Explore Aysén Patagonia - Feb-Mar 2019

Backpack deep into a remote land of rugged peaks, innumerable glacier-fed lakes, and remote valleys on the edge of the North Patagonia Icefield, yet to be discovered by the tourist crowds, with The Mountaineers Global Adventures in 2019.
Cheryl Talbert Cheryl Talbert
Global Adventures Leader & Super Volunteer
April 22, 2018

On February 27, 2018, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation, signed a decree with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to create two new parks in Chilean Patagonia. It was the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country in history - three times larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone combined! 

Given by Tompkins Conservation, the brainchild of  Kristine and Doug Tompkins best known for founding gear giants Patagonia and The North Face, the land joined a network of 10 existing national parks in the Aysén region.

Aysén is the heart of Chile's glacier country, sandwiched between the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields (together the world’s third-largest source of fresh water) and home to a significant percentage of Chile’s 24,133 glaciers. It's also Chile’s least-populated area with only 1.2 humans per square mile. In it you'll find stunning rugged Andean peaks, hundreds of large and small glacial lakes, ancient forests, and the largest remaining population of endemic huemul deer.   

Yet only a few of the hardiest international trekkers and climbers make their way into Aysén each season, with most crowds heading for the better known parks in far-south Patagonia. Join fellow Mountaineers and be one of the few to explore deep into this country!

Backpack Along the North Patagonian Icefield - Mar 4-12, 2019 

Backpack the central Patagonian Andes through the unspoiled heart of Chile’s glacier country, deep into the wilderness of Laguna San Rafael National Park next to the North Patagonian Icefield. We’ll pass craggy peaks, cross high passes from lake to remote lake and valley to remote valley, visiting otherwise unreachable glacier fronts by zodiac, and ending at a panoramic mountaintop camp with views to 13,310’ Cerro San Valentin. Before and after we'll stay at the luxurious Terra Luna Lodge on General Carrera Lake where we’ll have rooms and full board. Experienced local guides will accompany us throughout. Carry a backpack and camp – a support team will carry our food and cooking gear. 

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Extension to Backpack the Cerro Castillo circuit & San Lorenzo Basecamp | FEB 22-MAR 3, 2019 

Those with more time are offered a 10-day extension before the main trek,  featuring rugged backpacking around two colossal mountain massifs north and south of Terra Luna, Cerro Castillo (2675m) and San Lorenzo (3706m). The four-day, 62km circuit trek around the formidable Cerro Castillo passes three major glaciers, turquoise lagoons and high alpine passes. Then, after a night to wash, feast and recharge at Terra Luna, we'll undertake another 4-day trek to the remote Toni Rohrer refuge at 1000m under Mount San Lorenzo, and dayhikes from there to a high pass at 1900m on the climbers’ route, and to a starkly lovely lake in a deep trough ringed by half a dozen glaciers and resounding with icefall.

This itinerary is intended only as an extension to the main Aysen adventure and is not offered on its own.

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A Few Notes

Both of these adventures feature routes that are rugged and strenuous, and though they are scheduled in the best season for weather in Patagonia, they still have the potential for difficult weather. For this reason, approval on the treks requires that you be experienced in multi-day backpacking with the gear and fitness to pack light and travel 8-12 miles and 3,000 feet of gain for up to 6 days in a row with an overnight pack. 

Those approved to participate are certain to have an experience that few others will be able to claim, with stalwart Mountaineers companions and an experienced Mountaineers volunteer leader. I have led several backpacking adventures in different parts of Patagonia and elsewhere in the world. 

Preference is given to members who wish to go on both treks (highly advised if you can do it, because it takes a lot of time to get to these remote areas!).


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