Talk of Patagonia invariable invokes wild landscapes scarified by glaciers, pricked by
wind-lashed jagged mountains and sterotypical pampas sliced through by frigid
fjords. It is all of this—and more. Patagonia. It is a name to quicken the pulse, such
that it kindles the imagination, and has stoked up adventurous flames throughout a
sub-polar history that is engaging and compelling in equal measure. And how might
such a region acquire its evocative moniker if not indeed from the word patagone,
meaning big feet, this being a pointed reference to the big-footed Indians encountered
by Magellan and his fleet when they sailed for the first time through the channel that
still bears his name.
Austere. Beautiful. Unique and challenging. Patagonia is a region inspiring yet
defying superlatives. By its very nature it astounds with a feast of maritime scenery in
which sea, mountain and glacier come together in a symphony of visual perfection.
Exploration of this region is flagged by many famous names—Shipton of course,
Earle, Tilman, Egger, Bonnington, de Agostini, Darwin, Hibberd—that have all
helped shape history to bring these topographical features to the world’s stage. And
what a performance! Patagonia is synonymous with spectacular ‘sculpted’ peaks that
might very well have fallen from the canvas of some science fiction artist.
Whatever else Patagonia might prove to be, I knew by coming here that it would
be a unique experience as life-changing as any I could have wished for. Share with me
the stunning landscapes and wild places, my moments of euphoria, the disappointments
and the unexpected encounters that made my time here such an unforgettable