Gorra Blanca

Gorra Blanca

Cerro Gorra Blanca is located within the Continental Ice Cap. Also it a border point with Chile. Gorra Blanca means white toque. Its name is given because of snow and ice formation on its summit, looking like a gorra blanca.

Itinerary

Day 1

El Chaltén is our meeting point and where the trip gets started. The youngest town in Argentina, founded in 1985. It only has 800 inhabitants. We are going to check everybody’s gear, we will also be briefing the trip, the Continental Ice Field characteristics, and get any last minute details sorted. We take a private bus to Puente del Rio Electrico (Electric river bridge), where our expedition kicks off. We hike for 2 hours through Lenga and Ñires forest (Beach tree, Nothofagus family). We pass by Piedra del Fraile hut and camping ground; our last contact with civilization for few days. Leaving the camping and forest behind, we keep hiking in a U-shaped glacier created valley, most of the time on a moraine terrain. After an hour’s hike, we run into Pollone Valley where we have to wade the Rio Pollone; sometimes this is an adventure in itself. We follow Rio Electrico until its first beginnings:  “La Playita” camp, a river bed that Electrico river has left for us to camp on. We’ll find rock protection for our tents. After a rest or, even better, a meal, we hike to Marconi’s snout to check the next day’s route.

Day 2

Today is the key day of the ascent. Glacier Marconi is one of the accesses to the ice cap. Most winds and weather come from west/north and funnel through passes like this one. Therefore, weather/wind permitting, we get up early, have breakfast and go. We get on Marconi Glacier, a combination of bare ice and rock at first. We make our way to the base of “Cambio de Pendiente” (change of gradient). We rope up, put harness and crampons on. After a section of 30 degrees and 1 hour on the ice, we reach Marconi Pass. A breath-taking view of the 3rd largest fresh-water ice mass in the world just in front of us!  We appreciate Kolliker Range, Lautaro Range, Gaea Range and Mariano Moreno Range and our goal, Gorra Blanca summit. We make our way through seracs and crevasse aiming for the west ridge. After getting on the ridge, we head east zigzagging ice mushrooms (interesting formation of ice with wind, similar to Cerro Torre summit). Our guide might fix the last pitch to the summit. If weather is good, you won’t believe the view. Cautiously, head back to camp to celebrate an exhilarating day out.

Day 3

Summit day! Early wake up call. Light backpack only stuff for the day. Our goal is Gorra Blanca summit. We make our way through seracs and crevasse aiming for the west ridge. After getting on the ridge, we head east zig-zagging ice mushrooms (interesting formation of ice with wind, similar to Gargoyles on Robson). Our guide might fix the last pitch to the summit. If weather is good, you won’t believe the view. Cautiously, head back to hut/camp to celebrate an exhilarating day out. 1200 altitude gain, 8 to 12 hours depending on snow conditions and fitness of guests.

Day 4

We return to El Chaltén the same way we came in. A private transfer will be waiting for us on Rio Electrico Bridge. We drive back to town where a well-deserved shower and good meal will be very welcome.

Day 5

Back up day for good/bad weather.

Guides and group sizes

Ratio is 1 guide/assistance per 3 guests. Maximum group size is 9 guests 1 guide and 2 assistants guide

Difficulty and prerequisites

No mountaineering experience is required, however if you had some it helps a lot.

Guest must be comfortable using crampons to flat foot and front point on moderate angle ice up to 35 degrees.

These are all physically demanding days and participants must be in good hiking shape.

Guests are required to carry a backpack with their personal gear (clothes, sleeping bag, pad, etc), group (tents, pot, stoves, etc) and food. About 20 to 25 kg. Personal porters could be arranged in advance, if needed.

Transportation

Participants are responsible for their own transportation to El Chaltén, Argentina.  Your travel agent should be able to arrange this for you. You can get there by flying to Buenos Aires, and then to El Calafate and then a bus to El Chaltén. From there, all local transportation to the mountains and back is included. This will be supplied by our local agents.

Accommodation & Meals

Tents will be provided for the ascent. Accommodation from in El Chaltén are not included. However, we can help you making your booking.

Please let us know of any special dietary requirements you have when booking.

Weather consideration

The fame of the area regarding wind and fast changeable conditions are not a legend. Be ready to experience nature and all its beauties and power.

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