Can We Top the Tour du Mont Blanc? Our 2019 Adventure!
Having completed the ambitious Tour du Mont Blanc, it’s time to reveal what the NEXT adventure will be for Brian and Sylvia! We have carefully considered all the prospective destinations and the winner is…
One of the world’s greatest, wildest and most magical areas. Patagonia is the Alaska of the Southern Hemisphere.
We have not one but TWO Adventures on our Bucket List which are located in Patagonia: The ‘W’ Circuit of Chili’s Torres Del Paine, and the Fitz Roy Traverse of Los Glaciares National Park. Both of these are located in fairly close proximity (a relative statement in Patagonia…many hours of driving on remote roads separate the two.) It is possible to do the hikes in BOTH places in one trip…each takes 4-5 days to complete.
The typical time to visit the park is from November to March (summer, south of the equator.) We will likely be targeting mid-December 2019. This give us more than a year to prepare.
And,we’ll need every bit of that time. Almost all sources state that one needs to begin preparing for Patagonia a year in advance and complete all bookings months in advance. This is about TWICE as far out as we began our planning for the Tour de Mont Blanc.
Elevations will not be a factor in Patagonia, and we are not quite doing the long and ambitions hiking itinerary we did in the Alps (our actual trail mileage will be closer to half the TMB.) There are however two major factors which we do need to prepare for: Complex logistics and weather.
Unlike Europe, there is no excellent transportation infrastructure in Patagonia. In fact, there isn’t much of anything. These are VERY remote areas, and virtually all the campgrounds, huts, reservations, buses, ferries etc will need to be booked well in advance. Unless we go with a tour guide group (not our first option) we will have to do all this booking ourselves.
Even getting to the locations is problematic…Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, is separated from Fitz Roy by a jaw dropping 1,400 miles! That’s essentially the same distance as separates Denver from Washington DC. And before you pick your jaw up off the floor, consider that Torres del Paine is even farther from the Capital of Chile, Santiago (almost 2000 miles!)
Patagonia is a BIG and REMOTE area.
The other issue is the weather. Both these locations are located in the area of the world known as the ‘Roaring Forties’ (forty degrees south latitude) where winds whip continually around the Earth, almost unobstructed by any land save Patagonia and a few scattered islands. The result is howling, continual winds, sometimes of hurricane force; and just in general awful weather. Rain, sleet, snow, fog can happen at any time of year. Clear days are rare. In fact, the weather can be so bad that often it’s a question of bad days and worse.
On the TMB Blanc we seldom had to deal with even a rainy day. Our biggest problem, in fact, was heat. This will not be the case in Patagonia.
One thing going for us is our (especially Sylvia’s) experience with South America, and Sylvia’s ability to speak full, conversational Spanish. Brian can also grunt passably in Tarzan Spain Talk. (Well, it is her first language.)
There will doubtless be many other challenges to overcome. We are going to begin preparations immediately. Before any adventure is the adventure of planning for it!
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!!!
Patagonia. It’s there.