route is yet to be decided. As we get closer to take off,
we will outline in more detail the start point and route onto
During September and October 2000, a team of three Australians
will set out from Chile's labyrinthine coast paddling plastic
white-water kayaks loaded with equipment and food.
The Pacific is their only means of access to the western flanks
of the icecap above. After a week or so, the lush vegetation of
this remote Chilean coastline will yield to plunging glaciers fed
by the collossal icecap above.
At the base of a remote glacier, the team will utilise their kayaks
as sleds and painstakingly haul their belongings up the steep and
crevassed glacier to the plateau beyond.
Here, they will launch steerable kites and convert the infamous
wind from foe to friend, to make a ski/kite crossing of the South
The traverse will take the team over the high plateau summit and
amongst the famous granitic towers that have made Patagonia famous.
The views are like no other on earth and the freezing winter temperatures
enhance the crystalline clarity of the mountains.
Once on the icecap, the team has many options. Carrying provisions
for forty days, they will head south across the ice.
Unlike the predominantly flat terrain experienced by Eric
during his expedition to the South
Pole, the South Patagonian Icecap is much affected by the underlying
rock and surrounding mountains, and the trio will need to ply a
weaving course over and through a series of ranges, valleys, icefalls
If they are seriously hampered by Patagonia's notoriously violent
weather, the team will descend east into a maze of glaciers that
flow into a series of rivers to the massive Lago (Lake) O'Higgins.
Should the winds and weather be favourable, and the team able to
move quickly with their kites, they will continue further south
over the undulating ice to the Upsala Glacier. This glacier descends
to Lago Argentino, the most southern of this spectacular lake district,
and the site of the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Paddling past
the glacier's terminal face, the trio continue south to the lake's
most southern arm, Brazo Rico. From here they paddle and portage
over lakes and glaciers to a river that connects with the River
Paine water corridor. The River Paine takes the team past the spectacular
granitic spires of the Torres del Paine National Park.
If conditions are exceptional, Eric, Wade and Gary will continue
over the icecap to the Mayo Pass, a narrow and treacherous corridor
of broken ice that leads to the southern section of the icecap.
This elusive geographical point will mark a significant achievement
and present an opportunity to complete only the second true north-south
crossing of the South Patagonian Icecap. Click
here for details on previous expeditions.
Which route will the team choose? They are carrying an Argos satellite
tracking beacon which sends position and temperature updates back
to this site everyday. Click here to find out
how they're doing.