The "Cordillera Darwin" is a mountain range covered by an icefield, located in the southwestern portion of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, entirely within the Chilean territory. It extends from Mount Sarmiento (to the west, in front of Punta Arenas) to Mount Bove (to the east, near Ushuaia).This range is distinguished by the peculiarity of its glaciers, which acquire dimensions unknown in other mountainous areas, except in the polar regions.
It is considered a continuation of the Andes, which is interrupted by the Strait of Magellan, after which regains its mass and height (2,000 to 2,400 meters) in the island of Tierra del Fuego, with a complex group mountains, covered by a blanket of snow and ice that spans 140 kilometers from Mount Sarmiento (in the Magdalena channel) to Mount Bove (in the Beagle channel).
To the north, the mountains descends to the Almirantazgo Fjord, covered by the Magellanic subantarctic forests, composed by Lengas, Coigües and Canelos along with other species, creating a landscape of unparalleled beauty where it excels the presence of virgin forests, majestic glaciers, snowfields, lakes, waterfalls and rivers that add to the imposing Cordillera Darwin.
The view of the Marinelli Glacier, along with the sighting of beaver dams in Glaciar Lake, and sea elephants, penguins and cormorants in Tuckers Islets, give dimension to this completely virgin territory.
The flight begins by requesting the necessary permits to fly over chilean territory, as 75% of the flight is done there. This step usually takes about 2 hours, so is highly recommended to plan this impressive overflight at least one day in advance.
The other essential condition is that the sky is clear, in order to appreciate the beauty of these mountains and the majesty of its glaciers.
The trip covers approximately 220 NM (410 kms), having a duration of between 2 and 2.5 hrs.
We take off from Ushuaia's old Airport (former Naval Air Base) and from there we fly by the side of Mount Olivia in order to enter the valleys of the Andes. We fly over the Tierra Mayor Valley, admiring the Alvear and Sorondo hills, the Escondido Lake, Fagnano Lake and Lake Yehuin. From there we head west and enter chilean territory by the head of Deseado Lake.
Entering the Chilean sector of the Island of Tierra del Fuego, and already under the Chilean air traffic control, we travel across a valley up to the Almirantazgo Fjord, after which we fly over a stunning glacier. Then, we fly in the surroundings of Mount Shipton (8100 feet - 2439 meters high) and Mount Darwin (8000 feet - 2438 meters high). After that we head south to get to the northern shore of the Beagle Channel and observe the glaciers that fall into the channel. Because of this, this sector is known as the “the Avenue of the Glaciers"
From there we abandon chilean territory south of the Tierra del Fuego National Park and we fly over Mount Vicinguerra and its homonymous glacier arriving to Ushuaia by the Andorra Valley while descending to land.