Exploring Chile's Wild and Rugged South

Exploring Chile's Wild and Rugged South
Off-road heaven has a name  -  Chile. Twenty-seven hundred miles long, this very narrow stretch of land between the Andes and the rugged Pacific coast is one of the most multifaceted countries we have ever seen.

In stark contrast to its arid northern reaches Chilean Patagonia offers all the dramatic landscape one might expect at land's end. The continent falls away in a dazzling profusion of islands, glaciers, icebergs, fjords and mountains. At its very tip, Campo de Hielo de Sur, the largest ice shield in South America cuts off Chile's southern end from the rest of the country. The road stops here with miles-wide ice as far as the eye can see.

Lying within the sub-arctic west wind zone, this portion of Chile is exposed to storms of hurricane intensity all year long. Clouds filled with ocean humidity routinely open up and let loose above the cordilleras, dropping up to 200 inches a year here! At higher altitudes, this precipitation falls as snow, which explains why southern Chile is the most snow-laden region on earth.