Wintertrekking in Patagonia
Patagonian winter is comming. Lots of people come through the summer months to spend time in what they know as a rough and real outdoor experience. There are so many stories about the crazy winds, the cold rain and the changes in weather all over. They are not just stories, some of them are horror stories, and the worst part is that most of them are true. Patagonian summer weather is created by the surroundings of the area. On the north we have the patagonian icefield, this piece of ice makes and brakes weather for our planet. To the east and the west we are stuck between to oceans who collide right where we are and from the south there is antartica wich gives us all of its cold, cold breezes. Overall quite an interesting place were at. Throughout summer the warm air comming of the oceans playes with the cold air of the icefield and antartica, this makes winds go crazy and makes the summer very unpredictable. Although in winter.... there is not so much warm air comming wich means, it isnt playing with the cold air. Weather in winter becomes much more predictable wich makes it a pleasure to be here and live it. Winter in #patagonia is like sunglasses and downjackets, beautifull crisp air and snowy backgrounds! Patagonia is a #winterparadise. After having said this, there is a couple ways you should prepare for patagonian winter.
1. Check the weather forecast
This might look like an obvious step it is important to check the weather before you go. Checking the #weather doesnt mean look at the temprature, it means much more that this. Look at the precipitation, wind speed, daylight hours and posibly avalanche reports. Peter Crane from the mount washington observatory sais: ”do your research, learn about winter conditions and how they vary from summer conditions. It is really a different world in the winter. When you get above the treeline, you have the added challenge of finding your way in limited visibility or even #whiteout conditions.” Be sure your hike is planned for a day when weatherconditions are manageable. If you decide to go on a hike make sure you prepare and bring the needed safety equipment for the weather. One of the most used websites for checking the weather in patagonia is www.windguru.cz or www.noaa.gov.
2. Dont forget sunscream
Sunscream?? Yes! Patagonia is located right below the hole in the ozon layer. Studies show that the residents of south patagonia are exposed to levels of UVB radiation 40 percent greater normal when the ozon hole is above. This means... reapply suncream at least 4 to 5 times a day. In the wintertime with #snow around this is even more important, snow works as a mirror for the sun wich means you get sunburnt from above and below. Talking about suncream we should remember also #sunglasses, for the writen above reasons.
3. Take a friend with experience
Hiking with friends is always the way to go, especially in the winter. Not only is it a lot of fun to share the #adventure with others, but it is also safer to be with a group. An experienced friend can help with choosing gear, using crampons, snowshoes or other equipment and help identifying dangerous conditions. Be sure to leave at least one friend at home who knows were you're going and when you will be back to alarm in case of emergency.
4. Invest in good gear
Eventhough not two packinglists are exactly the same there are some basic items that every winterhiker should buy or rent. Good investments are waterproof pants and jackets, gaiters, waterproof #boots, warm layer like a downjacket, at least a -9 C rated sleepingbag, sunglasses and a solid tent. While it is tempting to go cheap it is very highly recomended to be carefull and picky in your choice. A good idea is to go shopping just after last winter season, but most of the #gear can be usefull in the summerseason as well.
5. Be prepared to turn around
Ed Viesturs, a legendary mountaineer said once”getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.” This is true for mountainering as much as it is for trekking. The #mountains have been here for a long time and they will be here for a long time still. If weatherconditions or your own conditions look dangerous dont hesitate to turn atound. Focus on the whole trip as an #experience by itself, it is good to push and challenge yourself but listen to that voice in the back of your head before you make a decision that can change the rest of your life. Nature is beautifull but unforgiving if you dont respect it!
6. Dress like an onion
Dress like an onion means layers, layers and more layers. This is very important while hiking in cold weather because starting off temperature will be cold but once walking you will warm up quick. Sweat means wet, and wet means cold so it is important to regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable. Lots of people will wear long underwear, a light top layer and waterproof pants. Keep a insulated jacket at hand for any stops so you don't cool down to much. In my backpack I will bring nice warm fleece pants and fleece sweater and a waterproof shell jacket for the night or in case real bad weather comes in. Always wear thick winter socks since your toes are often the first one to feel the cold. It is nice to bring two layered gloves, one forn insulation and one for waterproofing. This outfit will keep you dry and warm and makes your hike a lot more #fun.