A new expedition is just getting underway in the Patagonia region of Chile that will send two explorers across the Hielo Sur Icecap, a large region of ice and snow in the Andes Mountains, that runs more than 400km (250 miles) into the very heart of the Torres del Paine region.
On the third of July, Linda Beilharz and Rob Rigato set off to explore the icecap, pulling their supplies behind them on sleds in much the same way as arctic explorers do. Linda is, in fact, a veteran of the Antarctic. Back in 2004 she became the first Australian woman to ski to the South Pole, and in 2007 both she and Rob made a successful traverse of the Greenland Icecap as well.
Now, the duo hopes to continue their success by ascending the Jorge Montt Glacier, head across the icecap in a south-east direction, then descend along the Upsala Glacier into Argentina along the Lago Argentino. Their intended route will take them past Volcán Lautaro and the Viedma Glacier, with Fitz Roy towering in the background, and they’ll need to use boats both at the beginning and end to get access to and from the glaciers.
Linda and Rob have elected to travel in the winter in the southern hemisphere in order to avoid some of the nasty weather that Patagonia is so famous for, including gale force winds and pounding rain. But it won’t be all fun in games, as snowfall tends to be heavy in the region and temperatures will be sub-zero for much of the time.
The team has already begun to send back updates from the field, and so far it has been slow, but steady, going, thanks to the crevasses on the Jorge Montt Glacier. So far, they’ve mostly been portaging supplies and finishing up their final prep work before they start hauling their sleds, but it looks like they should be underway shortly. You can read all of their current and future dispatches by clicking here.
Patagonia is an fascinating and beautiful place, and it is great that someone is taking an opportunity to explore it in a very different way. It should be fun to follow their progress over the next few months. Good luck Linda and Rob! Enjoy the views!
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