Trekking Argentina – South Patagonia Icefield Expedition – Paso del Viento – Day 6

After 5 days of strenuous effort, today was our “rest” day.  That’s not to say that we stayed put and did nothing.  Not at all!  But the distance to the next campsite was not far, the wind was less (though still quite strong), and the promise of a food re-supply sustained us.

Our route today would see us join the Huemul Circuit – a 4-day trek from El Chaltén that you can hike independently.  The two routes converge at the base of the trail down from the Paso del Viento (Windy Pass) – a pass which had taken on mythical proportions for me as a seriously hard-core feat having listened to other trekkers over the years.  However, given my experiences of the past few days, I have to admit its stature was somewhat diminished in my mind…

Since it was only a small-ish detour, we decided to climb to the pass to have a look before descending again and continuing our journey to the Refugio Paso del Viento and our campsite.  And even though my blisters were incredibly painful (the worst I’d ever had) there was no way I was going to miss this!

Blisters - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

I had a slight issue with my feet all through the South Patagonia Icecap Expedition… This photo was actually taken about a week after the trek had ended. Yes, they were very painful for a long time!

We hiked up to where the trails met and dumped our heavy backpacks.  No point carrying the weight if we didn’t need to!  From there it was a half-hour climb up a steep, switchback trail to the pass.

Approaching the Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

The approach to the Paso del Viento from the Icefield side

Despite being blown about by the wind on the way up, the pass itself was not windy at all!  Apparently its name comes from further down the other side – a narrow defile through which the wind fairly screams.

Unfortunately, the sun was in exactly the wrong spot for photography, and the peaks of Cerro Grande and Cerro Solo were still hidden by clouds, but there were incredible views of the Glacier de Quevain and Glacier Río Túnel

Glacier de Quevain and Glacier Río Túnel - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Glacier de Quevain (left) and Glacier Río Túnel (right) from the Paso del Viento

and all the way down to Laguna Toro and the Río Túnel.  

Enjoying the Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Enjoying the Paso del Viento without any wind. With views down to Laguna Toro and the Río Túnel

We hung out up here for about half an hour taking pictures

Me at the Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Me at the Paso del Viento with Glacier de Quevain in the background

before heading back down to collect our packs.

The Icefield from Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Panoramic view of the Icefield, complete with rainbow! From the top of the steep descent down from Paso del Viento

A funny thought was that usually people take a short detour at this point to see the Icefield, where we’d taken a short detour to see the Pass.

The rest of the hike to the Refugio Paso del Viento was very easy, and we enjoyed bright sunshine for most of the way.

Approach to Refugio Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

The hike to Refugio Paso del Viento. You can see the Viedma Glacier in the background

The Refugio itself was built in the 1950s and is only large enough to accommodate meals.  So we pitched our tents in the best camp spots (it was several hours before the first of the Huemul Circuit hikers turned up)

Camping at Refugio Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

The Refugio Paso del Viento is not big enough to sleep in. However, there are plenty of great camping spots nearby

and made ourselves comfortable in the hut for lunch.

Refugio Paso del Viento - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Soaking up the sun outside the Refugio Paso del Viento (top) and enjoying lunch inside (bottom)

A few hours later, our fresh food supply arrived on the backs of two porters from Serac Expeditions.   They brought breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the next 3 days

Food resupply - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Yay for porters with fresh food! Checking out our haul in the Refugio Paso del Viento

plus some very special treats!  A can of beer each (soft drink for me), and more salami, cheese, peanuts and olives, which Rafa carefully prepared on a wooden chopping board a la Jamie Oliver.  The funny thing is – he didn’t actually know who Jamie Oliver was!

Special treats - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

I love Serac Expeditions! Along with food re-supply they also sent us treats! Rafa channeled Jamie Oliver in his presentation of our afternoon luxury, even though he’d never heard of him!

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, talking, joking and drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee, relishing in the fact that today was an easy one and that we had a communal area that we could all hang out in.  Rafa cooked our “fancy” meals for dinner and it was another relatively early night as we vacated the hut so that the other hikers could also eat in comfort.

Cooking dinner - South Patagonia Icefield Expedition - Argentina

Rafa cooking our “fancy dinners” in the Refugio Paso del Viento. Luxury!

It is terribly selfish of me?  But I was disappointed when the other hikers showed up.  It had just been us for the past 6 days, and now we had to share our experience with others.  I guess this is why I preferentially choose to trek in remote places…

Hiking Details

  • Hiking time:  2.5 hours
  • Distance Covered: 5km
  • Altitude:  +228m, -437m

Read more about the South Patagonia Icefield Expedition

If this post has piqued your curiosity, read about the rest of my adventure on the the 8-day South Patagonia Icefield Trek with Serac Expeditions and Swoop Patagonia:

  • Prelude – leading up to departure
  • Day 1 – El Chaltén to Laguna de los 14 
  • Day 2 – Marconi Pass to Refugio Garcia Soto
  • Day 3 – Gorra Blanca summit
  • Day 4 – Refugio Garcia Soto to Circo de los Altares
  • Day 5 – Circo de los Altares to Laguna Ferrari
  • Day 6 – Laguna Ferrari to Refugio Paso de Viento
  • Day 7 – Refugio Paso de Viento to Paso Huemul to Bahía Témpanos
  • Day 8 – Bahía Tempanos to El Chaltén
  • Summary

Alternatively, check out my other posts about hiking and trekking in Argentina and around the world.

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