Immediately after our 2019 bike tour in Chile, Betsy, Gordon, Mary, and I did three days of trekking in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park and another two days of trekking plus a day of glacier viewing in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. Our trekking tour was arranged by Cascada Expediciones, who did an amazing job of orchestrating the many shuttles, rooms, and guides in two different countries.
Our main motivation for going to Argentina was to see and trek to the base of the two most iconic Patagonian peaks: Monte Fitz Roy (11,171 ft) and Cerro Torre (10,262 ft). Fitz Roy was first climbed by Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone of France in 1952. The first undisputed ascent of Cerro Torre was by the “Ragni di Lecco” climbers in 1974.
We had incredibly good weather for the trekking tour as well as the earlier biking tour. We never got wet while biking or trekking in Chile; the few times that it rained were overnight or during shuttles. In Argentina we had sprinkles one morning, but even then, the sun broke through from time to time to give us rainbows. We had occasional wind, but many days were calm. It seems that March is a good time to do these tours.
Here is the itinerary for our trekking tour.
Day 1 (Tuesday, March 12): We shuttle from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales where we have lunch and meet Roberto Carlos, who will be our personal guide in Chile. We then continue our shuttle to EcoCamp where we spend the first of four nights in Torres del Paine National Park. We sleep in a luxurious suite loft dome.
Day 2 (Wednesday, March 13): We shuttle to Lago Pehoé and take a boat across the lake to the Refugio Paine Grande. We then trek 12 miles out and back to Mirador Francés (the French lookout). We spend the night camping in tents next to the refugio.
Day 3 (Thursday, March 14): We trek 8 miles to Glaciar Grey, take a boat across Lago Grey, and shuttle back to EcoCamp. We again sleep in our suite loft dome.
Day 4 (Friday, March 15): We trek 13 miles out and back to the base of the famous three towers for which the park is named. We spend one last night at EcoCamp.
Day 5 (Saturday, March 16): We shuttle to Cerro Castillo at the border with Argentina and take a public bus to El Calafate in Argentina. We have lunch there and then take another public bus to El Chaltén where we spend the first of two nights at Hostería Senderos.
Day 6 (Sunday, March 17): We meet Marcelo, our guide for the day and shuttle to El Pilar. We then trek along the Río Blanco, up to the base of Monte Fitz Roy, and then back to El Chaltén for a total of 14 miles.
Day 7 (Monday, March 18): We meet our second guide for a day and trek 14 miles out and back to the base of Cerro Torre. We then catch the public bus back to El Calafate where we spend the first of two nights at Hostería Los Hielos.
Day 8 (Tuesday, March 19): We shuttle to and from Glaciar Perito Moreno where we hike a little and ride a boat on Lago Argentino to the face of the glacier.
Day 9 (Wednesday, March 20): We fly from El Calafate to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires, shuttle to the international airport, and catch our overnight flight back to the US.