Autumn ushers in the low season in Patagonia, which allows our guides time to scout new routes and revisit less popular treks. Benja, one of our most seasoned guides, shares his recent experience of his ascent of Cerro Prat.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the ascent?
A: Summit days are always challenging, especially the first part of the day. The first hour of climbing is always the hardest for me - it's early, dark, freezing cold and my legs are still asleep!
This was my second attempt to ascend Cerro Prat. On my first try, I had to stop and turn around just two meters from the summit. At the very top, the terrain is so rugged and the wind was blowing extremely hard, so I had to make the call; that was the most challenging part during that ascent - to take the decision to stop because it was the safest choice. So this time, I was very happy when I reached that same spot and there was no wind at all.
Q: Tell us about the views from the summit.
A: The most diverse views! On one side, you can see the Pacific Ocean and its patagonic fjords. On the other side, you can see all the way to the Argentinian steppe covered in yellow. The Torres del Paine mountain range in front of you and the Southern Ice Field shining in the winter light. Amazing is just not enough to describe it.
Q: When would be the best time of the year to attempt climbing Cerro Prat?
A: This mountain can be climbed all year round, and every season has its pros and cons. I like it better in winter; even though the days are shorter, the weather is more stable and the sky is usually clearer. In the summer, the days are much longer, so there is no need to hike in the dark, but the wind is usually crazy near the summits of Patagonian mountains.
Q: Besides the usual mountaineering gear, what is one personal item you cannot live without on such a trip?
A: Ha, easy. Mate to drink along the way and a flask with something hot for the summit.
All photos courtesy of Gino Pereira.
The ascent of Cerro Prat is available as part of our customised itineraries in Patagonia (Grade V; see our Grading System here). Trekkers are required to camp the night before at the base of the mountain, and the summit attempt will begin before sunrise. If you are interested in climbing this mountain or any other Patagonian peaks, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.