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Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

with TICAM II GTX

TICAM II GTX

Hiking in the middle of nowhere

Arthur Kudelka in Patagonia

Argentina Patagonia – the mecca for climbers and hikers. No matter which tourbook you read, this South American region is definitely on every “to-do” list. This was certainly the case for Arthur Kudelka, the Head of the LOWA Service Department and the contact person for the LOWA PRO Team. He has now returned with a consid­erable number of pictures and a fascinating field report.

Arthur Kudelka

Arthur Kudelka

The idea for the trip had been buzzing in our heads for a long time: trav­elling to the end of the world one day, to Patagonia, and going back­packing and camping – no major plans, no reser­vations, just setting off and seeing what happens. But when? We didn’t want to put it off indef­initely, so we decided to just do it. On 13 January 2017, we packed our two backpacks, each weighing 15 kg, and set off on a 36-hour journey to El Calafate via Madrid and Buenos Aires.

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“The Patagonian summer welcomed us with warm temper­atures and sunshine instead of the expected wind and rain.”

Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

We started off full of elation. After paying a brief visit to the famous and growing Perito Moreno Glacier, we travelled on to El Chaltén. This small place in the south of Argentina is the Patagonian moun­tain­eering mecca. The first exped­itions set out from here back in the 1950s to conquer the major peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre for the first time. We also chose this place for the next few days as the starting point for several short hikes and for the Huemul Trek to the Southern Patagonia Icefield. During a brief detour to the Cerro Torre vantage point, we got an inkling of what to expect over the next few days – a wild and stunning natural envir­onment.

Two days later after a close inspection of our equipment by the rangers, we set off on the Huemul Trek. The trail started right at the rangers’ station. It took us through sparse beech woodland, boggy meadows and finally into the huge Rio Túnel Valley. Here our sense of balance was put to the test by stormy gusts of wind. We reached the first camp after a total of six hours and pitched our tent in the shelter of a small wooded area.

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“A view that you will remember for the rest of your life.”

Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

The route to Camp Number 2 kicked off across a Tyrolean traverse – a tensioned steel cable across a small ravine that had to be traversed with a climbing harness and backpack. Actually not a serious challenge for us climbers. But more arduous than you might think with a 15 kg pack on your back. Our route took us across coarse gravel along the Túnel Glacier towards Paso del Viento. Here, it became increasingly difficult to get our bearings and the rain got heavier. Never­theless, we managed to reach and cross the pass,

and at the top the view almost took our breath away: We had a direct view from the Paso del Viento, where there was almost no wind or rain, of the infinite vastness of the Patagonian Icefield – the world’s third largest expanse of ice. A view that you will remember for the rest of your life. After an extensive photo-taking session, we headed off towards camp.

Two days later, we set off on the third leg of our hike with the sun on our backs. This took us along the icefield towards the Huemul Pass with the mountains to our left and the infinite mass of ice to our right. The trail meandered almost unob­trusively through this imposing natural envir­onment. Four hours later, we stood at Paso Huemul and suddenly had a completely different landscape in front of us – previously, it was all rocks, ice and a lashing wind and then suddenly it was green and summery. From above, we could make out the bay of the Viedma Glacier, where the third camp on our trek was also located. We pitched our tent above the lagoon and wandered down to the bay in the evening.

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“Our last day on the Huemul Trek started in complete darkness. We wanted to climb one of the surrounding hills and photograph sunrise at the glacier from there. The morning sunshine made the climb worthwhile: It trans­formed the landscape into an absolute interplay of red granite and blue ice.”

Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

All you could hear was the sound of the camera’s shutter release – a sensation of total silence. The last leg of the trek took us back into somewhat flatter terrain along Lago Viedma towards civil­isation. The port at the end of the lake got closer and closer, and we spotted the first cars. We reached our destination after covering 57 km in five days. A short while later, we boarded the bus back to El Chaltén. On arrival there, we reported back to the rangers’ station to say we were fit and well.

The shoe

“I have covered most of the world in the Ticam II GTX. It feels like a slipper, but is extremely stable and rolls well.”

TICAM II GTX: A classic. A jack-of-all-trades. LOWA’s TICAM II GTX is a stable and snug boot that can take on both chal­lenging mountain tours and via ferrata. The outer portion of the boot is made of beautiful suede leather and the inside of GORE-TEX, a feature that keeps users’ feet comfortably dry when the weather turns wet. The Vibram® APPTRAIL sole enables users to move across demanding terrain. More …
TICAM II GTX

The facts

Duration:
4 Weeks
Climate:
Polar