the grassy steppe to arrive at Bahia Tunel, where our driver will be waiting for us. We transfer back to Chalten, arriving at our hotel in the afternoon with time to shower and rest before our celebratory dinner this evening. All meals included.

Backpacking: 11 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,150'/-1,150'

Day 8

Transfer to El Calafate for departures.

Bid a fond farewell to El Chalten and Mount Fitz Roy. This morning, after breakfast, we transfer from El Chalten to El Calafate. Choose to fly home this afternoon or extend your time in Calafate. Breakfast included.

Van transfer: 3 hours

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.