Backpack Central Patagonia's Cerro Castillo Circuit & San Lorenzo Basecamp


Global Adventure - Backpack Central Patagonia's Cerro Castillo Circuit & San Lorenzo Basecamp

Renowned by people in the know but virtually unknown to North American trekkers, the Cerro Castillo Circuit and the San Lorenzo Basecamp trek in Chile’s isolated Aysen region are starkly spectacular as only rugged glacier studded landscapes can be. Yet many consider the Aysen’s peaks and trails to rival Torres del Paine further south – without the crowds! First we’ll backpack the coveted circuit around Cerro Castillo (8775’) over 4 days, passing major glaciers, turquoise lagoons, and high alpine passes favored by Chile’s endangered huemul deer. Then, after a rest at the luxurious Terra Luna lodge on Lago General Carrera, we’ll walk the climbers’ route to Agostini basecamp ay the base of 12,156’ Cerro San Lorenzo, and day-hike 2 glorious days from the cozy Toni Rohrer refuge, including a high pass and a starkly lovely lake in a deep trough ringed by six glaciers and resounding with icefall. Experienced local guides will accompany us throughout. Carry a backpack and camp – a support team will carry our food and cooking gear. NOTE: The fee shown is the final trip payment.

  • Fri, Feb 22, 2019 — Sun, Mar 3, 2019
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Backpacking, Global Adventures
  • Adults
  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 67.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 12,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,230 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2 mph

Arrive no later than Thursday February 22, 2019 in Balmaceda, Chile, and transfer to the lively town of Coyhaique, adventure hub for central Chilean Patagonia, for the night.    A private transfer will then take us 1.5 hours to the start of the Cerro Castillo circuit trek at Las Horquetas Grande.  At the end of the 4-day Castillo circuit on Weds Feb 27 we’ll again be met by our driver and transferred 4 hours further south to Terra Luna for a night.  Then we’ll continue south approx. 3 hours to the climbers’ trailhead for San Lorenzo.  From here we’ll trek and dayhike 4 days more, then transfer back to Terra Luna and Lago General Correra where we will meet the rest of the group on March 4 for the linked adventure Backpack the Peaks, Lakes and Glaciers of Aysen Patagonia.

Itinerary Highlights:   

These two colossal mountain massifs of rugged towers and hanging glaciers, Cerro Castillo (2675m) and San Lorenzo (3706m), attract international climbers and adventurous trekkers but in far fewer numbers than the popular parks to the south.  Still, the peaks and glaciers are no less spectacular and we’ll have them mostly to ourselves!  The four-day 38 mile circuit trek with 9200 feet of elevation gain around the formidable Cerro Castillo increasingly attracts solitude-seekers put off by the more crowded backpacking trails in Torres Del Paine further south. The route passes three major glaciers, turquoise lagoons and high alpine passes favored by Chile’s endangered huemul deer. From here we’ll gratefully sink into the lap of luxury for a night at Terra Luna lodge before setting out once more.  Our San Lorenzo basecamp route climbs to the remote Toni Rohrer hut at 3280’, and we’ll camp two nights there, dayhiking from there to a high pass on the climbers’ route and to a starkly lovely lake in a deep trough ringed by half a dozen glaciers and resounding with icefall.  Click here for a detailed itinerary.

NOTE:  This area is known for its unpredictable and sometimes terrible weather, so our itinerary can change without notice and sections may be modified or dropped.  The priority will always be on safety for all participants. 

Time of Year:   We’ll be visiting during Patagonia’s high summer, when the likelihood of clear skies and warm temperatures are highest (though foul weather can be common here even in mid summer).

Lodging:   During our Cerro Castillo trek we will sleep in remote supported camps without facilities.  Between treks we will stay in the 4-star Terra Luna lodge with full board and a splendid restaurant and bar overlooking the Andes across Lago General Carrera.  During our San Lorenzo basecamp trek we will camp beside the historic Toni Rohrer refuge with basic facilities inside.

Food:   During our treks, basic but ample breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be supplied and prepared by our support crew.  At Terra Luna, a full array of gourmet meals and refreshments will be available, with food included in the trip price.

Leader’s Experience:   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 3 group trips to south Patagonia in 2012, 2015 and 2017 and a group trip to the Lakes District of northern Patagonia in 2016. (

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:   These treks are rated very strenuous and challenging, because of sometimes very rugged conditions including steep moraine and boulder field ascents and descents and swift water crossings.

Participant Requirements:   Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. This outing includes strenuous hiking on rugged terrain (including some steep moraine and scree slopes) for multiple successive days without such amenities as showers or laundry.  The weather can change suddenly to high winds and snow or heavy rain.  For these reasons, participants need to be in excellent condition with good balance and confidence traveling on rough trail with a pack, and with the experience and willingness to pack appropriately and to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods.  Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:   As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe.  You must have the ability to navigate on trails with a map and compass.

Trip Price Detail:    $2200 including all lodging, transportation, excursions and most meals.  Your airfare (~$2000), and travel insurance ($75-350) will be the same if you do this extension and the main Aysen trek or just the main Aysen trek alone.  

Registration Instructions:   First please submit the application form which will automatically be sent to the leader  (if you will be applying for the main Aysen backpacking adventure you do not need to complete this form again).   After the leader’s approval, go to the trip listing and click the REGISTER button to pay the 50% deposit and hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on July 1, 2018 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 September 1, 2018.

As soon as you receive notice of approval, please complete and submit the Trip Agreement and Liability Release Form.  These forms are required for you to go on the trip! (Not required to complete again if you have already submitted these forms for the Aysen backpack adventure.)

applicatio      trip agreement     release

Cancellation Policy: {edit this as necessary} If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less expenses incurred and a $100 administrative fee.


Backpack Central Patagonia's Cerro Castillo Circuit & San Lorenzo Basecamp

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


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