People don’t usually travel from all corners of the world to ski in the heart of Patagonia. In the northern stretches of Patagonia there’s more favorable ski conditions, as Jake and the boys have clearly shown us this summer. There is some great skiing to be found in the “true” reaches of wild Patagonia from El Chalten and Torres del Paine, on down to Ushuaia, but sliding on snow is not the major draw for most. The silhouette on the Patagonia label (the clothing manufacturer) encompasses the skyline in El Chalten for a reason. Perfect granite, unparalleled mixed climbing, and some of the most stunning mountain scenery on earth.
Even still, the reputation in this region of the world is brutal, and rightfully so. Harsh weather that can either keep you out of the alpine, or swarm in on you in an instant is a given. And the winds…the winds are unlike anywhere else in the world. I remember being hunkered down for a few days in EL Chalten, hoping to ski/climb, thinking I might get fully sand-bagged since I didn’t have that much time in the area. By the time we got our first look at the famous skyline popping through the clouds, and the window to maybe climb/ski opened, just that felt like something had been accomplished.
Take a ride with Jon Griffith into the heart of Patagonia. This video gives you a really good idea of what alpinists, climbers, and mountaineers are hoping to get into when they make the trip to El Chalten. If you ski, you’ll also see a few spots that might make you want to get there this late fall. The skinny couloir in the beginning of the movie that Jon climbs looks amazing.