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March-April 2009

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Weatherscapes: Southern Patagonia

While the world’s eyes and imagination seem to focus almost exclusively on the sweeps of pristine ice and dagger-like granite spires of southern Patagonia, this large region encompasses many other landforms, from the coast, to foothills, to broad sweeps of pampa on which Argentinian ranchers graze their cattle, producing what many steak aficionados say is the world’s best beef.

La Escoba de Dios—the term many locals use for the wind, which is the element most closely associated with the region—translates to “broom of God.” The Patagonian wind sweeps the austere landscape, often sustaining speeds of more than 100 mph across the region’s broad pampa, through its innumerable coastal fjords, and most fiercely through the spires and sheer walls and over the glaciers of Patagonia’s southern extremity.

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