Where in the world do you want to go?
Mountaineers range far and wide within North America, venturing East, North and South from our home territory. The Pacific Northwest may be home to many wonderful places, but the rest of the country sometimes offers that little something that we can’t find locally. We venture across the expanse of this great continent to find outdoor adventure.
Lukla, Nepal farewell dinner (Geoff Morgan)
But why stop at the continental shelf? Take your backpack, skis or kayak to distant shores with The Mountaineers and at rates which can rarely be beaten.
Global Adventures, led by experienced leaders, have included Nepal, Bhutan, Ireland, Scotland, England, Switzerland and France. They range from strenuous ski tours to treks to walking trails.
Information about both of these types of outings is provided below as well as in the Mountaineer magazine. Global Adventures are announced anywhere from eight months to a year in advance. You must be a Mountaineers member to participate and a deposit is required. You can also find us on Facebook.
Think you might be interested in leading Global Adventures trips? Are you adept at trip planning, and love to share travel and adventure with groups of like-minded people? If you are already an experienced, certified Mountaineers activity leader, click here to find out about becoming a Global Adventures leader.
North American AdventuresClimbing in Red Rocks
Na Pali Backpack and Kauai Adventure
International AdventuresTrek the High Andes of Peru
Hiking England’s Lake District and Snowdonia National Park in North Wales
Trek Switzerland’s Via Alpina
Trek to Nepal’s Mt. Everest Base Camp or Climb from Mt. Everest to Makalu
Backpack the Patagonian Andes
Climbing in Red Rocks
April 11-15, 2014
Join Loni Uchytil Seattle Crag Chair for a classic Red Rocks outing April 11th through April 15th 2014. Spend 3 days climbing some of Red Rocks classic moderate multi pitch routes graded from 5.6 to 5.9. Climbers must be a Crag Course or Intermediate graduate or have comparable Trad climbing and leading skills. Every effort will be made to assure that you are climbing new routes and routes graded at your level of climbing ability. Climb Leaders John Rollins and John Rijhof will also be joining the group.
Itinerary: Arrive in Las Vegas Friday April 11th, climb Saturday through Monday, and return home to Seattle Tuesday, April 15.
Leaders: Loni, John and John have been Seattle Mountaineer Climb Leaders for several years and run and instruct multiple rock climbing courses throughout the year for the Seattle Program Center. They also have many years of climbing experience individually and have made multiple trips to Red Rocks for their own personal climbing enjoyment. Contact Loni if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trip Rating: The intent of this trip is that we can help show climbers the Red Rocks routes, help with route finding and leading on the routes. However, climbers are expected to be able to participate in the climbing and leading of the routes that they choose to climb. You must be confident and competent at building 3 point gear anchors, placing traditional gear both active and passive pro and have your own personal equipment including rack and ropes. You must be a graduate of a Mountaineers Crag course or Intermediate course or have equivalent experience or permission directly from Loni Uchytil.
Trip Price: $510 per person.
Price Includes: All transportation once you arrive in Las Vegas including pick up and drop off at the airport, Red Rocks Park entrance fees, 4 nights lodging at the LaQuinta in Summerlin—2 queen beds 4 people to a room and Breakfast included, and 3 days of climbing in the Red Rocks Canyons.
Price Excludes: Individual airfare to and from Las Vegas, lunch and dinner.
Registration: Register online! Full payment due when registrating.
Cancellation: A full refund will be given if the trip does not fill by March 11th, 2014. If the trip fills, Once you have paid your trip fee this amount is not refundable unless you can find a replacement climber for your spot.Back to top
Na Pali Backpack and Kauai Adventure
April 16-23, 2014
Lisa Berntsen along the Na Pali Coast
The Na Pali Coast is one of the most beautiful and remote areas on Kaua’i. The centerpiece of our 8-day Kaua’i adventure will be a three-day/two-night backpack along the eleven-mile Kalalau Trail, which winds along this rugged coastline, providing the only land access to legendary Kalalau Valley.
We will meet in Lihue, Kauai, and spend our first two nights at a beautiful resort right on the beach in Hanalei to unwind and prepare for our Na Pali backpack. Then, after the backpack we will spend our next three nights at upscale lodgings near the ocean in Poipu, in the drier southern part of Kauai, where we can snorkel or just lay on the beach. A Waimea Canyon hike is planned for our seventh day prior to departure on the 8th day. Group dinners will be included during our town stays, at great local restaurants. April is a great time to visit Kauai, beginning to dry out a bit (though rain can fall any day on the wet side of the island) with daytime temperatures around 80 and nighttime around 70, and airfares lower than the peak winter season.
Participants are expected to bring, and carry, their own backpack gear and food (we’ll shop for some backpack food after we arrive.) However, since we’ll be in the tropics, we can pack light! Gear sharing options will be discussed as we get closer to departure.
About the Leader: Lisa has been a climb leader through the Tacoma branch since 2005. In the past she has lead groups of friends on successful international trips. Lisa has personal experience on this backpack when she did it in 2011. To contact Lisa, email her at email@example.com or call 360-265-1336.
Strenuousness or Difficulty rating: Strenuous eleven-mile backpack with a 2500 foot elevation gain on the first and last days across steep cliffy terrain with many creek crossings.
Specific Participant Requirements (skills, certifications, experience): All participants must be Mountaineers members with an up-to-date waiver on file. Successful applicants must be in good aerobic condition, able to carry a 20-30 pound pack over steep terrain at a steady 1.5-2 mph pace on successive days, and with the gear and experience to pack appropriately and camp out of doors for multiple nights. Must have good balance on uneven sometimes slippery terrain, and must be comfortable with creek crossings and exposure to steep drop offs. Assistance can be provided as needed with gear and food planning.
Minimum and maximum number of participants: 5 to 11 (plus leader)
Trip Price (what is included and not included): The trip price is $1500. An additional $250 will be charged on March 1 if only 5 people have signed up. Included is lodging, all dinners in town, one lunch, stove fuel on backpack, transportation/gas, leader expenses and a Mountaineer service fee. Not included is: airfare, all backpack food, breakfasts, lunches, snacks, drinks and shopping.
Deposit Amount, Due Date and How to Register: The full registration fee will be due upon approval of participation. Leader approval is required to participate. Please download and fill out the application and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have been approved by the leader, call Mountaineers member services at 206-521-6001 to pay the fee and be added to the roster. Until you have paid the registration a spot cannot be held for you.
Cancellation Policy: A minimum $100 cancellation charge will be assessed if you must cancel from the trip for any reason, plus any non-refundable trip expenses incurred by that time.Back to top
Trek the High Andes of Peru
May 17-28 and May 30-June 11 2014
Informational meeting: To learn more about this Global Adventure, all are welcome to attend an informational meeting with the leader on Thursday, July 18, 6:30 p.m., at the Mercer Island Library, 4400 88th Ave. S.E.
“Machu Picchu is an outstanding example of man’s interaction with his natural environment. Standing 2,430 m above sea level, in the midst of a tropical mountain forest in an extraordinarily beautiful setting, Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height.” -- UNESCO
“The mountainous region of the Cordillera Blanca is where superlatives crash and burn in a brave attempt to capture the beauty of the place.” -- Lonely Planet Trekking in Peru
“The most beautiful mountain in the world.” -- German Alpine Club publication, Alpinismus,1966, referring to Cerro Alpamayo.
Summary: This outing combines a high level of physical challenge, the natural wonder of trekking among some of the highest mountains in the world, authentic high-Andes village culture and fabulous prehistoric Inca archaeological sites, all supplied within the highest standards of sustainable tourism. Participants can sign up for either or both of two linked 12-day trip segments. Preference for roster space will be given to people who sign up for both segments. Download the detailed itineraries.
From a starting point in Cusco, Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, we will begin our first 12-day segment with day hikes to colorful markets and diverse, fascinating Inca ruins. To further our acclimatization, we’ll take an overnight trek through remote alpine country and over three high passes, featuring dramatic mountain vistas and villages where we’ll interact with local weavers and school kids, and learn about sustainable development initiatives in the area. This segment of our trip culminates with a five-day trek on a seldom-travelled, dramatic and challenging high-mountain route ending at the citadel of Machu Picchu. We’ll spend a day-and-a-half there to experience this famous site at sunrise, tour its wonders with a knowledgeable guide, and climb to the famous viewpoint of Huayna Picchu, before heading back to Cusco by train to catch flights back to Lima and beyond. Our high point on this segment is 16,236 ft.
Next comes the 12-day Alpamayo Northern Circuit segment, a deep-Andes trekking adventure circling one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, starting from the Andean adventure hub of Huaraz, Peru. After a day exploring this lively town at the foot of the Andes, we’ll be transported deep into the mountains for an acclimatization day hike to a high glacial lake before arriving at our camp near the tiny village of Vaqueria, the jumping-off point for an 11-day guided trekking circuit through the heart of the Cordillera Blanca. From there, our route will pass some of the highest peaks in Peru, cross several 14,000-16,000 ft. passes and innumerable emerald glacial lakes, to the remote northern basecamp for 19,511 ft. Cerro Alpamayo, where we’ll have a free day to rest and explore before descending to the village of Hualcayan for transport back to civilization. Our high point on this segment is 15,482 ft.
Itinerary: We’ll travel in late May to early June, early winter in Peru and a bit chilly in the high country, but the dry season and the best chance for excellent weather on our treks (and early enough to miss the worst tourist crowds). We’ll meet in Cusco (fly through Lima); day hike for two days and trek for eight days around Cusco, ending with a day-and-a-half in Machu Picchu before taking the famous Vistadome train back to Cusco for a festive dinner marking the end of our first leg of this segment. Those taking the Alpamayo extension will meet in Huaraz two days later (convenient domestic flights available from Cusco to Lima and Lima to Huaraz) where we’ll convene for the start of our Alpamayo trek. At the end of the Alpamayo trek, after a chance for a hot shower, we’ll take a luxurious overnight bus back from Huaraz to Lima where our program ends after a tasty farewell dinner. Please note that the exact itineraries may change without notice due to weather or other circumstances.
On all our treks we’ll be fully supported with guides and pack animals carrying all of our gear, setting up cozy tent camps for us each night, and preparing tasty and substantial meals. You will only need to carry a daypack. Our itinerary is designed to acclimatize everyone gradually to the altitude to minimize the likelihood of illness. During our trip we’ll spend time with local businesses and NGOs sponsoring a range of sustainable development projects, including visiting a weavers’ co-op with some of the founders of Threads of Peru, a nonprofit group which promotes and preserves indigenous Quechua communities and weaving arts by connecting them to a global market.
Lodging: Basic hotels in villages (double occupancy), shared (two-person) tent accommodations on treks.
Food: Continental breakfasts and tasty, hearty dinners are provided while in town, and three filling meals plus afternoon tea each day are provided while on our treks. The trekking cooks pride themselves on their preparations of traditional and hearty Peruvian dishes. The towns of Lima, Cusco and Huaraz also feature a wide range of international and Peruvian specialties, known for their fusion between indigenous, European, African, and Asian cultures. Vegetarian options are readily available.
Leader: Cheryl Talbert has been a Mountaineers hike and backpack leader since 2009, and a Global Outings leader since 2011. She has led or co-led a number of extended backpacks in the US as well as successful trips and treks including Turkey, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Belize, Patagonia and Nepal. This will be her first trip to Peru.
Price: $2,700 for the 12-day Cusco segment, including 1.5 days at Machu Picchu; $1,900 for the 12-day Alpamayo Trek segment. A surcharge may be added if fewer than 12 people sign up for a segment or if exchange rates deteriorate significantly.
The price of the Cusco segment includes all ground transport, most meals, guides and camping support for all day tours and treks, plus entry fees and tickets for parks and historical sites. The price for the Alpamayo segment includes all ground transport and an overnight bus back to Lima from Huaraz, with one night’s lodging in Lima at the end; meals, guides and camping support during our trek, and park fees. Prices for both segments include an American Alpine Club membership (with international alpine rescue insurance), Mountaineers admin expense and a portion of the leader’s costs. The price does not include your international airfare ($1,200), any domestic flights within Peru ($150 each), additional hotel nights in Lima (though these can be arranged at cost plus a small club admin fee); lunches, snacks and drinks in town, gear rentals, optional tips for trekking guides, or any personal items.
Limit: Maximum of 14 Mountaineers, minimum of eight on an individual segment, including the leader.
Participant Requirements: Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. Both segments include strenuous hiking on rugged terrain at high elevations for multiple successive days without such amenities as showers or laundry. For this reason, participants need to be in excellent condition with good balance and confidence traveling on rough trail with a pack, and with the capability and willingness to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods. Recent experience with strenuous multi-day backpacking or trekking, a positive attitude, and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions will be very important. Successful trekking experience at high altitude would be beneficial but is not required.
Registration: Please download and complete the application form and email it to the leader. Please indicate whether you are signing up for the Cusco segment, the Alpamayo segment, or both. Preference in registration will be given to people who sign up for both segments. After the leader’s approval, please call The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001 with your credit card number and $1,000 deposit in order to hold your space for the trip. Registration will close on July 1, or whenever the trip fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip price is due by September 1. Through the next year the leader will provide extensive information and assistance to help participants prepare for a successful and informative journey.
Cancellation: If you cancel from either or both segments, you may receive a refund less non-recoverable expenses and a $100 administrative fee.Back to top
Hiking England’s Lake District and Snodonia National Park in North Wales
June 17 to July 7, 2014
Join Shari and Paul as they lead their 6th Mountaineer global adventure to the British Isles (their 37th overseas overall). After a flight to Manchester, England, our adventure begins in the Lake District of Cumbria in England’s far north west. Here we spend 13 nights accommodated in a trio of hotels giving us access to a large variety of this spectacular countryside. Our daily hikes, with day pack only, will take us up many of Britain’s highest peaks, i.e. Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet, the highest in England, Helvellyn, Great Gable, Fairfield, and the Langdale Pikes. Even though these peaks may seem small by comparison with our towering Cascades, make no mistake – they are plenty rugged. But that very ruggedness, in combination with the lovely pastoral valleys with their warm and welcoming pubs and cozy villages, provide a most welcoming adventure. All our hotels are beautifully situated near the shores of the lakes of Derwentwater and Windermere.
Following our 2 weeks in Cumbria, we are whisked west to north Wales, a land of brooding fells and narrow glens, where we find a still rugged, but changed landscape, as well as a new language. You may not understand Welsh, but you will know when you hear it. Here we are housed for 5 nights in the charming village of Betws-y-Coed, just outside the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park. From here, we can access the great massif of Snowdon, at 3,560 feet, the highest in Britain. We will also plan to spend time on top of Tryfan and the Glyders (Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr), with perhaps a visit to Conwy castle thrown in for a change of pace.
We have chosen the best time to visit this part of England in terms of weather and long days for walking. Our trip, as planned, includes full English breakfast in each lodging, 6 multi-course dinners, maps, all ground transportation, en suite accommodation for 19 nights, as well as airport transfers, leader fee, and administrative expenses. Not included are lunches for 19 days (+2 travel days), beverages (other than those included with breakfast and evening meal), 12 evening meals, air travel, basic overseas medical/evacuation insurance (required), and any non-group expenses. Lunches are generally eaten in village pubs or purchased at a sandwich shop or local grocers in our home village. Evening meals are taken in our hotel, or in a local pub or restaurant. A valid passport is required.
Trip Classification: Pace is moderate, but steady, and trails are rough and often steep. If you think of England as all rolling green hills and easy walking, you are envisioning the south, not the north. Participants must be physically able to handle the requirements of the trip and participation is subject to leader approval.
Trip Dates: We depart Seattle on Tuesday, 17 June, and arrive Manchester, England on Wednesday 18 June. The next 13 nights are spent in the Lake District and are followed by 5 nights in North Wales. We return to Manchester Airport on the evening of Sunday, 06 July and return to the US on Monday 07 July.
Total trip price is $3,650. Please contact the leader, Shari Hogshead, email@example.com, for a trip application and leader approval. Once approved, a deposit of $2,150 is required, with the balance of $1,500 due on February 1, 2014. Trip is limited to 16 persons, including leaders.
The leaders have lived in the north of England several times, and are extremely pleased to be bringing a compatible group of Mountaineer hikers to this magnificent area.Back to top
Trek Switzerland’s Via Alpina
September 1-25, 2014
Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau
"The World’s Best Hike" -- Backpacker, May 2010
"Every day lives up to its promise. Each day begins with the prospect of wandering for hour after hour through valleys coloured by wild flowers, streams, crags and waterfalls, cowbells and birdsong, remote farms and hay barns, pasture and woodland flanked mountains whose sheer scale tends at times to catch your breath with a sense of wonder. The scenic diversity is astonishing. Some of the valleys glisten with tarns. Some are backed by glacial tongues that project from mountain recesses; others are crusted with moraine deposits left by retreating ice-sheets a thousand years and more ago. Some of the valleys are gentle, pastoral swathes - great grass-bedded hammocks slung between mountain ridges – while some have been scoured by ice into deep U-shaped trenches, like that of the Weisse Lütschine; an incredible sight that comes as a surprise no matter how often one has seen it." -- Alpine Pass Route by Kev Reynolds
Slide Show: You are invited to a free 2-part program about European Alps trekking. The program will be Friday January 17, 2014 at 7:00pm in The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center Cascade Room. In the first part, we will show slides from The Mountaineers 2013 Austria Zillertal trek. In the second part, Craig Miller will discuss The Mountaineers 2014 Switzerland Via Alpina (space available for you).
Summary: The European Alps’ center is Switzerland. The Alpine Pass Route is the classic long hike across Switzerland. This outing combines spectacular Alpine scenery, European culture, delicious food, and very strenuous hiking (340 kilometers and 18,000 meters elevation gain, similar to California’s John Muir Trail). Our traverse has glaciated 4,000-meter mountains, Grindelwald, Eiger North Face, 16 alpine passes, deep valleys, high waterfalls, edelweiss, clean charming villages, cheese, pastries, and chocolate. You carry only a daypack because the hotels, hostels, and dormitories have blankets and food. Listen for yodeling, alpenhorns, church bells, and cow bells! Gawk at some of the highest waterfalls and most spectacular mountains in Europe! And relax in tidy car-free villages!
Itinerary: September is a wonderful month for climate, less snow, lower creek crossings, fewer people, and no bugs. We will fly from the USA to Zurich, tour Zurich, train to Sargans, trek Switzerland’s Via Alpina (Swiss Alpine Pass Route) from east to west, train from Montreux to Geneva, tour Geneva, and then fly home. To help conserve the environment, the leader will clean the trails. Download the daily itinerary
Rating: Very Strenuous
Requirements: You will need excellent cardio-vascular fitness, endurance, balance, and confidence ascending and descending unstable rocky terrain.
Lodging: Hotels (double occupancy), hostels, and dormitories.
Food: Most meals are provided. They are a nutritious variety of Swiss cuisine including raclette, rosti, fresh breads, meats, cheese fondue, pastries, and chocolate!
Leader: Craig Miller lived in Switzerland a year, learned to ski in Murren, ski mountaineered four Swiss Alps traverses, hiked and climbed the Swiss Alps, led The Mountaineers’ Austria Zillertal trek in 2013, and speaks some German and French (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Price: $4,000. The price includes September 4 train from Zurich to Sargans, some buses and cable cars, lodging, most food, September 24 train from Montreux to Geneva, The Mountaineers administrative expense, and a portion of leader cost. The price excludes your international airfare (about $1,100), valid passport, some meals, drinks, and personal items.
Registration: Please answer the application questions, and email them to the leader. After the leader’s approval, please telephone The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001; give them your credit card number, and $1,000 deposit. After your deposit is received, the leader will send you a series of many email letters with information to help you prepare for this outing. Your balance is due May 1.
Limit: Minimum 4 participants. Maximum 12 participants. You must be a Mountaineers member. If you are not a member, then it is easy to join.
Cancellation: If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less expenses incurred and $100 administrative fee.Back to top
Trek to Nepal’s Mt. Everest Base Camp or Climb from Mt. Everest to Makalu
Trek October 8-28, 2014 or Climb October 8 - November 8, 2014
Mt. Everest back left and Makalu back right (Geoff Morgan)
"It’s not the mountain one must conquer, but one’s self." -- Sir Edmund Hillary
Slide Show: You are invited to a free two-part program about Himalayan trekking and climbing. The program will be Friday January 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm in The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center Cascade Room. In the first part, we will show slides from The Mountaineers 2013 Nepal Mustang trek. In the second part, Craig Miller will discuss The Mountaineers 2014 Nepal Khumbu trek or climb (space available).
Summary: This outing combines the highest peaks on Earth, Himalayan culture, and mountaineering history. Nepal is a fascinating country with spectacular scenery, ancient Hindu and Buddhist religions, and friendly people. We will all trek up to the Khumbu region’s classic Mt. Everest viewpoint at Kala Patar and Mt. Everest base camp. Climbers will continue on to summit a peak and then over three very high passes to Makalu. The trek is a strenuous hike; the climb is very strenuous because of the altitude. Porters will haul your overnight gear, so you carry only a daypack.
Itinerary: This is a good time of year because there is usually excellent weather for views and photography. Fly from the USA to Kathmandu. One day (two nights) in Kathmandu with guided tour of three world heritage sites. Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla. We will all trek up to the Sherpa village Namche Bazaar, Buddhist Tengboche monastery, the best Mt. Everest (highest mountain in the world) viewpoint at Kala Patar (18,450 feet), Mt. Everest base camp, sleeping in lodges. Trekkers return to Lukla and fly to Kathmandu.
Climbers continue on to summit Pokalde, up and over three 20,000-foot passes to Makalu (fifth highest mountain in the world), down the Arun River to Tumlingtar, camping, and fly to Kathmandu. To help conserve the environment, the leader will clean the trails.
After your trek or climb, you will have a free day in Kathmandu on your own. Included that evening is a Nepal cultural dinner with traditional live music and folk dancers. Fly from Kathmandu to the USA.
Rating: Trek is strenuous. Climb is very strenuous.
Requirements: Everyone will need excellent cardiovascular fitness, endurance, balance, and confidence ascending and descending unstable rocky terrain. Climbers must have completed The Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course or equivalent. You must be a Mountaineers member. If you are not a member, then it is easy to join.
Lodging: We all stay in hotels in Kathmandu and lodges in the Khumbu. Climbers camp in tents on the climbing portion to Makalu. All hotel rooms and tents are double occupancy.
Food: Most meals are provided. They are a nutritious variety of Himalayan and Western cuisine. In Kathmandu, some meals are on your own to give you the freedom to explore the delicious cuisines of Asia.
Leader: Craig Miller has led 15 different safe and successful Himalayan treks and climbs for The Mountaineers (email@example.com).
Price: Trek $3,000 or Climb $4,000. The price includes airport transfers, Kathmandu hotels, buses, two Nepal airline flights, Trekker Information Management System card, Sagarmatha National Park permit, Pokalde climb permit, Makalu-Barun National Park permit, guide, sherpas, porters, food, lodges, tent, mattress pad, Nepali cultural dinner, The Mountaineers administrative expense, and a portion of leader cost. The price excludes your international airfare (about $1,400), medical immunizations, rescue insurance (about $75), valid passport, Nepal visa (easy purchase in Kathmandu when you arrive for $40), some meals, personal items, and gratuities.
Registration: Please answer the application questions, and then email them to the leader. After the leader’s approval, please telephone The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001; give them your credit card number, and $1,000 deposit. After your deposit is received, the leader will send you a series of many letters with information to help you prepare for this outing. Your balance is due June 1.
Cancellation: If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less expenses incurred and $100 administrative fee.Back to top
Backpack the Patagonian Andes
Feb 8-19, 2015; Feb 20-27, 2015; Feb 28-March 6, 2015
Information Session: Come to a presentation at 7pm on April 3, 2014 at the Seattle Program Center to see photos and learn more about this amazing adventure in far-south Patagonia.
Overview: Far-south Patagonia serves up a trekker’s paradise. Condors soar over vast windswept plains and turquoise lakes, populated with flamingoes, guanacos and Darwin’s Rheas. Towers of sheer granite burst upward from craggy fault-block mountain ranges, drawing the world’s best climbers and trekkers to their well-marked trails and lively camps and refugios. The third–largest ice sheet in the world is very close, driving a volatile local climate and spawning hundreds of dramatic, low-elevation glaciers, lakes, and a moonscape of moraines. Early risers can catch the sunrise alpenglow on the spires reflected in crystal lakes below, and perhaps catch glimpses of Snowy Owls and Magellanic woodpeckers. From the shore of the Beagle Channel, on Tierra del Fuego at the very southern tip of South America, the remote and seldom-explored peaks, lakes, glaciers and moraines of the Fuegian Andes rise steeply above unique silver beech forests and wild seacoast where fur seals, sea lions and penguins play. Our Global Adventure to Far-South Patagonia consists of three linked outings across this amazing landscape, that offer a unique breadth of off-the-beaten-track highlights, remote camps and physical challenge, for a price well under most commercial tours. You can register for one, two or all three segments.
Backpack the Torres del Paine Circuit! Feb 8-19, 2015. Crowds visit the easily-accessed ’W’ trek along the south face of the Paine massif, but only hardy souls who walk the windy miles carrying their gear and camping can capture the real prize: the remote peaks, lakes, pinnacles and vast glaciers of the full Torres del Paine backcountry circuit. This is the centerpiece of our 12–day itinerary in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park: an 8–day, 65–mile circumnavigation of the Paine Massif, including camping on a lake overlooking the fabled Cuernos or Horns of Paine; crossing a high pass overlooking the world’s third largest ice sheet; exploring far up the French Valley to the backside of the famed Paine Towers; and camping right under the Towers with a chance for a spectacular sunrise view. With our backpacks we will visit and camp in remote places few visitors get to see, while enjoying hearty food, warm shelter and international camaraderie at refugios interspersed between camps along the route.
Backpack the Fitz Roy Massif! Feb 20-27, 2015. Immediately following the Torres del Paine segment, an 8–day extension explores the wonders of Los Glaciares National Park — some believe that this less-visited park is even more dramatic than Torres de Paine. We start with a boat tour under the huge and growing Perito Moreno glacier. Then we’ll embark on a 5-day supported backpack under the dramatic pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre — some of the most challenging climbers’ peaks in the world — and on into the remote, seldom-visited backcountry of the park to Paso del Viento (Windy Pass), overlooking the South Patagonia Ice Sheet. Sunrises on the spires of Cerro Torre and Monte Fitz Roy over crystal lagoons are experiences you will never forget.
Backpack Patagonia’s Tierra del Fuego! Feb 28–March 6, 2015. After the Fitz Roy segment, our exploration of the best of far–south Patagonia continues with a 7–day itinerary beginning and ending in Ushuaia, Argentina, the "City at the End of the World." We’ll start with two days of self–guided day’hiking to high glaciers and peaks just above the town, with panoramic views across the Beagle Channel and peaks to the south, or optional guided nature tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park or boat a Magellanic Penguin rookery (extra cost). Then, on day three, we’ll meet our guides for a spectacular 4–day, 50 km backpack — the Sierra Valdivieso traverse. This challenging, wild route crosses high passes, past glaciers and glacier–scoured hanging valleys and innumerable lakes over the crest of the remote Fuegian Andes, the Beagle Channel sparkling far below. After a night and hearty meals at a remote cabin on a lake, we’ll return to Ushuaia by boat along the Channel.
Logistics: We’ll be visiting in February–March, Patagonia’s high summer, when the likelihood of clear skies and warm temperatures are highest (though high winds and foul weather can arise even in mid summer). Our Torres del Paine Circuit itinerary will start in Punta Arenas, Chile, from which we’ll bus to Torres del Paine national park. After our circuit and a night to recuperate in a luxury hotel, participants can return to Punta Arenas for flights home, or transfer by bus over the border to El Calafate and El Chalten, Argentina for the Fitz Roy segment. From Calafate, participants can fly home or take the short flight to Ushuaia, Argentina to join the Tierra del Fuego outing. Convenient flights connect Punta Arenas to the U.S. through Santiago, and Ushuaia or El Calafate through Buenos Aires.
About the Leader: Cheryl Talbert has led many Mountaineers hikes and several Mountaineers and private backpacks, treks and cultural trips around the U.S. west and worldwide, including Patagonia in 2012. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Strenuousness rating: Very strenuous: unpredictable weather, rugged terrain, up to 10-mile days with 2500+ feet of elevation gain, carrying a 25–35 pound pack.
Lodging and Food: The Torres del Paine Circuit itinerary includes a mix of camping and clean, lively dorm–style refugios, with hearty refugio breakfasts and dinners included on most days (we carry gear and 3–4 days’ food). The Fitz Roy itinerary features guided, supported camping (we carry our own gear but no food). On the Tierra del Fuego itinerary we’ll provide and carry our own gear and food, camping on 3 of the nights and staying in a remote lakeside cabin on one night. Between treks we’ll stay in clean basic hotels (double or multiple occupancy) and eat fabulous local food.
Limit: Minimum 8 participants, maximum 12, including the leader.
Participant Requirements: Must be a current Mountaineers member with waiver on file. Participants must be in excellent cardiovascular condition, confident on rough trail carrying a backpack for extended periods, and prepared to embrace some close quarters, discomfort and bad weather with good humor. Must demonstrate recent experience with strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking, plus a positive attitude and the ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions.
Price: $2600 for the Torres del Paine Circuit segment, $1500 for the Fitz Roy segment, and $1500 for the Tierra del Fuego segment. All lodging and ground transportation, included tours, park entry fees and most breakfasts and dinners are included, as are a portion of the leader’s expenses and a Mountaineers administrative fee. Not included are international airfare (around $1900), Calafate to Ushuaia domestic flight (around $110 — Tierra del Fuego outing only), entry and departure taxes of $160 each for Chile (Torres del Paine) and Argentina (Fitz Roy and Tierra del Fuego), lunches, some trail breakfasts and dinners, snacks, drinks, optional tours, and personal items.
Registration: Please complete the application form and email it to the leader. After the leader’s approval, please call The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001 to pay a 50% deposit in order to hold your space on the roster for the segments that you want to join. Registration will close on April 15, 2014 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by June 1.
Cancellation: If you cancel from any of the itineraries more than 60 days in advance, you may receive a refund less non-recoverable expenses and a $100 administrative fee.Back to top
Check out Adventure Travel trips led by our mountain club partner, The Colorado Mountain Club. We offer reciprocity for member rates.