This pioneering trekking expedition through the Chilean Andes will connect four volcanoes straddling the Argentina border
Whether you’ve thought about it before or not, Chile sits at the top of the list for adventure possibilities.
It’s a country that has the Atacama Desert, awe-inspiring night skies, never ending coastline, and a rugged beauty that can’t be matched. And did we mention that parts of the Patagonia and Andes mountain ranges sit squarely within its borders?
The beautiful part is that, in the middle of this scenic utopia, is a wild and challenging Chile that requires you to get off the beaten path in order to discover. On this 14-day adventure, you’ll explore new trails along the Condor Circuit and Argentinian border.
Your group will also forge a new route that will go north to south through the Chilean Andes. By the time you’re done, you will have trekked to, and attempted to summit, four volcanoes.
Outdoor adventurists have been coming to Chile for many years now. Many focus on Patagonia in order to tick off a box on their bucket lists. This operator aims to highlight the seemingly limitless tracts of dramatic Chilean landscapes that rarely get visited.
The Andes Mountain are often called the spine of South America, and for good reason. They dominate every landscape.
On this adventure, you’ll explore a region of active volcanoes – with recorded activity as recently as 2011. You’re likely to see smoking vents and hot springs along the way – a very dramatic backdrop for your trek.
The aim of the expedition is to take portions of several existing trails and link them together in order to provide the best of the regions local scenery and phenomenal physical challenges along the way. The team will make summit attempts on Cerro Azul, Descobezado Grande, Volcan Peteroa, and Plancho Peteroa on this roughly 140-kilometre trek.
Before and after the wilderness volcano exploring, you’ll have the chance to get to know Santiago – the capital and cultural centre of the country. Take some time to visit the wine region, nearby coastal towns, visit the remaining colonial buildings, and watch the sun set over snow-capped mountains with a pisco sour in your hand.
A moderate level of fitness is needed for this trip. If you have a solid foundation of a healthy lifestyle and general fitness, you should find the expedition highly enjoyable. You’ll also need to be willing to work as a team to achieve the group goal of crossing 140 volcanic kilometres in the Andes.
Bring your sense of adventure – the fun awaits.
This is your opportunity for a fun physical challenge in a part of the world that many adventurers overlook.
Enquire today to save your spot on this Chilean volcanic summit adventure.
Why We Love This Adventure
- A wilderness trek through the Andes
- Be the first group to pioneer a brand-new trekking route
- Camp under Chilean skies
- Swim in mountain lakes
- Make summit attempts on a number of active volcanoes
- Spot the gorgeous Condor
- Discover the city of Santiago
- Feast on traditional Chilean cuisine
The land which boasts jaw-dropping night skies, the Atacama desert, and miles upon miles of seemingly never-ending coastline, undoubtedly sits at the forefront of adventure possibilities.
Not to mention its share of Patagonia and the Andes mountains. Yet amidst this vast and diverse utopia, still remains a wild, rugged beauty, sidestepping the clasp of mainstream discovery.
Combine new trails with a taste of the world renowned Condor Circuit on this Chilean trekking expedition along the Argentina border.
This expedition is run with framework itineraries, rather than as a guided tour with set daily plans. The following is the outline plan for this Chile expedition – the ‘substance’ rather than the specifics. A fuller itinerary is provided in the Chile Expedition Handbook which is available if you make a booking enquiry.
The expedition starts in Chile’s capital, Santiago, which is well-served by international flights. The team will meet at the group hotel for an expedition briefing at 1700 before heading into town for a meal. The next morning, after shopping for final supplies, the team will drive out of Santiago and south on the famous Pan-American Highway to the Rio Clara valley on the Argentina border. Where the road ends, the trekking begins.
Trekking east initially, the team will follow a river valley to the foot of the Planchon Peteroa volcano system. This is a complex system with barren pumice fields – a reminder of previous eruptions – smoking vents and high glaciers. With shorter trekking days to optimise acclimatisation, the progress on this pioneering route will be steady with difficult terrain as the altitude increases. Descending south into the valley, there will be several river crossings as the team approach Laguna Mondaca and the glacier which feeds it. The team will then be rewarded with a widened valley offering up the first views of Descabezado Grande, the headless volcano with its curiously flat top. Ascending Descabezado and Cerro Azul sees the team on the home-stretch with the welcome opportunity to soak off the dust in the Laguna la Inverneda.
Covering the final steps with around 140km of wilderness behind them, the team will be met at the boundary of the Altos del Lircay national park to be picked up and driven back to Santiago for showers, celebrations and plenty of post-expedition reflection. A final team dinner will round off your expedition before the trip officially ends after breakfast on March 25. Team members are free to depart anytime that day or extend your stay.
- Professional international expedition leader with full medical and communications kits.
- All accommodation throughout.
- All food (snacks and meals) and soft drinks.
- All transport as outlined in itinerary.
- Special permits and permissions if required.
- 24 hour Operations Room.
What's Not included
- International flights/ travel to and from the team hotel.
- Travel insurance (obligatory).
- Visas if required.
- Tips to local guides (discretionary).
- Alcohol unless provided by hosts with meals.
- Personal equipment (full kit list in the Handbook).
Trip Duration15 days
Start LocationSantiago, Chile
End LocationSantiago, Chile
Average Group Size12
For more details please enquire to receive the expedition handbook
For more details please enquire to receive the expedition handbook.
For more details please enquire to receive the expedition handbook.
This Trip is Suitable For
This expedition should be achievable by anyone with a healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness. Team members should be willing to work as part of a team to achieve the expedition goals. The biggest challenges on this expedition will be its uneven volcanic terrain mixed with high altitude.
Teammates who arrive without meeting the agreed minimum fitness requirements can jeopardise themselves and the expedition’s goal so do take training seriously, prepare as appropriate and arrive fit and ready to go. Teammates must be comfortable with the following.
Minimum fitness requirements
- Trek: up to 20km for 13 days with a total ascent of 7777m+.
- Carry: up to 25kg per person (personal kit plus food and a share of camping/emergency equipment).
- Terrain: Challenging, steep climbs; uneven, rocky paths or no paths at all; scree slopes and morraine fields; some scrambling. Altitudes up to 4107m.
- Climate: from 25°C down to -0°C at night/ altitude.
- Swim: potential river crossings so swimming preferred.
- Age: 21+
Once you make a booking enquiry you will be send more details about the expedition including a Handbook with further expedition information.
New trekking routes
Chile has been a haven for outdoor enthusiasts for years, but with the vast majority of it’s visitors focussed on Patagonia for the chance to shorten their bucket-lists, the vast tracts of beautiful, dramatic scenery remain rarely, if ever, visited. This expedition is taking this a step (or few thousand) further by taking the highlights of several trails and linking them together through the best of local scenery with challenging ascents thrown in for good measure.
Land of the condors
With wingspans of over three metres which puts them among the largest birds in the world, Andean condors use the strong wind currents from the Andes for their soaring flights. Listed as ‘near-threatened’ with populations steadily declining, the black birds and their distinctive white collar can be found coasting above the high mountains or stooping down to feast on deer or cattle carcasses up and down the Chile-Argentina border.
The Andes, otherwise known as the spine of South America, dominate this dramatic landscape. This expedition explores the Planchon-Peteroa group of volcanoes before heading south to Descabezado Grande, the iconic flat-topped, headless volcano. With eruptions in the region as recently as 2011 and plenty of evidence of volcanic activity from smoking vents to hot springs, the result is the ultimate backdrop to a day’s trekking.
Explore historic Santiago
This expedition starts and ends in Santiago, the capital and cultural centre of Chile. Not only will the city host the pre-expedition briefing but also the final celebratory meal. To extend your South American experience, extra days could be spent discovering the nearby coastal towns, its even closer wine region, or closer still the city’s few surviving colonial buildings, relaxing with a pisco sour as the sunset illuminates the distant snow-capped peaks.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat if a volcano erupts?
The organisers have robust contingency plans and alternative routes for each aspect of the expedition should they prove necessary. The most recent eruption along this route was in 2011 and the volcanos are monitored by several agencies of volcanologists as well as by local partners.Can someone else carry my kit?
For this expedition team members are expected to carry their personal equipment along with a share of the group kit (tents, cooking equipment, comprehensive med kit, communications pack) and food. Depending on the weight of your personal kit this should not exceed 20kg and will get lighter as you eat food and burn fuel. If you have concerns about this aspect of the expedition, please make an enquiry and we’ll send full details and chat about it.Do we need Argentinian visas?
Although the expedition follows part of the Chile-Argentinian border, the route remains within Chile so Argentinian visas are not needed although there will be document checks on the road to the trailhead.Do I have to swim?
Of course not! Although after several days of trekking, the opportunity for a good wash in a mountain lake will seem like the height of indulgence. The trekking route will include several river crossings so you will need to be comfortable around water and it’s highly recommended to bring trekking poles to assist.Can I arrive a day late?
As The Plan outlines, there is a chain of transport to get teammates out to and back from the start of the trek and so start and end dates are not flexible.I’m a vegetarian. Can I join?
Teammates with dietary requirements are welcome to apply for this expedition and should state their specific requirements when applying.How can I find out more?
Complete a Booking Enquiry and we will send you the full details!
Dates & Availability
- 10 Mar 2019 – 24 Mar 2019
When it comes to getting off the beaten track these guys can’t be beaten. They lead pioneering expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth. The organisers are dedicated to creating imaginative experiences for adventurers around the world and their team of expert military guides are some of the most experienced in the industry. Nowhere is off limits and no idea is too crazy. They have achieved ground breaking world firsts such as mountain biking in Afghanistan and mountaineering in Iraq and their first ever expeditions to walk across Madagascar and pioneer white water rafting in South Sudan both made the headlines…. and a bit of history.
Being wild and wacky is one thing but with their background as commanders in the British Army and experienced team of specialists in every kind of terrain and environment means that all of their adventures are thoroughly planned and the safety and security of teams is always their highest priority. Expeditions can be inherently risky, but they do everything possible to minimise potential hazards and for that, and the utterly extraordinary trips they put on, we salute them.
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