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East-west traverse Hielo Patagonico Sur

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Marcello Cominetti, Thomas Reilly, Alistair Crafword, Andrew Denton, Simon Shercliff, Tania Cotton, Andy Lewitt, Kewin Mulligan, Filippo Beccari have carried out the 1st complete east-west traverse of the Hielo Patagonico Sur, Patagonia.

Hielo Patagonico Sur, Cominetti

After the vertical adventures of Salvaterra, Garibotti and Beltrami on Cerro Torre, and those of Glowacz and Jasper on Murallon, its time for the other Patagonian dimension: the wild open horizontal plane. Marcello Cominetti, an Italian Mountain Guide, has just completed the first east-west traverse of the Hielo Patagonico Sur, starting from Glaciar Chico and finishing at the Exmouth-Trinidad fjord.

Cominetti departed on 3 November together with Thomas Reilly, Alistair Crafword, Andrew Denton, Simon Shercliff, Tania Cotton, Andy Lewitt, Kewin Mulligan and the mountain guide Filippo Beccari, and completed the traverse 16 days later. Cominetti writes: "It's not an exceptional performance in its absolute sense" but we belive it was without a doubt a fantastic journey at the border, if not beyond, of this world.

Patagonian chronicle
1st complete east-west traverse of the Hielo Patagonico Sur, from Glaciar Chico to Exmouth-Trinidad fjord.

by Marcello Cominetti

We were there too... not on the vertical walls of Cerro Torre or the Murallon like Salvaterra and Glowacz but the (near) horizontal planes of the Hielo Patagonico Sur...
We departed on 3 November from Glaciar Chico (Lake O'Higgins - Chile) and on 19 November we reached the Pacific Ocean and fjord Exmouth-Trinidad. In doing so we completed the first complete east-west traverse of this immense expanse of the Hielo Patagonico Sur (or Hielo Continental Sur).

On the whole the weather was rather good and gave us various days of sun, even if the classic patagonian storms pinned us down for a couple of days at Mariano Moreno Pass where, to our surprise, we had to navigate our way out through the labyrinth of crevasses on the west face.

The traverse was carried out using sledges to drag the heavy rucksacks. We had to carry these though to enter and exit from the glaciers for a total of 4 hard days work.

Close to the Pacific coast we entered the dense and fearful "rain forest" and this turned out to be the most demanding section of the trip (!).

From the Exmouth-Trinidad fjord we continued by sailing boat and in three adventurous days (read terrible storms...) we reached Puerto Natale.

It's not an exceptional performance in the absolute sense, but for me it is because I did it as a guide with a group of eight people along a complex itinerary, especially if you're with "clients". I have to say though that the group was comprised of highly experienced people which I knew already, and that Filippo Beccari, a young Mountain Guide from Bologna, help me a lot.

Our team was comprised of: Thomas Reilly, Alistair Crafword, Andrew Denton, Simon Shercliff, Tania Cotton, Andy Lewitt, Kewin Mulligan, Filippo Beccari, Marcello Cominetti (mountain guide and organiser, Guide Alpine Star Mountain)

Marcello Cominetti

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Photo: on the glacier Pio XI (ph arch. M. Cominetti).

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