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Dr. Federico Reichert, "The Father of Climbing," penetrated the South Patagonian Icecap (SPI) for the first time via the Perito Moreno Glacier, arriving at what was later called the "Reichert Step", sighting, according to his writings, the peaceful coast. It is doubtful that what they sighted was the Pacific as it is usually very difficult to see the sea from this region.

1916 Expedition of the Buenos Aires-based German Scientific Society. Participants were Alfredo Kölliker, Lutz Witte, Franz Kühn, and the photographer Hans Joergesen. Accessed the SPI middle of February, ascending from Viedma Lake up the Tunel River, over Cerro Huemul and onto the Paso de los Cuatro Glaciares (Pass of the Four Glaciers).

1928 María Albert of Agostini, "the Father of Patagonia," began explorations of the region, leaving from Punta Arenas.

1929 Agostini explores the Baguales Mountains.

1931 Agostini ascends the Upsala Glacier from Lago Argentino, arriving on the SPI in early February. Continued to a plateau of snow he named Altiplano Italia (Italy Plateau), where he climbed a mountain he called Mount Torino. Agostini sighted Fiordo Falcon and the Pacific Ocean and also named Cerro Murallón and Cerro Don Bosco. Günther Plüschow made the first flights over the region in the Silver Condor. His plane ditched into Lago Argentino killing himself and his mechanic.

1933 Federico Reichert again penetrates the SPI via the O'Higgins Glacier from Lago O’Higgins/San Martin. After a long wait for clear weather he sighted a vapor-emitting volcanic cone of about 3000 meters in altitude. Surprisingly, the first discovery of the Lautaro Volcano was not considered, and it remained hidden for another than 30 years. Ilse von Rentsell becomes the first woman on the SPI.

1952 Argentineans. An expedition endorsed by President Peron, organized by Dr. Bruno Guth and led by the head of the Argentinean Army, Emiliano Huerta. Expedition participants were Mario Bertone, Arrigo Bianchi, Folco Doro Atlan and Antonio Ruiz Beramendi. Attempted the first crossing of the SPI, with the idea of determining the division of the drainage systems. Beginning the voyage on February 4 they arrive at the FitzRoy region, cross the Marconi Pass, sighting the Pacific Ocean, possibly Fiordo Exmouth, on February 16. Returned via the same route arriving February 23. They name the highlands Caupolicán, and Lautaro Volcano, and climb North Cerro Marconi and the White Dome. On their return they are received by Peron as national heroes. The National Institute of the Continental Ice is formed as a result of their expedition. They used individual Nansen-type sleds and telemark skis. Although regarded by the Argentineans as a traverse of the SPI, they did not reach the Pacific Ocean.


1955 - 56 The famous English explorer, Harold William (Bill) Tilman, with the backing of the Royal Geographical Society of London, arrives at Punta Arenas in his sailing cutter - Mischief. A Chilean, Jorge Quinteros, joins the team and they penetrate the Patagonian fiords, disembarking December 17. Beginning their trek on January 1, the team heads towards the plateau arriving at the foot of Cerro Cervantes on January 13. They descended Perito Moreno Glacier arriving at Lago Argentino January 18, where they took a bath in the cold waters. They returned via the same route, arriving at their boat on January 27, completing their journey of 60 km in 27 days. The expedition also sailed into Fiordo Peel where it lost part of its propellor. Tilman’s was the first ‘sport’ expedition and completed the first traverse of the SPI. They didn't use skis or sleds.

1958 Chilean and Japanese expeditions that would operate simultaneously on the ice, in the zone of the Barros Arana Range and the North Patagonian Icecap. There is not much information available on these trips.

1958 The famous English explorer, Eric Shipton, completed three notable expeditions to the region. The first using a Zodiac to cross Lago Argentino, ascending the Onelli Glacier and crossing the icecap until sighting the Pacific fiords below the Penguin Glacier. Meeting with John Barry, and Geoffrey, they try to cross the valley to Cerro Mayo, then continue toward the Pacific. This area, the Mayo Pass, poses severe difficulties, and they finally arrive at Laguna Escondida before ascending the eastern margin of the Glaciar de Mayo to the Ameghino Glacier. They collected an enormous range of plant species.

1958-59 With Englishmen, Jack Ewer and Peter Miles, Shipton ascended the very broken O'Higgins Glacier. Finally they arrived at a nunatak from where they sighted the Lautaro Volcano, locating it finally after 30 years of mystery. They met a pair of Chileans, Edward García and Cedomir Marangunic, with whom they would later carry out long expeditions.

1959-1961 ? Argentineans, Hugo Corbella, Jorge Marticorena, Luis Costas ascend the SPI from Lago San Martin/O’Higgins and head south to the Viedma Glacier descending to Lago Viedma.

1959 Jorge Peterek, carries out a Polish expedition, belonging to the CABA, Andean Center from Buenos Aires. He explores the sector of the Dickson and Frio Lagunas, and Cerro Cubo, naming the Altiplano Polinia. He later died on the Paine Grande.


1960-61 Shipton, Ewer and the Chileans, García and Marangunic. North to south crossing from the Jorge Montt Glacier to Lago Argentino via the Upsala Glacier, a distance of 210 km. The first great voyage of the SPI, besides being the first to use sleds in the transport of equipment. The north-south traverse was chosen to take advantage of the winds in that area. Leaving Punta Arenas, they arrive at the Jorge Montt Glacier December 10. They portage their equipment onto the upper glacier arriving January 2 at the base of the O'Higgins Range and then to the Lautaro Volcano. On January 20 they reached Viedma Nunatak, then on January 23 they make the first ascent of Cerro Don Bosco and Cerro Murallón. They continued south to the Upsala Glacier, arriving at Cristina Station on January 30, completing a crossing of approximately 60% of the SPI in 48 days. Their success was due to a modern approach in expeditioning. They used a single pyramid tent, of common use in Antarctica at that time, which was dismantled like an umbrella and placed on the sled, saving much time. They also took a sled of 18 kilos, that could be dismantled in four pieces, and one small sled that Jack Ewer used. Took specially prepared food, a recent innovation, of 4500 [kcal] / day. However they used snowshoes instead of skis. Their total load was 310 kilos, surprising considered the magnitude of the journey and the total absence of sailing or communication equipment now commonly used. The genius of Shipton is noticed clearly in this project.

1961 Argentineans, Carlos Sonntag, Teodoro Sifuentes, with a group of 12 people, penetrate the SPI via Rio Electrico near FitzRoy in the first winter expedition (July), arriving at the Paso de los Cuatro Claciares.

1962 Chilean Andean Club expedition led by Claudio Lucero with Cesar Vasquez, Esteban Siquez, and Fernando Fuentes, cross from the Fiordo Témpano to Lago O'Higgins, about 70 km, returning via the same route.

1963 Edward García, Cedomir Marangunic, Alvaro YaĖez and René Martínez were members of the University Association of Andinismo. Departed November 1962 from Lago Electrico and cross to Fiordo Exmouth and back, returning January 15, 1963, in 50 days.

1963 Glaciologist John Mercer, began work on both sides of the SPI

1969 Two Japanese expeditions. The first, called Expedition Chotoro Nakasima from the University of Kioto, conduct scientific studies in the Pious XI Glacier region on the west coast. The other group, led by H. Sakagami, together with I. Ikawa, S. Iwata, M. Maekawa and K. Matsunaga, propose a traverse from Fiordo Exmouth to the Upsala Glacier. They departed from Puerto Edén with the Chilean Navy, carrying a total load of 600 kilos. They arrived at Exmouth Fiord early in January and reached the SPI January 8. They crossed the icecap by March 2, installing 11 camps and climbing sex peaks in the Cordon Riso Patron. They took 60 days to cover a distance of only 80 kilometers, seemingly due to bad weather, experiencing only three good days. They reached Rokko Pass, at 2000 meters and descended the Upsala glacier. Matsunaga and Maekawa climbed summit #6 of the Riso Patron, 2950 meters, on February 16, 1969.


1971 Japanese expedition from the University of Jochi, Tokyo. Arrived Santiago but were delayed more than one and a half months before gaining support from the Chilean Navy. Three members, Toschio Takeuchi, Takeo Tsusuki and Takeo Yoshizawa, carry 800 kilos of supplies, having sleds but not skis. Arrived at Fiordo Falcon on December 3 and had previously placed a depot at Fiordo Europe. They crossed between the Falcon and Europe in the slowest recorded expedition - 50 km in 51 day, naming the Japan plateau and also climbing Cerro Akira and Cerro Iruka. They introduced the practice of placing intermediate depots. 1973 Shipton returned for a short expedition to Lautaro.

1976 Pedro Svarka, an Argentinean glaciologist, carries out a winter voyage between the Upsala glacier and the Marconi Pass - 40 km. Surprisingly he travelled south to north, against the wind. Later on this route will be repeated many times, even with commercial groups.

1978 Scottish expedition, leaving the port of Granton in Scotland in October of 1977. Expedition members, Ian Carr, Dick Port, William Jeffrey, David Neilson, Wallace Rennie and Doug Anderson. Sailing on the yacht, Eloisa, 60 feet and 34 tons built by the skipper, Ian Rennie, they arrive first at Punta Arenas on February 7 before sailing to Tierra del Fuego. They sail into Hyatt Sound at the north-western end of the Cordillera Darwin from where they make a number of ascentsFrom here they sailed north, where three expeditioners, Nielsen, Jeffrey and Anderson, cross the SPI from west to east, from Fiordo Exmouth to the Rio Electrico, using skis and sleds. They were arrested and imprisoned for crossing illegally into Argentina.

1979 New Zealanders carry out a March expedition from west to east, from the Trinidad River to Lago Electrico. They climb several summits in the region.

1979-80 New Zealanders led by Gerry McSweeney. They repeat Shipton’s traverse, but continue south, arriving at Paine. Jacquetta Smith becomes the first woman to cross the SPI, together with Paddy Gresham and Chris Blackman. Upon arriving at Cerro Murallón, they continue south across the Italy Plateau, arriving near Fiordo Falcon where they turn around and return to the Upsala glacier. Possibly with skis and individual sleds.

1981-82 Japanese expedition. Attempted the first complete north-south crossing of the SPI, entering at Jorge Montt Glacier, on October 10. They persist until January 31, experiencing bad conditions on the glacier. Total 110 days. There is not much information about their journey, however in the expedition were members of the German Andean Club of 1998. The remains of one of their camps still exists on the edge of the Jorge Montt.


1982-83 French expedition. Very large expedition consisting of Dr. Jean Louis Hourcadett, Bertrand Doligez, Marc Roquefere and led by Roger Hemon. The expedition slowly ground down due to the misunderstanding of the peculiarities of the SPI and its climate. They use the services of the Chilean Navy leaving depots at Fiordos Dickson, Falcon, Calvo, Europe, Falla, Exmouth and Bajo Pascua near the exit of the Jorge Montt, each consisiting of 300 kilos, with supplies for a month. In total they cater for 3 months, accumulating a load of more than 1500 kilos. They used mountaineering skis, dome tents and 1.8m fiberglass sleds, however they overlooked other important items like backpacks, gas fuel cannisters, skins for their skis, radio, down clothing, etc. Departed from Puerto Bellavista to the bottom of the Seno Ultima Esperanza, near Puerto Natales, where they disembark with 400 kilos of supplies. They slowly ascended the Balmaceda Glacier, but found difficulty with their great loads. Travelling against the wind they arrived at the Dickson Glacier after 36 days, where they descend to Cerro Ariel and locate their first depot. They spent much time climbing around mountains which possibly made them lose the spirit to continue. In 44 days they travel only 110 km, using big sleds and travelling against the sun and wind.

1982 French expedition. Departing from Mar del Plata, they use a sailing ship skippered by Frenchman Philippe Facues, and enter Fiordo Falcon, disembarking on December 27. Frenchmen Jean Marc Boivin, Dominique Marchal, Bernad Prud'Homme and Jean Louis Etienne, the first man to ski solo to the North Pole, and co-leader with Will Steger of the International Transantarctic Expedition, a crossing of Antarctica via its longest axis, 7500 km. They arrived in the Fitz-Roy region in only 10 days. Initially the group included Denis Ducroz and Thierry Leroy, but two removed them from the trip. After completing the march, Boivin, one of the better rock and ice climbers, continued to Cape Horn, where he climbed the difficult south wall.


1985 Italians. The famous mountaineer, Walter Bonatti, with Melchiorre Foresti and Elio Sangiovanni, penetrated the SPI from Fiordo Bernardo, advancing north until arriving near the Jorge Montt Glacier, where, on November 27, he climbed a mountain, naming it Punta Casari.

1985 The Italian Giuliano Giongo, notable Patagonian climber with ascents of Fitz-Roy and Torre Egger, claimed a crossing of the SPI. In a story full of uncertainties and inaccuracies, the Italian mountaineer, Walter Bonatti, discredits Giongo’s expedition.

1986 Italian expedition. Guiliano Maseri, Casimiro Ferrari and six others. Departing in August, three groups bound for Patagonia, one to Mount Sarmiento, another to Mount San Lorenzo and the last to the Fiordo Falcon region. In mid-winter they climbed Cerro Riso Patron, and crossed the SPI arriving at Cristina Station on Lago Argentino. 1986 Italians. Giuseppe Alippi, Carlo Buzzi, Guiuliano Maresi, Luciano Spadaccini, Luciano Bertolina, Luigi Corti, Roberto Maresi and Egidio Spreafico. A short expedition of 50km in five days from Paso del Viento near Fitz-Roy to the Cristina Station. From December 20 to 25, without skis or sleds.

1991 South Americans. Marcos Couch, Albert del Castillo and Gabriel Ruiz from Argentina, with José Carlos Tamayo from Spain and the Brazilian Alexander Portela. Initially they install two depots, one in the Fitz-Roy region, in the Paso del Viento, and the other in the Perito Moreno Glacier, where they also climb Cerro Cervantes. They depart April 4, quite late in the season, entering the Jorge Montt Glacier, with loads of 120 kilos for person, including a rubber boat. They arrive at Paso del Viento on May 5 in 31 days of good marching, but they were stopped by the onset of winter.

1992 Italians. Intention to complete a complete traverse of the SPI in winter, using a strategy of speed. Team consists of Gianni Rovedatti, Mauricio Folini, Dario Mura and Guiseppe Miotti, all Italian alpine guides from the Sondrio region. They arrive in August of 1992, towing 64kg each, but counting on reaching a depot left in the Fitz-Roy region. They experience 10 days snowing, with only 3 days of good weather, allowing them to climb the mountain located at the bottom of the valley of the Lake Jorge Montt, that they call Cerro Valtellina, 1980 m (48°21'17'' N- 73°34'78'' S). They ascend the northeast ridge then return to Caleta Tortel.


1992 Paolo Cavagneto, Alberto Guelpa, Joel Blumenberg and Paolo Falco, cross in 35 days from Jorge Montt to Laguna Escondida and Lago Argentino, using skis and modern sleds. One of the "Big" expeditions to the region intent on carrying out an "unsupported" expedition. They depart November 4 with 400 kilos of equipment. In only 27 days they arrive south of Lago Argentino, possibly at the foot of the Falla (Mayo Gap), where they explore the region for nine days, looking for a pass to the south. On December 9 they descend the Glaciar Mayo, abandoning the expedition after discovering it seemed impossible to continue further south.

1992 Italians. Adriano Cavallaro, Diego Giovanella, Giani Berta, Enrico Marazzi and the "Patagonico" mountaineer, Italian, Ermanno Salvaterra, who climbed Cerro Torre several times, included the first winter ascent of the south face - one of the most difficult climbs in the world. They leave from the region of Chalten on October 16 for the Marconi Pass, with sleds of 40 kilos and mountaineering skis, arriving at the upper basin of the Glacier Jorge Montt, returning past FitzRoy, where Marazzi and Berta would leave the SPI. The other three continue and arrive on October 27 at the Spegazzini Glacier, which they descend to Lago Argentino. An incredible journey assisted by extraordinarily good climatic conditions. They don't use sails.

1993 Chileans, Mauricio Purto, Italo Valle, and Jorge Quinteros attempt a complete crossing, using a helicopter from Torres del Paine, to place five depots - Balmaceda Glacier, the upper Tyndall Glacier, near the Dickson, one before the Mayo Gap and the last near the exit of the gap, the north border in the sector of the hill that leads to the "Plateau of Patience." However, upon leaving on April 26, without placing a foot on the ice, they returned on May 13 with the explanation that an avalanche buries the team. One month later they return by helicopter to look for the depots, but they are buried by snow and they find nothing. Surprisingly they chose the south to north route, with the faith that the most difficult sector in the south will be overcome first.

1993 Two notables Swiss climbers, alpine guides, Frank Dellatorre, 36, and Giovanoli Arthur, 46. Very experienced with ascents of Denali and Manaslu. They propose a complete crossing of the SPI, north to south, including the North Patagonian Icecap. They would cross the water between the two icecaps using a yacht, the Pelagic, skippered by Skip Novak. Entered the San Rafael Glacier on September 28, climbing San Valentín, then continuing for the Steffen glacier, arriving on October 30. With Skip Novak, they arrive at Jorge Montt on November 4, accompanied always by the terrible climate, reaching the Upsala glacier on December 2. They continued until the edge of the Mayo Gap, where they got lost, drop a sled into a crevasse and lose batteries for the GPS. They return, after a total of 17 days lost, almost without food, losing also their tent. Finished down the Upsala. A total of 84 days.


1993 Australians. Geoff Butcher, Steven Butcher, Graeme Hoxley and Alex McConnell. With the intention of a west to east crossing, they leave in the middle of February from Tortel, at the end of the Baker River, in a small fishing boat. They enter Fiordo Témpano, where in a week of carrying they reach the SPI and approach the Lautaro Volcano. However the next 40 km were heavily crevassed and they were unable to continue. They return to the fiord and expect the fishing vessel to return after 10 days, which they had arranged if they ran into trouble. The boat didn’t return so they made their way over the next few weeks to the Messier Channel where they flagged down a boat. The group had no radio. They even attempted to make a wooden raft but it collapsed. After climbing onto an iceberg, Geoff Butcher fell off, fracturing three ribs.

1993 Spaniards. Antonio Pérez Grueso, José Carlos Tamayo, Antonio Trabado, José Luis Bedia and the Argentinean, Sebastián de la Cruz L and led by Sebastián Alvaro. They attempted a north-south longitudinal crossing, using sleds and skis, and the support of helicopters. They leave in February entering Fiordo Calen and after 10 days of portaging arrive on the plateau on February 28. With light sleds they advanced quickly, arriving at the Fitz-Roy region on April 14, continuing for almost 12 days to the Paso del Viento, where they rest and receive food that was delivered for them by Horacio Bresba and Lucas Kopcke. They continue on March 27 arriving at the northern border of the Mayo Gap on April 4, where bad weather stops them. They wait for nine days until April 13 when transported by helicopter across the 12 km gap that was judged impossible to traverse. They landed on the other side of Cerro Bastion, continuing the following day and arriving April 21 in the region of the Amalia Glacier. Arriving at the end of their expedition on April 22, they descend the Pingo Glacier which leads to the Torres del Paine Park National, from which they embark on two boats, navigating the Serrano River going out to the Fiordo Ultima Esperanza and returning to Puerto Natales. In total: 62 days, 350 km. It was a notable expedition, even with the use of helicopters to skip the Mayo Gap. Surprisingly this expedition claims the first total crossing, despite leaving via the Pingo glacier. The true end is the Balmaceda Glacier, 50 km to the south.

1995 A group of four American guides; Kathy Cosley, Mark Houston, SP. Parker and John Schutt. They attempt an April crossing from Fitz-Roy to Torres del Paine, entering the ice at the Paso del Viento. Arrived at the Mayo Gap, their main objective, but were unable to find a route through and were forced to escape to Lago Argentino. Continued by horse and then boat to the town of Calafate. They climbed a mountain on the SPI, posthumously naming it Cerro Julie, in honor of a friend, Julie Culberson. They also ascend Cerro Mayo near Lago Argentino.


1995 Germans. Arrive at Valparaíso by the middle of September, with Arved Fuchs, veteran of numerous polar expeditions, and the only man, at the time, to reach the North and South Pole in the same year. He arrived in Chile with the intention of crossing the SPI, north to south. The large team includes Chileno-German Gunther Jüllich, and Chilean, Pablo Besser. They sail south to the Jorge Montt, where Arved is assisted onto the ice by a team of 6 people. The rest continue south, navigating the Patagonian channels, arriving at Fiordo Peel where 3 people continue on a small zodiac. Gunther Jüllich remained on the beach, at the foot of the García Glacier, and Pablo Besser continued with Sigga Ragna Sverrisdottir, from Iceland. After 3 weeks of looking for the route, they arrive at a small region surrounded by mountains from where, in some days of good weather, they make the first of more than nine acents. They also see the northern slopes of the Mayo Gap in its entirety. Arved Fuchs, with Till Gottbrath and the American Roger Schmidt, continue on skis and with sleds, and arrive in about 30 days, crossing the 270 km with the use of 10 m2 parawings (kites), covering more than 40 a day. They join the team at the Mayo Gap where they are hit by a 10 day storm. One tent is destroyed and the team of five live in the remaining tent, hence naming the region, "Plateau of Patience". They descend off the Gap dropping 900 metres in 5 days. A sled containing food fell 60 metres to the bottom of a crevasse and had to be retrieved. They finished on a beach at the foot of the García Glacier, where they find food left by the boat. The boat returns, entering until the end of Fiordo Peel. In total, 50 days from the Jorge Montt to the Peel.

1995 Swiss. Same team as 93, Franco Dellatorre and Arturo Giovanoli. They began one week before Fuchs, and travelled quickly despite heavy sleds. Abandoned attempt when they lost their tent in a storm above Fitz-Roy.

1996 Pablo Besser, Rodrigo Fica, and Jorge Crossley travel the route from Jorge Montt to the Mayo Gap in 56 days, a distance of 256 km. Towing 1.85m sleds on mountaineering skis. Upon arriving at the Mayo Gap, Jorge is evacuated by the Chilean Navy and the expedition is abandoned. The rest of the team exit from the Mayo Gap in only 5 hours.

1998 International/Chileans. Soames Flowerree, Chilean, Dereck, Ralph Rymill from Norway and José Velez of Ecuador, climbers from the German Club of Santiago. Intend to cross from Jorge Montt to Upsala glacier. Departing February, they enter the Jorge Montt but are hampered by the effects of El Nino. The glacier is in terrible condition. And they take three weeks to ascend it. Finally arrive at the Viedma Glacier, enjoying 20 days of good weather, but their progress south is difficult and they descend at Paso del Viento. 160 km total.

1998- 1999 Chilean Transpatagonian Expedition. Pablo Besser (leader) Rodrigo Fica, Mauricio Rojas and José Pedro Montt. The first unsupported north-south crossing of the SPI. In 98 days they traveled 400 km with more than 60 camps. they They crossed the Mayo Gap for the first time, in 30 days of work, demonstrating that it is possible, though very difficult. Exited via the Balmaceda Glacier.

1999 USA. Kyle Bohensteil (leader) Karl Feaux, Rob Weber and Bart Matthews. NAGIS surveying expedition. Reached the plateau via the Jorge Montt. Intended to climb Lautaro but hampered by bad weather. Returned via same route.