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Trekking, Grade 5

Our policy is to climb one major South American peak per year. The mountains and the countries will vary from season to season, depending on the local conditions. Although our guides will place strong emphasis on safety and maintain a realistic appreciation of the mountain hazards, each expedition will provide the opportunity for the fit and enthusiastic to excell them selves beyond their expectations.

Patagonia is known as the land confronting the Roaring Forties, raging across tens of thousands of kilometers of the Atlantic, Southern and Pacific Oceans. The Northern Patagonian Icecap is located around 46 degrees south and contains 244 major glaciers, and is part of an area only surpassed by Antarctica and Greenland for the accumulation of ice and snow.

The rarely-climbed San Valentin (4,058m) is the highest mountain in Patagonia and through, although technically very easy to climb, it's possibly one of the most exciting in the world. It is situated on the north-eastern corner of the Ice Cap. The easiest way access is via the San Rafael Glacier flowing westward down through thick manio forests and into the sea water of the San Rafael Lagoon. The 4km wide terinus of the glacier moves out into the lagoon at 14 meters per day, with huge pieces of ice calving off the 60m high ice wall and floating out intothe iceberg litered lagoon. This flow rate approximates the equivalent of 6 million tonnes of ice and water per day.

After a 370km boat trip down through channels and fiords, our Chilean fishing boat navigates its way through the ice bergs to drop us off near the edge of the glacier. After a walk through the jungle we use cross-country skis and sleds to ski 52mk across the flat snow fields to the base of San Valentin.

From the summit there is a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, islands, fiords, Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Caps, Argentinian pampas (plains country) and innumerable unnamed peakess. This is an opportunity of a life time.


Day 1 Sydney to Buenos Aires.
Day 2 Fly to Santiago.
Day 3 Fly to Coihaique.
Day 4 In Coihaique.
Day 5 Boat to San Rafael.
Day 6-24 Skiing and climbing San Valentin.
Day 25 Boat to Coihaique.
Day 26 Fly to Santiago.
Day 27 Fly to Buenos Aires.
Day 28 Fly to Sydney.
Day 29 Arrive Sydney.
Note: Because of the exploratory nature of this trip, the above itinerary can only be approximate.

Joining Sydney - 33 days
2001 : 20 Jan - 24 Feb
Cost : $7,149

Land Only Cost : $4,600
Join tour in Buenos Aires, Day 1;
Finish in Buenos Aires, Day 36.
Does not include local flights.


Walking on the Tyndal Glacier, Chile, PATAGONIA EXPLORATORY.