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Tuesday travel: crossing John Gardner pass

I never regretted having been an alpine climber for a few years. If you know how to handle a camera while it’s freezing, hanging in a harness, with an ice axe in one hand, you’ll probably be able to handle that same camera wearing a suit on a wedding.

But the day we crossed John Gardners Pass in Patagonia, I was happy for another reason. This specific pass on the 130 kilometer ‘Circuit’ is the bottleneck of a classic trekking route. On some days, you’ll just encounter the typical wind gusts that are created by the glacial winds that are forced through a keyhole shaped pass. But on other days, this wind will throw enormous amounts of snow at you, creating terrifying whiteouts and sub-zero conditions. While hikers on the ‘Circuit’ are usually better prepared than the hikers on the other side of the mountains, you’ll need some good gear to get through this. And even more important, you’ll need some alpine skills.

We got through, but most people that started the same day went back to the campsite, in order to wait for better weather. And after that, we raced to the end of the trek, completing the trek in no more than seven days. The day we crossed the pass, my wife told me she’d never expect to have a honeymoon in these conditions. Of course, our three weeks road trip on Cuba made up pretty well for all of that.

Want to know more about how to use your rangefinder camera on your travels? Check out my Leica workshops or read my ebook.

Leica M9 with 35 summicron