Mt Fitzroy and El Chalten fun

Trip Start Oct 07, 2010
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Trip End Mar 13, 2011


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Flag of Argentina  , Santa Cruz,
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pictures here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/gstace/MtFitzroy?authkey=Gv1sRgCLONi4qukcWIRQ   

Patagonia is making me run out of superlatives. The steep spires, varied landscapes and glaciers with serious balls. And in a place with pretty average weather, we have lucked out so much! 
Arriving in the afternoon it was a birthday party night for one of the girls on the bus, Megan. Out partying at a local club it was such a difference with Chile, so many more tall peeps, much more dancing and personality here. Oh, and the steaks are as to be expected, affordable and divine. 
El Chaltan is a tourist town with some quite odd / non-existent town planning.  it's a base for walking around the park. The setting of the town is stunning, just under the amazing Mount Fitzroy and the drive coming in is spectacular with the huge glacier coming in to the flat land off to the left.  What particularly cool about the park is that it backs onto the massive Southern Patagonian glacier, meaning local glaciers occasionally get dwarfed by the arms that come off the monster glacier behind them.
The first day slept in for the first time in a week before heading to the local valley of Torres, just out from town.  The 6 hour round trip was ok, awesome by normal walks standard but after Torres, just a normal walk. A huuuuge glacier tumbling down the end of the valley was a great goal to walk towards and was great to relax in the sun at the lake watching the glacier come into it.
Day two was a stunner, sunrise fabulous and 4 of us headed by taxi to the trail head some 20 KM away. Waking up the gentle rise, Mt Fitzroy and the tower next to it just kept on looking more and more stunning. A million photos later, we got to the steep ascent to the viewing location. A quick huff up, and the view on the 3 lakes was absolutely mind blowing. We met some charismatic American girls on the way up, so once we lost 2 of our group on the steep ascent, they joined in and we climbed across a steep rocky section to get a view of the third lake. What was particularly cool was one lake was a deep blue, another the standard light green glacier lake and the third lake way below also a deep blue and with a huge vertical glacier lolling into it. The hike down to El Chaltan just kept delivering, passing wetlands, a dry patch and then a black lake where the water was a just acceptable 10C rather than the freezing water all around.  Once back in town, a celebratory beer at a funky microbrewery, especially as it was some of the peeps first hike more than 25Km! 
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