9 Indispensable gear for Patagonia mountaineering

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Editors Note: The following is from Issue 6
By Tomás Moggia 
A wild, beautiful and remote corner of the planet, given Patagonia’s unique and oft extreme climate, mountaineering here requires knowing how to constantly adapt to a changing environment.  Experts and mountaineers agree that the most essential things one needs here are the right mental preparation, maturity and perserverance in adverse situations, and a united, committed team.
Still, having adequate technical gear can make a big difference when confronting the rugged conditions of Patagonia’s high mountains. Below our recommendations on the nine most essential items to take with you on your adventure. 


For stepping in the higher, colder reaches of Patagonia’s mountains, there is no better expedition partner than Koflach Arctis Expe boots. Its bombproof housing and rugged outsole make it virtually indestructible yet its also imminently comfortable. The accomplished Chilean mountaineer Pablo Besser is a big fan, noting that "its main feature is that it does not absorb moisture and gather water. Although the newer shoes on the market now are all the same and this is no longer a problem."






It is a must to have a tent that is highly resistant to intense Patagonia storms, and that if necessary can stand up to fierce winds, snow and rain for long periods. We recommend The North Face Mountain 25 Tent due to its remarkable performance, affordable price and easy assembly. Dual doors with poled front vestibule, completely sealed nylon floor, ripstop fabric highly resistant to cold and winds with reflective Kevlar, are just some of the features that have made it a classic.





The MSR XGK EX Stove is key for extreme conditions due to its incredible performance in cold and high altitudes. Its safe platform, size, ease of maintenance and ability to burn multiple liquid fuels (kerosene, petrol, diesel) are among the highlights. With kerosene, it boils a liter of water in just under 3 minutes. Pablo Besser says "we use this portable stove because it delivers more energy per weight of gas. Without dout, it is the most efficient stove out there. "






For your second layer we recommend The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Hoodie. Versatile, this jacket is durable,  provides much warmth, and thanks to its Polartec Thermal Pro fabric it is relatively lightweight.  “A second layer that is ideal for climbing in cold conditions and ski mountaineering,” says Chilean mountaineering expert Sebastián Irarrázaval. “its well-designed for use with a harness and backpack and the Power Stretch side edges deliver added flexibility for mountaineering.”






Base Layer 

Patagonia’s Capilene 4 Expedition Weight is designed exclusively for the icy conditions in mountains. The Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency fabric helps maintain body heat and eliminates humidity,  at the same time breathable and with Polygiene technology to help combat odors. Being a single piece that covers the entire body, it prevents the "cold spots" between a shirt and pants. "This piece was a specific request of our brand ambassadors, athletes living much of their life in the mountains," says Rafael Olavarria, marketing director for Patagonia in Chile. 









Outer Jacket 

We talked to diverse mountaineers and this jacket won wide praise. The Patagonia M10 hard-shell is lauded as the most comfortable, durable and versatile hardshell jacket available. It is ideal in bad weather, delivering fully waterproof and breathable protection thanks to its construction based on three layers of nylon H2No Performance Standard. And all this weighing only 229 grams (8.1 oz). 





Down Jacket

The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody is a great ally to be used as an intermediate layer when in the most adverse conditions or outer layer in moderate situations. It weighs just 263 grams weight and is filled with 800-Fill-Power goose down, making it ideal for cold climates as well as for adventures where you want to save room in your backpack. “This is a highly technical jacket yet,” says Rafael Olavarria of Patagonia Chile, “yet you can wear it every day in the city without looking like a mountaineer.”






The North Face Point Five NG Pants offers the best option for extreme mountaineering conditions.  The fit is just right: boots covered, roomy enough for comfortable freedom of movement, and adjustable at the waist.  Most important,  its Gore-Tex Pro Shell 3-layer waterproof membrane and Nylon ripstop face fabric do a fantastic job keeping you dry.  











The North Face Corefire Balaclava is an excellent choice to protect your most valuable face. It stands down the harshest weather of Patagonia with this lightweight, breathable balaclava made with Polartec Power Stretch fabric.  Says Sebastián Irarrázaval: “the ergonomic design and its light fabric make it comfortable and you can use it below a helmet without problems.”