Fitz Roy Ice Cap Traverse - looking for info

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Fitz Roy Ice Cap Traverse - looking for info

by jrsummerlin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:22 am

Hi everyone,

A friend and I are heading down to Tierra del Fuego at the end of this month to do the circumnavigation around Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, with attempts on Cerro Solo and Gorra Blanca. I'm struggling to find detailed info on the route, whether there is any red tape we might encounter with the climbs, and what gear we need for the glacier travel part.

I'm hoping that with better info, we can lighten our packs a bit, as well as know more about what we're getting into! We're currently planning for the worst, which I'm hoping is overkill.

Thanks for the help,

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Damien Gildea

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by Damien Gildea » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:19 am

I assume you mean enter via Pso Marconi and exit via Pso del Viento? This is now commercially guided a few time a year and often done by other private groups. A couple of different friends have done it at least once, once doing an ascent of Mariano Moreno, once attempting Lautoro. Great views of Fitzroy and CT from the west and some actually take a trip into the Circa de Altares(sp?) at their western base.

- usually use mules to haul loads up to Marconi, walk with packs, sometimes ferrying loads, down from del Viento
- use light plastic sleds for hauling on the icecap itself
- take the best tent you can get, the winds are killer
- getting wet in storms is a problem
- there's a refugio near del Viento
- has been done in a few days, or more than a week, depending on weather, which can be terrible
- once on the icecap most teams report no problems with crevasses, though there's some beneath Pso Marconi, as a sled of mine loaned to friends lies in the depths of one

The correct name in english is 'southern Patagonian icecap' but Googling 'hielo sur' together with 'patagonia', 'marconi' etc should get some results.


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by jrsummerlin » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:52 pm

Damien, thanks for the response. Your friends who did the traverse - did they bring the sleds down with them, or were they (or you) able to buy them down there? One other - did your friends attempt any peaks along the way? Those two peaks I mentioned - Cerro Solo and Gorra Blanca - seem to be done by all the commercial outfitters, but I can't find much beta at all on them!

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Damien Gildea

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by Damien Gildea » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:18 pm

My friends took plastic (Paris brand, like for Denali) sleds, but I think one of the outfitters in Chalten had one fiberglass one that they borrowed too, not sure. Best to take one I'm pretty sure.

I think I remember them saying that they only used horses to save time, but that it would not have been too hard to just do a couple of load carries. Also the horses cannot carry right up to Paso Marconi, they stop short, so you have a short double-carry anyway, I think.

My friends did Mariano Moreno, mostly on skis, in a very long push over a day or two. They never got near Lautoro on the second trip. I don't have any beta on Gorra Blanca or Solo, though you could check on GoogleEarth, if you haven't already.

There's some topos here: but nothing for Gorra Blanca and not much on Solo.

Also, another friend made the first north-to-south traverse and wrote a book about it:
This book has maps and photos and a history of traverses, but nothing on those specific peaks.

I've PMd you a couple of contacts.


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by Deb » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:52 am

We had an excellent guide from El Chalten last January and were successful on Torre de Media Luna and Aguja Guillaumet. He does the ice cap treks as well as Gorra Blanca. Check him out at His name is Manuel Quiroga - very personable and safe. Speaks great English too. :D

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Dave Daly

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by Dave Daly » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:11 pm

Couldn't agree more with Deb's comments! Manuel is one of four UIAGM certified guides in South America, including one of his staffer Max ODell. He's a member of El Chalten's SAR team as well. He will put almost anything together as far as itineraries go. You WILL come away from the experience satisfied and gain a new friend as well. We plan on going back next year but more in a self propelled mode with a bit of guided assistance on possible technical objectives like Mermoz, Cerro Mocho or Claro De Luna. Bottom line: hiring a local technical mountain guide to cover the logistics makes the trip a whole lot less stressfull and your time there will be put to use......pending the Patagonia weather. :shock: :twisted:

BTW, when you visit the site, check out the 'Hielo & Roca Escuelas' side bar on the left (the ice climber photo for the link). That's a photo of Deb. :wink:

I understand your objective is different than what we did but here's a link to a page I put together that includes shots from one of objectives with Deb, Manuel and myself.

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ice cap traverse

by evets » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:41 pm

me and my girlfriend did the ice cap traverse last year in the second week of March.

because the extremely hot summer of 2008, the ice cap did not had any snow layer.

so it was really walking on ICE. all the crevasses were revealled. it was a nightmare to walk because for every direct mile you had to walk 3 miles... around every crevasse... and they are huge! wooosh

a sled was not useful here, even as skies... crampons were SOO necessary!

we did an attempt on Gorra Blanca but had to return for bad weather.
we camped in the Circo de Los Altares, which is the most beautiful place i have ever been in the world. we wook up with a clear view on the west-side of Cerro Torre.

we used the services of Fernando Armani as freelance guide, who is member of Asociación Argentina de Guías de Montaña (

he asked 150US$/day
we also hired the services of a porter for the food (Gustavo, an aspirant mountain guide)

my pictures (sorry i have to make a selection, i know) ... 197362175/

my website with blog:

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Re: Fitz Roy Ice Cap Traverse - looking for info

by tiagoeurico » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:29 pm


I'm thinking in doing the Ice Cap Traverse on my own next winter. John, did you make it? Can you share with me your experience?

Tiago Costa

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