Look close, immense Icefield reveals tiny adventure racers in Chile

This heli-captured photo by Justin Lotak shows a slice of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Chile. Look closer and you’ll see two teams, eight miniature racers making headway across the crevasse-laden expanse during last month’s Patagonian Expedition Race in southern Chile. Our team, GearJunkie/YogaSlackers, is the squad in front (to the right). Team Berghaus is on the left, four racers weaving their way across the ice, trying to catch up. Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers took third place after racing non-stop for 10 days over 700 kilometers of some of the wildest terrain on the planet.

The Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Chile

Racers highlighted

Closer up

Zooming. . .

Team Berghaus

Section map from the race. Note the ice field crossing

Zooming on Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers

GearJunkie/YogaSlackers navigates through the ice

This section was about 25KM into the first trek on the race. Times for crossing the ice ranged from 3.5 hours to 8 hours or more. Some teams were unable to find a way off the ice and had to be lead by race staff, thus being disqualified. Our team captain Jason Magness said this pictured section was “the easy part, flat and safe with the exception of it being like a crazy maze with no straight way through.”

Magness continued, “Near the evening the winds reached 100kph. There were sizable rivers flowing through the bare ice in some areas, and crevasses with waterfalls as deep as 150 feet or as far as we could see. The far side of the shelf became complicated with huge seracs, jagged ice blocks, knife ridges, and massive canyons of ice. Pretty trippy to be out there for hours.”

—Report compiled by Stephen Regenold. Photos © Justin Lotak. Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers took 3rd place in this year’s race. Read the team’s post “Continued Deterioration” for a full report on the Patagonian Race.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.