Patagonia Ice Field trek – the revenge!

by on 25th April, 2013

Patagonia Ice Field trek

Tom writes about his South Patagonia Ice Field trek in Fitzroy National Park, Argentina – a tale of hiking, food and revenge….


¡Raton! ¡Raton!

There was hardly time to translate as tent mate Ezequiel sprang towards me wielding his metal water bottle, shouting ‘Raton!’.

The first bottle blow was to my knee, the second to my toe. Eze now decided to turn his head torch on and the third stroke sent a mouse (said raton) into the air. I never knew that was their defence mechanism.

That, and now hiding in my Ice Field expedition cereals.


Newly weds

One leg sore, I was still in my sleeping bag and Eze was prowling.

Eze is a generously proportioned Argentine with a main mast of around 6ft 5inches (1.95m), a similar beam and weighing in around 16 stone (100kg). I’m a mere clipper at 6ft (1.80m) and 14 stone (88kg).

But still, two man mountain tents are not, to my knowledge, designed to withstand a couple of lumps frolicking like newly weds.

We were camping at the foot of the Marconi Glacier, north of Chalten, in Argentine Patagonia. Our destination: the South Patagonia Ice Field, one of the most wonderful and remote places on earth. Anyone that likes trekking must try this expedition.

Inside the tent we had laid out the next 10 days’ provisions, all carefully divided into breakfast cereals, pastas, soups, and all of which we would carry on to the Ice Field.

That was for tomorrow.

Right then, we were chasing a raton. A mouse can move quite quickly you know but Eze was pretty deft too. I would lift a food bag (the little **** had gnawed my chocolate cocoa pops) and Eze would leap in.


Escape route

His was a balestra-style method with a lunge finish. Poetic. And followed up by spittle and foam-soaked expletives of an Argentine nature.

Following several rounds of engagement I regret to say I became involved in the plot. I had opened the door of the tent to offer the mouse an escape route should it choose.

It seemed to wish to thank me for the gracious opportunity because it then ran straight at me.

Maybe there is some mouse code of honour that, once offered the escape one sought by your seemingly stronger opponent, one instead yields one’s mouse soul to said pursuer.

I produced my own water bottle and clunked him on the head. It was pure instinct. Dazed, the mouse turned around and seemed to want to face the now advancing Ez. This man was going to finish the job.


The regret

As soon as it was done I felt regret and sympathy for the mouse, feelings that linger today but in all honesty at the time my brain did not process.

I am much more a person that tries to save animals than kill them. There must have been something inside my soul that up until then I hadn’t realised.

We buried the mouse the next day, with a cross and some muttered words from Ez. In our victory, we still had to honour our foe.

It was only the next night, when we were camping on the Ice Field in a fiercely windy storm, that we realised how the mouse had got into the tent in the first place. I hated that mouse-shaped hole.

The dish of revenge is indeed best served cold. Unlike my cocoa pops, which we had to carry all the way around and then throw out.

Contact us for more about trekking in Patagonia, on the Ice Field or other hikes.


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