Backpack Patagonia's Fitz Roy Massif


Global Adventure - Backpack Patagonia's Fitz Roy Massif

Hike and boat to the base of Perito Merino glacier, climb to stunning sunrise vistas below the towering spires of Monte Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, and trek to remote Paso del Viento overlooking the Southern Patagonian Icefield to camp on its edge; before circling back along the icefield to massive Lago Viedma and a boat back to town. Carry your own overnight gear; porters will carry food and cooking gear. NOTE THAT THE PRICE SHOWN BELOW IS THE FINAL PAYMENT. THE FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER 28, 2017.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Fri, Feb 23, 2018 — Sat, Mar 3, 2018
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Global Adventures, Backpacking
  • Adults
  • Strenuous/Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 55.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 10,445 ft

Fly from the US via Buenos Aires, or transfer by bus from the Torres del Paine Circuit  adventure, to El Calafate, Argentina, arriving by no later than 23 February 2018.   After visiting Perito Moreno glacier, transfer to El Chalten, Argentina and trek through the Fitzroy Massif and around the Huemul Circuit 25 February to 2 March 2018, ending back in Chalten.  Return to El Calafate for flights out via Buenos Aires no earlier than 3 March 2018.

Itinerary Highlights:  This 9–day adventure explores the wonders of Los Glaciares National Park, which some believe is even more dramatic than Chile's famous Torres de Paine!  

After a free day in El Calafate to explore this fun fast-growing adventure town, we’ll start with a boat trip and hike along the base of stunning 3-mile-wide Perito Moreno glacier, rising 240 feet above Lago Argentino – one of the few glaciers in the world that is still growing.  The next morning we’ll transfer 3 hours north to the bustling climber’s mecca of Chalten, Argentina.  From here we’ll trek for 6 days:  We'll walk past waterfalls and sparkling glacial lakes to the base of the dramatic pinnacles of Monte FitzRoy and Cerro Torre and their companion spires - some of the most challenging and coveted climbers' peaks in the world.  We’ll rise early to seek sunrises lighting up the granite spires like bright candles!  From Laguna Torre we’ll climb to a high viewpoint over the Fitzroy Massif and down to Lago Toro, starting point for the Cerro Huemul circuit –some call it one of the best ‘unknown’ treks in South America.  This trek crosses Rio Tunel on a zipline and heads up to Paso del Viento for a second broad view of the South Patagonian Icefield, before circling back along the glacier’s edge to glacier-fed Lago Viedma for a boat and bus back to Chalten. The next morning our van will take us back to Calafate for flights home via Buenos Aires.  

We’ll be supported by guides and porters on this segment to assure safety and emergency support on the untracked sections of the Huemul Circuit and to help us negotiate the trickier terrain and water crossings safely (they provide harnesses and protection for the zipline crossings).   The guide service also provides and carries our food on this segment and gives us access to roomy dining domes along part of the route to improve comfort in bad weather and to reduce the weight of our packs.

View the detailed itinerary for this Global Adventure.    (NOTE:  As with any extended travel, but particularly in an area with unpredictable weather, our itinerary can change without notice and sections may be modified or dropped.   The priority will always be on safety for all participants.)  

View a photo journey around the FitzRoy Massif to Paso del Viento from our past Global Adventures!

Time of Year: We’ll be visiting during 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).

Lodging:   The Los Glaciares-Fitzroy itinerary features comfortable hostels or basic hotels while in town, and guided, supported camping while on our trek (we carry our own overnight gear but our food is carried and prepared for us).   It may be possible to arrange porters for your overnight gear at an additional cost.

Food:   Southern Patagonia has a food style all its own, rustic and very tasty with lots of meats, vegetables, legumes, hearty stews and local wine and beer.  While in Calafate and Chalten we will partake in the best authentic Patagonian food in a casual style.  While on the trail our food will be prepared for us and will consist of a variety of basic, filling foods including a hot breakfast and dinner and a box lunch.  Vegetarian diets can be accommodated upon request.

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 2 group trips to Patagonia in 2012 and 2015. (

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:  The Fitzroy-Huemul circuit is rated very strenuous for more rugged terrain, mild exposure (steep scree slopes), a flat glacier crossing (microspikes may be required) and swift water crossings.      

 Limit:   Maximum of 10-12, minimum of eight, including the leader.

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.  We will cross two rivers on ziplines (harness and rope provided, and assistance by experienced guides) and may wade one river.   

NOTE:  Your leader makes most of the arrangements and provides logistics support during the trip, but is NOT a tour guide!  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.

Price:  $1900 including all lodging, transportation, excursions and most meals.  Your airfare (~$2000), travel insurance ($75-350) and a few meals in town (~$150) are not included.   (if you combine this trip with the Torres del Paine circuit there will be no additional airfare).  NOTE:  The member price now shown at the top of this listing is the total of the final trip payment.

Registration: Please complete the application and submit it to the leader for permission to participate in this trip.   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. Registration will close on August 1, 2017 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, 2017. 

Participation in the trip will be conditional upon completing and signing of the Global Adventure Liability Release and Indemnity Agreement, the 2018 Patagonia Trip Agreement form, and a confidential dietary, medical and insurance disclosure form demonstrating proof of medical and emergency evacuation insurance coverage.  These forms are to be submitted to the trip leader.  Failure to submit the required forms will result in cancellation from the trip.

Participants will also be required to carry international medical insurance and emergency evacuation insurance sufficient to be repatriated back to  a hospital of your choice in the U.S.  Find information and guidance about purchasing this insurance.

Cancellation: If you cancel from this trip for any reason, you may receive a refund less non-recoverable expenses and a $100 administrative fee.  Refunds may be delayed until after the group returns in order to fully determine the expenses that can be recovered.


Backpack Patagonia's Fitz Roy Massif

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

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

Best guidebook:  Lonely Planet Trekking in Patagonia.


Trip Reports