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CHILE

expedition handbook

DATES: 11 Mar25 Mar 2018 COST: £2699

This Handbook contains everything you need to know about this Classic Secret Compass expedition to Chile.

Read on to discover our ethos and team-centred approach and for the nitty gritty like flight and visa advice, insurance requirements and kit recommendations. Use the buttons below to ask questions or to apply for this team or, once approved, to secure your spot on this expedition team with a Booking Form and a non-refundable £400 deposit.

Key facts

  • Arrive: by 1700 on 11 March 2018 into the team hotel in Santiago.
  • Depart: leave Santiago any time on 25 March 2018.
  • Insurance: ensure you have comprehensive cover.
  • Docs: send your flights, insurance and passport copy in.
  • Balance due: 90 days before departure on 11 December 2018.
  • Find FAQ and Testimonials online.

Aim

The primary aim of this classic expedition is to forge a new route from north to south through the Chilean Andes. This trekking expedition will combine fresh trails and parts of the renowned existing Condor Circuit and the 1,300 mile Greater Patagonia Trail to connect four volcanoes straddling the Argentinian border.

Summary

March 2018 will mark the first attempted connection on this route through the wild borderlands of Chile and the heart of its volcano territory. The team will take the opportunity to attempt multiple peaks including Descobezado Grande, Cerro Azul, Plancho Peteroa and Volcan Peteroa during this challenging 140km trek with over 7500m of total ascent.

Highlights

  • Wilderness journey through the Andes.
  • Pioneer a new trekking route.
  • Summit attempts on active volcanoes.
  • Wild camp and swim in mountain lakes.
  • Look out for condors soaring overhead.
  • Explore Santiago and sample Chilean wine.

Flights

You need to organise your own international flights. We have a unique partnership with Student Universe (a specialist division of the Flight Centre Travel Group and no, you don’t have to be a student to use them). The dedicated Secret Compass team understands us, our destinations and uses global buying power to save you money and offer security along with a 24-hour assistance helpline. Fill in a free, no-obligation Flight Request Form here or call (UK) 0844 560 9799 for assistance in booking international flights.

It is advised that you book a flexible flight ticket that can be changed or refunded if the expedition dates are changed or if it is cancelled for any reason. See our online Terms and Conditions.

You need to arrive in Santiago and make your way to the central team hotel by 1700 on the 11 March 2018, and the expedition officially ends after breakfast on the 25 March 2018 when you are free to depart anytime. There are a number of different airlines that fly into Santiago or you could extend your trip by travelling overland.

Insurance

Travel insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all expeditions. You should be aware that many standard insurance policies may not cover you adequately for all aspects of a remote expedition and so we strongly recommend that you purchase a suitably designed insurance policy. Secret Compass cannot comment on the suitability of your cover so if you are in any doubt please contact your policy provider and ask them to confirm that you are covered to our minimum standard (below).

  • Emergency medical repatriation (to home country) including any associated expenses abroad of at least $500,000.
  • Activities: ensure that any expedition activities are included, these could be trekking, horse riding, rafting, MTB etc.
  • Geographical region: check the geographical region you are going to is insured (often the US and Canada or countries such as Afghanistan are not insured).
  • Foreign Ministry advice: check your insurance is not sensitive to any travel warnings issued by your respective foreign ministry. In the UK, many insurers will not insure you when the Foreign Office warns against travel to this area. Foreign Office advice will not necessarily mean we cancel an expedition or do not travel to a particular area. Please check @FCOtravel and the Travel Aware site.
  • Dates: make sure the period of cover begins at the departure and ends at the return to your home country. Many flights take a day or two and time zones vary. Insurance companies may prejudice your claims due to this.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: disclose these to your insurance company and to Secret Compass.

Prior to travel Secret Compass will require the name of your insurance policy provider, their 24-hour emergency contact number and your policy number. For full information on travel insurance and links to suggested companies, please visit the insurance page on our website.

Visas

Visas are your responsibility and may take several weeks. Visas are not required for British nationals for stays of 90 days or less. You will be issued with a tourist card on arrival which needs to be presented to immigration on departure. Please check the requirements for your specific nationality.

Permits. All relevant tourist permits will be organised by Secret Compass.

Passports

Chile does not require any passport validity beyond your expedition dates although Secret Compass recommends at least 1 month extra validity and 1 blank page. Please send a clear, colour copy of your passport to Secret Compass ahead of the expedition and carry photocopies with you on the expedition in a safe place.

About Secret Compass itineraries

Please remember that this itinerary acts as a framework plan. It provides guidance as to our intentions but may not be followed religiously. This is an adventure and by definition the outcome is uncertain. The leadership team will adapt, flex and change the plan depending on the numerous frictions you may encounter along the way.

Day 1: Mar 11 – Santiago

Meet in Santiago by 1700 for the expedition briefing at the hotel before heading out for the welcome dinner to get to know your teammates.

Day 2: Mar 12 – Drive to trailhead

Final preparation and snack shopping this morning before a ~3 hour drive to the trailhead in the Rio Claro valley. The road turns to track and then ends which marks the start of the trekking expedition with a steady 5km trek to your first wild camp tonight.

Day 3: Mar 13 – Full day of trekking

Follow the river valley today until it opens out with views to the first summit of the expedition, Planchon Peteroa. The distance covered isn’t huge but the steady altitude increase and heavy packs will make this a challenging day.

Day 4: Mar 14 – Planchon Peteroa

Continue the ascent to the shoulder of Planchon Peteroa and make camp in preparation for an early start tomorrow.

Day 5: Mar 15 – Possible summit attempt Planchon Peteroa

Ascend Planchon Peteroa, drop packs at camp for the final summit push carrying only essentials and stand at 4107m overlooking the Chile – Argentina border. Return to camp and, depending on timings, traverse around the volcanic crater towards Volcan Peteroa (also known as Cerro Azufre).

Day 6: Mar 16 – Possible summit attempt Volcan Peteroa

A long day today up and over Volcan Peteroa. There is permanent ice on the side of the volcano and crampons may be used. This will be confirmed nearer departure.

Day 7: Mar 17 – Descend to river valley

An undulating day today as the team descend the south side of the Peteroa complex, there will be river crossings before the trek continues towards Laguna Mondaca. Once over the river, the team will meet mules bringing food and supplies to resupply the group.

Day 8: Mar 18 – To Laguna Mondaca

A steady descent today, welcome after filling your packs with new supplies. Reach Laguna Mondaca and set up camp on the lake shores.

Day 9: Mar 19 – Contingency/rest day

A day to relax and do some kit admin or catch up from delays earlier in the route.

Day 10: Mar 20 – Descabezado basecamp

Picking up a section of the famous Condor Circuit, trek towards Volcan Descabezado, the iconic flat-topped volcano and set up basecamp on the lower slopes.

Day 11: Mar 21 – Possible summit attempt Descabezado

Ascend Descabezado then, travelling south, descend towards Cerro Azul, your final peak.

Day 12: Mar 22 – Possible summit attempt Cerro Azul

A final ascent today sees the team summit Cerro Azul before descending to Laguna Los Hornitos to camp.

Day 13: Mar 23 – Laguna La Inverneda

After exploring the Crater de Los Hornitos, set up camp on the shores of the Laguna La Inverneda for a well-deserved afternoon relaxing. This time also serves as a contingency for delays earlier in the trek.

Day 14: Mar 24 – To pick up and Santiago

After 140km+ of trekking, emerge from the national parks onto the road where the team bus will pick you up for the ~5 hour drive back to Santiago, stopping for lunch at one of the many vineyards en route. After checking into your hotel for showers, head into town for a final, celebratory meal.

Day 15: Mar 25 – Santiago

The expedition officially ends after breakfast today but you are free to depart anytime or extend your stay to explore more of Chile.

 

Fitness

This expedition will be physically very challenging as we will have to carry all our own food, fuel and equipment at altitudes reaching over 4000m and up ascents totalling over 7700m. The initial plan involves a re-supply part way through by mule to reduce the loads carried but you should still not underestimate the physical challenge involved. You will be required to be fit enough for the following:

  • Grade: 360°
  • Daily activity: varies but from eight to over ten hours per day.
  • Walk: up to 20km a day for 13 days over very rough terrain.
  • Carry: up to 25kg of food, stoves, fuel, tents and personal equipment.
  • Terrain: rough terrain including river crossings, scree slopes and steep sided volcanoes at altitudes up to 4107m. There may be snowfields/glaciers at higher altitudes.
  • Climate: a temperate climate with cold, windy conditions at height.
  • Swim: there will be river crossings so although swimming ability isn’t required, teammates must be comfortable with this.

Previous experience

All our expeditions are achievable by people with an active and healthy lifestyle and no previous technical experience are necessary to join this expedition. However, this is an arduous expedition that will test you and at times you may be sore, tired, hungry and possibly wet! The weight you will carry, particularly in the first few days will have a debilitating effect on you and you must be physically ready to carry such a heavy weight, the distances covered aren’t extreme however the altitude and rough terrain will add to the challenge. You must be prepared physically and mentally for the expedition and for living in basic conditions for the duration. Please ensure that you train for the expedition and arrive fit and ready to go. At a basic level, you should be comfortable jogging for at least 45 minutes and be able to walk for 8 hours per day in the British hills carrying 25kg for at least 3 days running.

Medical

Vaccinations. Please seek advice from your health professional on recommended vaccinations. The NHS Fit For Travel site and Travel Health Pro are both useful.

Dental. It is strongly recommended that you have a dental check up prior to departure. Dental problems far from help are very unpleasant.

Money

The standard currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso. US Dollars may be accepted but usually at a worse exchange rate than changing into Pesos first. There are ATMs in Santiago if needed. This expedition is all inclusive (see inclusions) so you won’t need much money, except for souvenirs and a pisco sour or glass of Chilean wine in Santiago!

Secret Compass always suggest carrying an emergency fund of $100-$200 in cash.

The following is Secret Compass’s recommended kit list for the 2018 expedition to Chile. A small bag of travelling clothes can be left at the hotel in Santiago but please ensure that you can fit all your expedition kit inside a large rucksack with space left to fit a share of your tent, cooking fuel and equipment as well as all of your food for the expedition.
Secret Compass will supply group equipment, tents and any necessary technical equipment required for this expedition.

Please note that this is an initial Expedition Handbook to help you decide if this is the right trip for you and it will be updated.

Discounts

Secret Compass have arranged team members discounts with Cotswold Outdoor, Nordic Life, Outdoor Hire and Expedition Kit Hire, details of these will be sent through on booking.

Baggage and sleeping

  • RUCKSACK (80-100ltr): A comfortable rucksack that fits your back, a good outdoor shop will be able to help with fitting.
  • WATERPROOF RUCKSACK LINER: Sealable “canoe or “dry” bags made by Podsac or Ortlieb. You need a large one to line your rucksack.
  • SMALLER DRY BAGS (Optional): As above, but smaller bags to put essential items in. The large rucksack liners sometimes leak so anything important needs to be waterproofed individually for river crossings and in case of a downpour.
  • SLEEPING BAG: Rated to -5C comfort. Nights at altitude may drop below freezing. Store it in a dry bag (as above).
  • THERMAREST OR EQUIVALENT: Bring a repair kit.
  • WATERPROOF WALLET: For your passport, documents and money.

Clothing

  • 2 x LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS: Thin trekking shirts that dry quickly with long sleeves to provide insect and sun protection.
  • 2 x TREKKING TROUSERS: Thin trekking trousers that dry quickly and are comfortable.
  • 1 x THERMAL BASE LAYER: Top and bottoms.
  • 1 x MID LAYER: Fleece or equivalent.
  • 1 x INSULATED JACKET: It will be cold at altitude. Recommend you store it in a dry bag.
  • 1 x WATERPROOF OUTER SHELL: Jacket and trousers, Gore-Tex or equivalent. Recently re-proofed and able to fit with your layering system.
  • 4 x HIKING SOCKS: Make sure these fit well with your boots.
  • 1 x CRAMPON COMPATIBLE WALKING BOOTS: Ensure your boot is worn in and comfortable. B1 rated waterproof boots with good ankle support that can take flexi crampons. Click here for rating system.
  • SANDALS: Around camp and for river crossings. Ensure secure and comfortable. Not flip flops! A thin pair of socks to wear with your sandals as mosquito protection may be appreciated.
  • WARM HAT
  • THIN GLOVES (Optional)
  • 4 x UNDERWEAR (Optional): Lycra sports shorts don’t chafe and dry quickly.

Eating

  • MUG
  • LONG HANDLED SPOON: For ration packs
  • 2/3 x ROBUST WATER BOTTLE OR COMBINE WITH CAMELBAK (OR SIMILAR): Nalgene or Sigg are recommended, you need to be able to carry a minimum of 3 ltrs of water

Health and Hygiene

  • WASHBAG, TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE (Optional): Ensure it packs small, you do not need a large travel washbag – re-sealable freezer bags or a small dry bag are ideal.
  • SOAP (Optional): Anti bacterial and BIODEGRADABLE, concentrated soap is ideal
  • TRAVEL TOWEL/SARONG (Optional): Quick drying travel towels are ideal
  • WET WIPES OR BABY WIPES (Optional): To clean yourself with!
  • ANTIBACTERIAL HANDGEL: Enough for the whole trip
  • TOILET PAPER (Optional): Travel tissues are ideal
  • SANITARY PRODUCTS (Optional): Bring sealable freezer bags for disposal.
  • LIP SALVE WITH UV PROTECTION: This is essential as chapped lips are painful.
  • VASELINE: Keep readily available on to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters.
  • MYCIL FOOT POWDER OR EQUIVALENT: This will be very useful for keeping your feet and other sweaty areas dry at night.
  • INSECT REPELLENT: Mosquitos are prevalent in Santiago and the valley areas.
  • AFTER SUN/MOISTURISER (Optional)
  • FACTOR 30+ SUN CREAM

Small first aid kit

A team medical kit with a comprehensive primary care provision will be carried.

  • A WATERPROOF BAG OR TUPPERWARE BOX: Keep kit dry and safe.
  • PAIN KILLERS: Ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • ZINC OXIDE TAPE AND SMALL SCISSORS
  • COMPEED BLISTER PADS: Please note that Compeed produce several similar-looking blister packs for corns, etc. Please ensure you purchase the standard / original item
  • DIAHORREA TABLETS: Immodium
  • REHYDRATION TABLETS: Enough for at least 2 litres, Nuun or Zero tablets are ideal for preventing dehydration (non-caffeinated).
  • ANTISPETIC WIPES
  • ANTISEPTIC CREAM
  • PIRITON TABLETS (for allergies)
  • EURAX CREAM (for bites)
  • ANY MEDICATION YOU NORMALLY USE: : Please find out the generic/chemical name for your medication in case you need to purchase more in-country. Please also check that your medication is legal in your destination and bring any required paperwork eg. prescriptions.

Other

  • TREKKING POLES: Essential to help you climb over broken ground, negotiate river crossings and help climb the volcanoes whilst balancing heavy packs.
  • GAITERS (Optional)
  • WATCH (Optional)
  • HEAD TORCH AND SPARE BATTERIES
  • SUNGLASSES WITH UV-FILTER LENSES
  • PENKNIFE (Optional): Remember: DON’T pack in hand luggage!
  • GAFFA TAPE (Optional): For emergency repairs to your kit, you can take some off the roll and wrap it around something else in your kit like a water bottle.
  • 1 x KARABINER (Optional): For securing your rucksack onto vehicles/hanging wet shoes off the back etc.
  • SPARE BOOT LACES
  • SMALL SEWING KIT (Optional)
  • RE-SEALABLE PLASTIC BAGS (Optional): For dirty washing, wrappings, etc
  • WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS (Optional): Secret Compass will purify all water and these will likely not be needed, they are a back-up in case our systems fail! Chlorine Dioxide or similar is best.

Our approach

Secret Compass organises expeditions, not sightseeing tours. Our expeditions are team-centred, flexible and dynamic. Teams are managed on the ground by Secret Compass staff: industry-leading professionals and guides of the highest calibre. They put the structure in place for your team to have an incredible experience while achieving your expedition’s aims. Our people are as passionate as you are about achieving the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Secret Compass teams often go to places that others don’t. This makes our expeditions truly different, taking you beneath the skin and beyond the headlines of the world’s most remote reaches. Inspired by history’s great explorers and challenges, you’ll be set ambitious goals and will overcome similar hardships to those experienced on the audacious journeys of the past.

Remember this is not an organised tour. It is an adventure. More often than not expeditions don’t run smoothly! The nature of the areas we operate in mean that we will encounter a number of challenges that we expect everyone to meet and relish. Friction and hurdles are all part and parcel of an arduous expedition and also to our success as a team. These make the journey more interesting and are often the best and most amusing parts when looking back. Each expedition is thoroughly reviewed on its return and team members will have the opportunity to provide feedback which helps to inform planning for future expeditions.

Local partners and bureaucracy

Our teammates can only achieve the extraordinary with the help of people in the communities we travel through. NGO and aid workers, guides, fixers and interpreters all work extremely hard and are generous in their hospitality to us and our teams: visitors in their land. They are crucial to our success. Please remember and respect that their perspectives and concepts of time, environmental responsibility and customer service might differ to yours. Occasionally there is no established protocol for outside visitors which means we encounter local power struggles or disagreements. Our leaders have years of experience in delicate negotiations like these and conversational chess – especially through an interpreter – and these interchanges are often memorable parts of any expedition.

Infrastructure and natural events

The areas we travel to often especially remote. Transport infrastructure can be ageing, inadequate or non-existent. Flooded roads, collapsed bridges, fallen trees and vehicle break-downs are all par for the course. Our teams thrive on overcoming challenges like these – be prepared to get stuck in and push occasionally! Natural phenomena like desert sand storms, early monsoons, landslides across key routes, winter coming early, gale force winds and driving snow can all make for a more interesting time on the expedition.

Food

In some areas our teams explore, we rely on local food sources. This can often be outstanding (but can also be very average) and we always make the best out of the resources available. In other cases, we will supply filling and high-calorie dehydrated expedition foods (ration packs)

Part of a team

Secret Compass fosters a team mentality across all its expeditions and projects. Like all teams you will have a leader who will give direction to your progress. Crucial to your team’s success – especially when the going gets tough – is the attitude of the teammates working together to achieve the aim. You really are part of a team, not a cosseted guest on a tour. We ask teammates to muck in and help out any aspect of the expedition, from fetching water and helping to prepare and cook food, to carrying some group kit and equipment if required. The working language of all teams is English.

Typical teammates

There really is no typical expedition member, though everyone needs to be fit, healthy and ready to take on the expedition’s aim by the time of departure. Participants range from 21 to 65+ in age and come from all over the world. Backgrounds include contract workers and engineers, IT specialists and students, teachers and literature lovers, journalists and keen photographers and so many more. What bonds our pioneering teams is their shared spirit of adventure and their sense of humour and positive outlook. A good teammate looks on the bright side when the 4×4 breaks down, the rain comes early and when a meal is distinctly pedestrian. Our teammates help each other, look out for each, encourage each other and help each other when needed. Our teams have done us proud in working together to achieve their common goal: the aim of the expedition. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right expedition company.

Teammate mentality

You need a robust, spirited and can-do attitude to cope with demanding days and rough camping in rugged and wild places. You’ll cover good daily distances (generally carrying your own kit and equipment), eating expedition foods or relying on local food sources. These elements combine to create the unique character of each expedition. On expedition, challenges, frictions and changes to plans are inevitable. Teammates should meet and relish these as an integral part of any arduous expedition and its ultimate success. Such things make the journey more interesting and are often most memorable parts when looking back.

Risk management

Secret Compass is an expedition company not a tour company. Expeditions contain inherent risk. This is part of the appeal for teammates. We do not make expeditions safe as, by definition, that is impossible. We construct and implement a three-staged risk management approach to reduce risk to what we perceive as a tolerable level.

  1. Risk assessment.
    We conduct a thorough risk assessment of potential hazards and threats that may be encountered on the expedition and provide recommendations to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring/ severity if it does occur.
  2. Safety plan.
    As part of our expedition plan, we detail actions to be taken to implement and resource the recommendations of the risk assessment. This includes a detailed medical and communications plan.
  3. Delivery.
    The expedition leader is responsible for dynamic risk management on the expedition itself.

Key risks

Key risks encountered on this specific expedition include AMS and slips/falls due to uneven terrain and heavy loads. If you would like to see the full Risk Assessment for this expedition, please email info@secretcompass.com

Incident management and medical

As part of the safety plan, Secret Compass has a full incident and emergency plan for medical and other emergencies. This will be discussed in full at the arrival brief, so everyone is aware what action will be taken. In summary, incidences are usually managed on the ground by the expedition leader in the first instance with remote support from Secret Compass’s 24 hour Operations Room before evacuation to the nearest appropriate medical centre.

Informed consent

It is your responsibility to understand the risks associated with adventure travel in remote areas. You also must understand that medical evacuation will take an extended period of time (potentially up to 2 days) and will require wilderness extraction techniques and long carries by stretcher. In-country search and rescue and emergency services are very basic and the expedition will rely on internal resources for medical evacuation. By joining this expedition, you accept the risks associated with the venture. If you require any more information on specific risk management for this expedition, or would like to speak to us about our medical planning prior to the trip, please get in touch.

Testimonials

Read team Testimonials or watch this short video featuring expedition teammates (filmed on location in Ethiopia) for an insight into life on expedition.

 

Cultural

Chile is a warm, welcoming country although rural areas can be seen as more conservative than the vibrant cities.

Terrain

This expedition will take place over rough but also varied and spectacular terrain, including river crossings, scree slopes, open valleys and steep sided volcanoes at altitudes up to 4107m. There may be snowfields/glaciers at higher altitudes.

Weather

The weather in the Chilean Andes is varied with contrasts between the warm, humid valleys and windswept summits. We will need to be equipped to be comfortable in a temperature ranging from -5C at night on the volcanoes to +30C in Santiago.

Transport

Road. We will be travelling by road in a private bus from Santiago to the trailhead in the Rio Claro valley along the famous Pan-American highway and returning the same way from the end of the trek near La Mina.

Foot. For the majority of the expedition we will be travelling by foot through the borderlands of Chile.

Accommodation

Santiago. At the start and end of the expedition, the team will stay in a comfortable hotel in Santiago. Rooms will be on a twin-share basis and contact information will be provided nearer departure in case team members want to book extra nights. There will be space to store a small bag with travelling clothes/extra equipment which isn’t needed on the trek itself.

During the expedition. For the rest of the expedition we will be camping out in technical mountain tents provided by Secret Compass. To reduce the weight carried, these will be on a twin-share basis but with plenty of room for you and all your equipment.
Reality of living rough for days. Occasionally people on our expeditions are not prepared for camping for multiple days. Living in these conditions can degrade your health if you do not look after yourself and increase fatigue if you are not used to living rough. You need to be highly organised so that your night and morning routine is done efficiently and quickly. If you are inexperienced at camping, it is essential that you get as much practice as possible prior to the expedition.

Food

The team will eat well in restaurants in Santiago with a highlight being lunch in a vineyard on the drive back from your expedition trek. Food options are varied and dietary requirements are well-catered for. On the trek we will be eating dehydrated trekking rations that will be provided by Secret Compass. These are lightweight and surprisingly tasty, packing in 800 calories per portion. Vegetarians, vegans and those with other dietary requirements will need to speak with Secret Compass about your food options. These ration packs will be supplemented by fresh food after your re-supply as well as snack-style lunches to add variety.

Secret Compass suggest bringing a favourite snack for each trekking day as a morale boost plus any specialist items which might be hard to source in-country eg. specific tea bags. Please bear in mind the weight of extra supplies as you will have a lot to carry!

Communications

Secret Compass staff will be carrying at least two methods of communication, usually a Satellite Phone and a DeLorme two-way communication device. These will be used for regular updates to head office and for emergencies.
Unfortunately, routine communication between team members and family/friends is not possible – please reassure them that no news is good news! If there is an emergency and someone needs to contact a team member, they can contact Secret Compass’s Operations Room on +44207 096 8428 who will endeavour to pass a message on within 24hours.
Cell Phone. Your mobile roaming will work in towns. Surprisingly, due to the elevation, there is also intermittent coverage in the wilderness sections.

Team Leader

UK. You will have an experienced Secret Compass guide who will be wilderness first aid trained and have extensive experience of trekking, working and operating in remote mountain areas. You will be in very safe hands.

Chilean. We will have local Chilean guide who has spent his life exploring the wilderness areas of the Andes.

Here are some frequently asked questions that are specific to this expedition. Read our general FAQ too for questions such as ‘how do I join an expedition’ and more. Can’t find your answer? Contact SCHQ.

Can I arrive a day late?

As The Plan outlines, there is a chain of transport to get teammates out to and back from the expedition trailhead and so start and end dates are not flexible.

Can someone carry my bag for me?

Unfortunately no! You can reduce the weight of your pack by following our kit list guidance and choosing lightweight items which will reduce the weight of your personal kit. Secret Compass will also try to keep the weight given to you to carry to a minimum however the fact remains that you will need to carry your personal kit, a share of a tent and the med and comms kits plus at least 6 days worth of food and fuel at a time.

Can I charge electronics?

Once the trekking section begins there will be no access to mains power. Please ensure that you are self-sufficient in terms of charging your appliances by bringing things like spare batteries, lightweight solar panels or power packs.

What if a volcano erupts?

Secret Compass have robust contingency plans and alternative routes for each aspect of the expedition should they prove necessary. The most recent eruption along this route was in 2011 and the volcanos are monitored by several agencies of volcanologists as well as by our local partners.

I’m a vegetarian. Can I join?

Teammates with dietary requirements are welcome to apply for this expedition and should state their specific requirements when applying. The food situation is outlined in the On Exped tab.

Will there be telephone signal?

Your mobile roaming will work in towns. Surprisingly due to the elevation there is intermittent coverage in the wilderness sections.

Do you provide further advice?

You might find our Get Ready section useful, with further advice about fitness, flights, travel insurance, visas and our approach to risk management or check out our journal, The Compass, for insights into expedition life and our kit advice series.

How can I apply?

Use the buttons below to contact Secret Compass with your questions or to complete our no-obligation Application Form to join this team. Someone will get back to you promptly.

The Journal

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