El Chaltén, Argentina (Fitz Roy, Lago del Torres)

I finally arrived in El Chaltén after being on the road for 26 hours. Very exciting for me because El Chaltén equals hiking, trail running, mountains, awesomeness. Just hoped the weather wouldn’t be too bad.

After checking in me and Graciela, a dutch girl I met on the bus went for a short hike up some hill. It was pretty windy, cloudy and drizzly but there is no time to waste. And the weather forecasts were promising for the next days…

And so we went together with Rohan who stayed at her dorm to check out the famous Fitz Roy mountains. Pointy towers that I always wanted to visit ever since I had seen them on TV or in magazines. Or on the Outdoor Film Festival when they showed two American rock climbers trans-versed those five towers (or seven, not sure).

It started out to be a brilliant day with an awesome sunrise. We set out before 7 to avoid the crowds and to do two day hikes in one day. I didn’t feel quite in shape and I must admit, as pleasant and beautiful it was, I found it quite exhausting. We walked like 10 km, but the last one went straight uphill (400 meters). The reward was unbelievable though. Perfect visual conditions, no wind, stunning beyond believe. I met people who had hiked there 3 days in a row to finally see it in good weather. I was pretty lucky. So cool to be there.

A connection trail through the woods took us to the path towards the Lago del Torres, a pretty view point with equally pretty, pointy rocks and a deep blue glacier that terminated into a lake. Very beautiful to look at and we sucked in and enjoyed that view for a good while, before we headed back to El Chaltén. That day I hiked 37 kilometers in 12 hours with an ascent of 1000 meters. All I wanted to do is go to my place and lay down. I was really exhausted after two nights of bad sleep.

Fresh and recovered I started out the last full day I had here in this wonderful place. It was a bit more cloudy and we had planned to go up to Loma del Pliege Tumbado. That’s a view point from where you can overlook the Lago del Torres with its pointy towers and the Fitz Roy. Its an 18 km hike (there and back) and its elevation is 1000 meters. I was in much better shape and despite the long hike the day before it felt good, even the last bit when it went up very steeply to the summit. From there you have a great 360 degrees view. It was a bit cloudy and not all the towers were visible at the time but never the less I really liked it. That region has just so much to offer for people who love nature, hiking, mountains and mountain sports.

In total I have hiked 55 km in 2 days with a total ascent of 2000 meters (that doesn’t count in the distance I had to walk to my hostel because I was so stupid to book one that’s 1 km out of town). I haven’t got any blisters, muscle soreness or anything else and would feel up for more hiking tomorrow, which makes me believe I am in good enough shape for the five day w-treck in the Torres El Paine National Park I’ll do next week…

El Chaltén has been one of the highlights of my trip and even tough it’s meant to be touristy it was never crowded – at least not when you start the hike at 7 am.. It did get crowded later on the Fitz Roy hike. It has nice cervecerías, restaurants and spa places to relax at after a day of hiking. I really liked it here and I guess I was lucky with the weather, too.

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