There’s no better time of year to spend in Patagonia than the autumn. This hiking trip has been designed to take keen photographers out into the wilderness, capturing the best possible images of the iconic peaks of Fitz Roy and the surrounding area.
During the month of April the lush forests beneath Fitz Roy begin to transform into a natural canvas of reds, oranges and greens. This emergence, combined with the fact that very few tourists visit the area during the autumn, means that we can enjoy the sights in tranquility.
Although this is very much an off-the-beaten-path hike, we have scouted some wonderful spots for sunrises, sunsets and even astrophotography. And don’t be put off by the outdoorsy element here; the journey has been planned to give the group as much comfort as possible. The hike is easy, made even easier by the well marked and prepared trail. And we will camp in a private camping ground with tents, a covered kitchen and toilet.
In terms of food, our chef will prepare gourmet meals for us, with everything from steaks to the famed local lamb, and there will be plenty of wine and indulgent desserts for those with a sweet tooth. Hot water, tea, coffee and hot chocolate will all be readily available.
The group’s camping gear will be carried up the trail by porters, and guides will ensure that everyone has warm sleeping bags and a cosy place to sleep each night.
Along with two professional photography guides, there will be two local mountain guides, a chef and three porters per group. The porters can take care of tripods and the extra gear that you want taken from camp to camp. There will be a single porter for every four people, carrying a total of 20 Kg. If you feel you might need more equipment carried than that, an additional personal porter can be hired for around $300 per full day in Patagonia.
One important thing for you to consider is the fact that weather conditions in this part of the world are ever-changing and hard to predict. Because of this, it’s best to prepare for the worst possible scenario. Temperatures could drop to as low as minus 5 degrees at night, although the average temperatures for this time of year are 10 degrees during the day and 5 degrees once the sun goes down. Snow and rain are both possible, so good shoes, waterproof pants and a waterproof jacket are essential. A warm down jacket, gloves and a hat are highly recommended as well.
Please bear in mind that there is no power supply once we are out in the wilderness. You will need to bring at least 4 spare batteries for your camera.
On the first day of the hiking trip we will collect you at 14:00 from your hotel in El Calafate. We recommend staying at the Kosten Aike hotel, but there are other options if you want to shop around. Alternatively, we could pick you up from the airport at between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. Having said that, we feel it’s best that you give yourself time to acclimatise after a long flight, so encourage you to arrive one day before the start of our adventure.
We will then take a private bus to El Chalten and check in into a comfortable hotel for the evening, have dinner together and meet up with our local mountain guides to talk some more about the upcoming adventure.
The group will leave our big suitcases in the hotel lobby, and we’ll grab some breakfast before setting out on the trip. We will hike only with camera gear and some spare clothes. If we’re lucky with the weather and conditions, in less than an hour we will reach a point where the mighty Cerro Torre peak will become clear on the horizon, like a huge stone lighthouse guiding our way. For around four hours we will hike the easy trail through the forest, stopping at plenty of waypoints on the way. To give you some idea of the difficulty, the hike will be around 10 km long with an overall ascension of 200m. We will have lunch on the way.
Our final destination for the night will be the Thorwood camp, but after setting up the tents we will head back out to one of several magical sunset destinations. After a great sunset session we will have delicious dinner with meat and wine. The Thorwood camp has plenty of geat photography spots nearby, including:
- Laguna Torre, with amazing icebergs and clear views to Cerro Torre
- Fitz Roy river, framed by autumn leaves with plenty of cascades and charming meanders
We will spend one night at the Thorwood camp, changing our shooting locations depending on the weather.
We will rise early and fill up on some fresh coffee, before heading out to another of our secluded sunrise spots. After breakfast the group will begin the 10km hike to the next private camp, Poincenot.
The next camp is around 200m higher up, so we will ascend through Patagonian forest, passing along a valley and several stunning lagoons. This trip usually takes around 3 hours, and we’ll stop for lunch on the way if the weather allows us. From the camp we will have fantastic views of Fitz Roy mountain, while the nearby area has plenty of quality locations for wondrous photography, from autumnal forests to rivers, waterfalls and small pools. As with the first camp, the locations we choose will depend upon the conditions. After a glorious sunset session, we will enjoy a meal together before hitting the hay.
Day five will begin with coffee and a photography session at one of our chosen sunrise locations. After breakfast we will remain in the camp area to go through photography topics with our expert guides, while there will be an optional hike in the area. For those keen on some more adventure, there’s a chance to ascend to the famous Laguna Los Tres, where there are incredible view towards Fitz Roy mountain.
However, this is a 2.5 - 3 hours trip before sunrise to be there as the sun comes up. It's an uphill hike with 2km of trail, so we may split up into 2 groups, to allow for those who don’t feel up to it.
For the rest of the day, we will enjoy lunch and plan out where we want to be for another perfect sunset shoot, followed by a delicious dinner back at camp.
Our final day will begin very much like the others, with an early morning coffee and a sunrise photography session at one of our chosen locations.
After breakfast we will be ready to pack up and descend to the village of El Chalten. As we go we will make plenty of stops to take in all of the views and angles available. We will have lunch in the village, before departing for El Calafate. We will drop everyone off back to their hotels in the town, and would love to have a final group meal together to celebrate a week of incredible photography and fun.
Out of college, Daniel chief editor of global travel and adventure magazine Continent Expedition, as well as an instructor of photo-workshops. His work as a photographer has been recognized by major organizations several times, as he has won the Golden Turtle award and was a finalist in National Geographic Russia's photography contest in 2013 and 2014.
If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 fee.
45 days or more: 75% refund
30 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 30 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.