Patagonia - Planning and Packing

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In April of 2018 I spent an (almost) month in one of the most beautiful places on earth with Venture Patagonia. We broke our trip into three parts, the first week was spent on the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The second week in Los Glaciares National Park on the Argentinian side of the Andes and the final week in Torres del Paine National Park on the Chilean side of the Andes. This itinerary was custom built for us by Venture Patagonia and (as you can see) included a lot of hiking, backpacking and adventuring along the way! The amazing team at Venture Patagonia arranged all of our transportation, permits, border crossing paperwork and park passes. In future blog posts I will go into detail regarding the cost breakdown of the trip week by week (and why it's worth it in this region to utilize a tour company). 

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20 day Itinitray:

Day one:  Fly into Punta Arenas

Day two: Drive to Ushuaia, stop to see Penguins on the way.

Day three: Ushuaia - sunrise hike to Laguna Esmeralda.

Day four: Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Day five: Drive to Puerto Natales, stop at Girabaldi Pass.

Day six: Puerto Natales - sunrise hike and horseback ride Laguna Sofia.

Day seven: Baguales day hike and drive to El Chaltén.

Day eight: Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre Circuit day one - hike to Poincenot campground.

Day nine: Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre Circuit day two - sunrise at Laguna de Los Tres, hike to Agostini campground.

Day ten: Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre Circuit day three - sunrise at Cerro Torre, hike back to El Chaltén.

Day eleven: Drive to El Calafate - full day cruise on Lago Argentina to view Spegazzini, Upsala, and Perito Moreno Glaciers

Day twelve: Los Glaciares National Park - walk along the board walks to view Perito Moreno Glacier. Drive back to Puerto Natales

Day thirteen: Torres del Paine National Park - Ferrier lookout, Weber Bridge

Day fourteen: Torres del Paine National Park - Cerro Paine Day Hike

Day fifteen: Torres del Paine National Park - hike to base de las Torres lookout for sunrise.

Day sixteen: Torres del Paine National Park - Modified w-trek day one - El Chileno to Los Cuernos

Day seventeen: Torres del Paine National Park - Modified w-trek day two - Los Cuernos to Paine Grande via Francés Valley

Day eighteen: Torres del Paine National Park - Modified w-trek day three - Paine Grande to Grey Glacier

Day nineteen: Torres del Paine National Park -Modified w-trek day four Grey Glacier back to Paine Grande. Ferry across Lake Pehoe. Return to Puerto Natales

Day twenty: Fly home from Punta Arenas

*in subsequent posts I will outline a few changes that were made to the itinerary due to judgement calls based on weather.

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weather:

As this was my first time in South America, it took a little while to wrap my head around the fact that June, July and August are winter in Patagonia! We chose to go for the month of April primarily because it had the best chance of good weather while also being much less busy than their summer "high season". If I were to repeat the trip I would like to spend the same amount of time in the region but a few weeks earlier in the year, arriving in mid-March and leaving in mid-April. The below graph represents the average highs and lows for the region. We experienced everything from temperatures in the low 20's(68°F) to belly button deep snow hiking and winter camping conditions in the alpine. 

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packing list:

clothes:

-Hiking boots - I purchased these boots the night before the trip and had to issues with them. 
-Waterproof jacket - I brought both a Patagonia GoreTex jacket from a few years ago as well as my red North Face Venture jacket
-Lightweight wind jacket - I haven't gone anywhere without my little yellow Patagonia Houdini Jacket in over a year
-Down or synthetic jacket - I brought two colours of the L3 from the North Face Summit Series
-Hiking pants - I am a fan of lululemon studio pants
-Wool hiking socks - at least 3 pairs
-Leggings/thermal leggings - I packed Glyder Apparel's High Waisted Pure Leggings and High Power Leggings for this trip
-Long sleeve thermal shirt
-Underwear/sports bras
-Touque
-Gloves
-Shower shoes (I wear flip flops)

gear:

-Refillable water bottles - I brought a 21oz HydroFlask for day hikes, a 48oz Nalgene for backpacking and a little 16oz Nalgene for coffee (since Nalgene are built with surgical grade plastic it is safe to put boiling water in them... this one is also the perfect size for a backpacking hot water bottle)
-Backpacking backpack - I brought my 50L North Face Women's Banchee and had more than enough room on all of our trips.
-Daypack - I brought my 24L Osprey Women's Sirrus bag (and it comes with a rain cover built in)
-Raincover for backpacks
-Headlamp - I use the Petzl Actik Core headlamp, I like that it is rechargeable, lightweight and incredibly bright
-Tent - I brought my North Face Triarch 2 - don't forget to make sure you have a rain fly and a footprint!
-Sleeping bag - I brought my North Face Women's Blue Kazoo with a
-Sleeping mat - I use a Nemo Astro Lite Sleeping Pad
-Camping pillow - This is something I swear by, camping pillowes are a game changer, my go-to is the Nemo Fillo

misc:

-Toiletries
-Camera - I use the Sony a6000
-International power converter (Chile and Argentina use different outlet types)
-Casual walking shoes
-Sunglasses
-Camping towel

Additional items that I don't personally use but could be useful:

-Rain pants
-Neck warmer (buff)
-Trekking poles
-Fleece jacket

*knowing that I would have access to laundry at least every 5 nights and a safe place to leave my belongings I also brought my laptop computer and packed a hard-case carry on suitcase from Away on this trip. 

 

Thank you to Michael Matti for your  help with some of the images featured in this post.


venture patagonia:

I spent my three weeks in Patagonia with the amazing team at Venture Patagonia and can not recommend them high enough. Venture Patagonia is a team made up of energetic, passionate and professional individuals with a deep knowledge of the major Patagonian destinations. With their extensive network of friends and local partners, they specialize in connecting people all over Patagonia to give you an authentic taste of local culture. The best part? Venture Patagonia customize each program to match YOUR budget and appetite for adventure. Their aim is to help you live your best adventure! Venture Patagonia is based in the United States, with an office in Puerto Natales, Chile. Their Chilean office is located in Puerto Natales, but operate on both the Chilean and Argentinian sides of Patagonia, allowing guests to experience both Torres del Paine National Park & Los Glaciares National Park.