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Fave trails: Fitz Roy Patagonia!

By travelleranto on 2013.09.20 In argentina fave tracks

Time to tell you about another fave trail of mine: the one going up to Laguna de los Tres in Argentina. The past week I’ve been busy at work preparing my presentation I’m going to give tomorrow about hiking in Patagonia and New Zealand. Although it was already 3.5 years ago I went to Argentina and Chile, it was one of the most memorable experiences ever.

My fave trail in Argentinia is definetely the one leading up to Laguna de los Tres. It starts from a small mountain village called El Chalten, located beautifully in the shadows of famous Andean mountain peaks such as Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy. The fun already starts when driving up to El Chalten, when the weather is good the views on the Andes are just stunning.

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El Chalten is a mecca for hiking and mountaineering. There’s a ton of trails to pick from for every level of fitness. I spent 3 days there and as there are no mountain huts (and I didn’t bring my camping gear on this trip) I did some day treks from the village.

The trail to Laguna de los Tres can also be defined as the trail up to the base of Cerro Fitz Roy. When in El Chalten, you have to be very lucky that the weather is clear so you can see the mountains. I’ve talked to people who had been waiting for days for the weather to clear up and hike into the depths of the Andes. I was incredibly lucky and the mountains were out of the clouds most of the 72 hours I spent in town.

Anyone who is in decent shape can do this walk. It’s just quite long, 4 hours up and 4 hours down along the same route. When I got to the first Mirador (view point) it was still cloudy and I was afraid I’d walk to the base of the mountain “for nothing”. The day before I took a hike to Cerro Torre and on the way over, that one was in the clouds too and once at the base, it remained in the clouds. The scenery was stunning, yet not as beautiful as it could have been…

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In the valley between El Chalten en Cerro Fitz Roy there’s a great chance of spotting condors. They barely touch ground so you shouldn’t forget to look up into the sky every now and then. Big chance you will see condors circling way up in the air, looking for prey. They are some of the most amazing birds I’ve ever seen. The trail is very good and easy to follow. From El Chalten you climb gradually through a lenga forest and cross some streams…

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And then all of a sudden you are in front of something that looks like a wall. The last part of the hike is a steep climb up of about 450 metres eleveation gain, on a rocky stairs that will take you about one hour. It’s may be quite the challenge for some but take your time, you will be rewarded. Breathe in and breathe out and just remember that you will be glad you did it, once on the top.view

Sure, I was out of breath and took my time. I had been told that the views would be gorgeous. I had no idea of Cerro Fitz Roy would be in or out of the clouds (you can’t see it from the bottom of the last climb) so when I took the last steps up, the view opened up and it was just breathtaking. Even though you are still 2.000 m. below the top of Fitz Roy, it still seems close. The laguna was still frozen but that didn’t matter. It made the scenery even more special. I scrambled up a bit further to have a look into the next valley with a view of Laguna Sucia and the Río Blanco glacier. And then I just sat down and enjoyed the beauty. Chunks of ice would break off the glacier and crash down into the lagoon below and condors were occasionally checking in. Realising the way back would be another long one, I viewed Fitz Roy once more and started my descent down into the valley. This was one of the most memorable hikes ever!

 

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nice to meet you

My name is Antonette (Anto) and I’m a 30-something outdoor fan living in The Netherlands. Traveling is my passion (hence the username travelleranto) and I like to spend my journeys the active way, mostly by hiking and camping.

If I’m not on the way, I work as a product manager for a Dutch tour operator specialized in natural destinations, such as Alaska, Argentina and Iceland. When not in the outdoors or behind an office desk, I enjoy writing (for my own site but also some Dutch websites), photography and reading.

website:we12travel
twitter: travelleranto
facebook:we12travel

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