South America Drive

El Chalten, Mount Fitz Roy

October 25, 2013

“We arrived one week ago. Already we have been on some challenging hikes. Wish we had hiking boots. We have hiking shoes, but this is serious hiking. Weather is changeable. We have lucked out (again) with some sunny days. Mount Fitz Roy towers above town.”


We arrived in El Chalten late in the day. Mount Fitz Roy was lit up by the setting sun. Couldn’t have asked for a better intro.

Mount Fitz Roy is in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. We are back on the border between Argentina and Chile.


DSC05117 Our home is half of a tiny duplex cabin. Once again we are in a condensed space which includes 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and a small living room with a kitchen. Snug.





DSC05143El Chalten is situated on a river. Hiking trails originate in town. Convenient. When you get the urge to hike, you walk out your door.




On our first trek, we headed towards Laguna Capri – high in the mountains. It was a full day hike. With a sunny day, we hoped to get a good view of Mount Fitz Roy.  Once again, we were lucky with weather. Before we arrived, we talked with a few people. The general feeling was “Had the weather been better, I would have . .” Weather is a major issue. It hinders even the most adept hikers. It is often overcast and foggy, making views of Fitz Roy more rare.

DSC05160Within the first half hour of our hike, we spotted a huge condor. Often they are just a dot way up in the sky. This one was coming into its nest. To spot the nest, just look for what looks like someone threw a bucket of white paint … poop.



We stopped to rest about an hour into our  uphill hike. We had started at the river . . . .





You get a feel for how high we are already. And we still have a long way to go.






Notice the road next to the river. We will be driving along that road later.





DSC05196We reach Laguna Capri by early afternoon. What a breathtaking view of Fitz Roy. The perfect setting with a clear mountain lake between. You can clearly see the rocky bottom far out into the lake.





DSC05219This is one of the reasons we did this hike. A clear day promised an amazing view of Mount Fitz Roy. There is a large glacier flowing down its left side into the green valley below..





To give you an idea of the difficulty involved with climbing Fitz Roy, about 100 climbers per year reach the peak of Mount Everest, while only one per year reach the peak of Fitz Roy. Hardcore.





For the hike down, we took a longer loop; downhill, but still challenging.











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