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ARGENTINIAN TIERRE DEL FUEGO – 4 Day Trek – Paso De La Oveja January 28, 2007

Posted by Jason in Argentina, Patagonia, South America, Travel, trekking.

Day 1 – Laguna Encantada

The Taxi finally dropped us off at about 1pm and we were hoping for a short day. The sun was still shining. The fourth day in a row of 20C heat, unheard of in Ushuaia!

Jason cooking the lomito!! Cheryl at the start of the trek to Paso de la Oveja Chez tucking in!
We got to the river after 15 minutes or so where the Lonely Planet trekking guide states there is a “shallow wade across the river”. The river is infact quite fast flowing and over your knee!

After drying off we headed up through the forest and followed the stream steeply up hill until eventually coming out at a meadow, and after a further 10 minute walk we reached the Lake.

The scene was beautiful. A wonderful corrie, with the lake at the bottom. Cliffs striding into the sky and peaks surrounding us.

A waterfall cascaded down into the corrie from a hidden lake above us.

We walked halfway around the lake to the west and set up camp.

We would have the lake to ourselves tonight watching the sun go down. A beautiful wild camp site.

After Aconcagua we were determined to improve our rations for trekking in the future, so tonight was Lomito night! Steak sandwich!! Fantastic!

Day 2 – Cerro Esfinge and Laguna De Los Tempanos

Chezza…after complaining she did not want to climb another mountain again….EVER!! Decided that she wanted to stay put today at this camp site and climb Cerro Esfinge which rose steeply from the corrie floor opposite from our camp site.

Jason on top of the first peak with the Beagle Channel behind Ushuaia below Cerro Esfinge and the Beagle Channel Jason pondering above Laguna de los Tempanos

So we set off at 9am and headed up the long scree slopes. It was extremely steep and arduous. We were camping at 550m and the peak reached a height of 1,275m. As we climbed the weather began to turn, the wind got stronger and the temperature dropped.

After 2 1/2 hopurs or so we reached the top of the first peak and the steep towering pinnacles that we could see from our camp site. We continued on for another 30 minutes or so before reaching the true top.

The views were spectacular, 360 degree vista of glaciers, snowy peaks and the Beagle Channel and Isla Navarino to the South. No one else to be seen, just a beautiful view.

We descended back to our tent for an afternoon nap and then climbed the ridge behind our camp to view a higher Laguna, Laguna De Los Tempanos which was another 200m above us.

We initially retraced our steps back down the meadow to the forest looking for what the Lonely Planet describes as a “Descreet Path “. Which we later discovered is LP speak for a path that does not exist! We made our way over the ridge up an extremely steep scree slope(with protests from Chezza!!) and finally saw the beautiful Laguna. With a Glacier down to the waters edge and a beautiful corrie.

The views today were superb.

Our feast to end the day was Argentinian Chorizo Sausages. . . I´m in heaven!

Day 3 – Turbera Valle Andorra and across the Paso de la Oveja

We were up early, 6am to get an early start so that we could do 2 days trekking in one day.

Down the forest back to the valley floor, we immediately took a wrong turn!! However, as luck would have it the path cut time off our journey as we found a rickety make shift bridge across the river making another river crossing unnecessary.

We made our way into the forest and followed an “intermittent” path through the forest and up the valley. (intermittent – being a Lonely Planet term for a path that dissappears!Regularly!!)!

The heavens opened and rain poured on us for several hours.

Eventually we reached Arroyo Del Caminante and the end of what should have been a days trekking.

Staying a day at the lagoon meant we were running out of time to complete the trek. And unusually we had no emergency rations so no extra days food.

We continued up the river and reached a clearing above the tree line where the path forks between the Pass and Laguna Del Caminante.

We decided to carry on over the pass and try to complete the 2 days trekking. We climbed steadily up the pass and the weather took a turn for the better and revealed fantastic views to the north to snow capped peaks and Glaciers.

Patagonian peaks looking north Chez going over the pass Cascading waterfalls into the valley
We continued up to the top of the pass where we managed to get a view of the valley dropping away to the South as the cloud began to clag in. Beautiful waterfalls cascaded down from the steep hillsides into the valley below. It was a wonderful sight.

As the wind began to pick up we followed the cairns own the otherside of the pass hoping to find the idyllic campsite mentioned in the LP. Unfortunately we went too far and began crossing the steep scree slope and traversing it down the valley. When we realised we had gone too far it was…well kind of too late!

So with a bit of lateral thinking we went straight down into the forests below to try and get to a clearing we had seen at the bottom of the valley. We knew there was an alternative path alongside the river so it shouldn´t actually add too long to our last days walking.

The slope was extremely steep and very arduous to descend but we made it to the bottom and then bushwacked through the trees to the clearing. Unfortunately most of the “clearing” was infact bog, and very wet. But eventually found a place right next to the river to pitch the tent. As we put up the tent, the heavens opened and rain lashed down.

We finally got into our tent for 8pm to cook dinner. We were needless to say both knackered!!

Day 4 – Canadon De La Oveja to Ushuaia….the walk out

We again woke fairly early because we weren´t quite sure what the LP trek guide would throw at us next! The route down the valley is described “It is very boggy and scrubby in places, though generally quite pleasant going”. . . . . mmm!

Chezza in the mud…..again!! Our improvised camp across the pass!    Tierre Del Fuego National Park
Well they got the “boggy” and “scrubby” bit right. The pleasant going I would have to take issue with!!

Bearing in mind we were camping on the exact spot the path was supposed to be and you couldn´t see it gives you an idea of how “indistinct” it could get!

Anyway after about 2 hours of extreme bushwacking, wading through bogs and mud and hardly being on anything I would call a path at all, we finally found the proper path coming down from the scree!

From there it was easy going gradually down the valley with views to the Beagle Channel.

The sun came out to greet us as we reached the edge of the trees.

The LP´s instructions were to go “South West”. We were most perplexed and finally realised that the path actually went south east and then east!

Finally we reached the road after negotiating some angry looking dogs through ramshackled buildings. We flagged down a taxi and back to Ushuaia.

A beer most overdue was had! This was a superb trek!



1. taxi bulgaria - December 10, 2011

I do agree with all the concepts you’ve introduced for your post. They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very quick for newbies. May just you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

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