Cerro Fitzroy and Cerro Torre Trek
Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
162Trip End Dec 18, 2011
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On the morning of my 30th birthday I was woken up by Kevin shouting "Liz it's 6.30 get up!". Not the way I’d imagined being woken up on the 3-0! The reason for the early rise was that we were leaving on a 3 day trek in the northern part of the Parque Nacional de Los Glacieres to see, amongst other amazing sights, close up views of Cerro Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. Those of you who have read the blog since the beginning may remember that my 29th birthday started in much the same way as it was the first day of our Everest Base Camp trek. No I do not intend for starting long treks on my birthday to become a tradition!
After speaking to my parents, brother, Kevin’s mum and opening cards that had miraculously made their way to Argentina Kevin gave me the best present ever – video messages from all my family and friends
Finally at 10.30am we were ready to leave – late start but from looking at the map it was an easy day. As we were camping this added a new level of pain compared to our self-supported trek in New Zealand – we had to carry our home as well as the food and cooking stuff. Therefore both of us had more weight than before. 30 and tough :).
The first part of the walk was a bit uphill and I could certainly feel the bag. We stopped regularly to 'look at views over the Rio del Bosque’! The first view of the Fitzroy mountain came after about an hour at a crowded lookout point. We left quickly and walked to Lake Capri which was a little quieter for more views and some lunch. We reached the campsite by 3pm and set up the tent before deciding what to do. As there were still loads of people hreading up to Lagunas los Tres, the popular walk to see Fitzroy, we decided to leave that until the next morning and did a different side trip to Glacier Piedra Blanca. The first part of the walk was along the river with no specific path. It was easy enough and except for when Kevin sunk his whole shoe into the mud it wasn’t very exciting
My birthday dinner consisted of pasta, arrabiata sauce and I treated myself by adding some sausage! Kevin was nice and cooked for a change. Unfortunately we had the unwanted company of an irritating American lad who wouldn’t take the hint and go away. I don’t think he would have bothered me so much but he was one of those single travellers again who has to find people to talk to (annoy) but in reality isn’t interested in them at all. He finally went to ‘scout out’ the really obvious route up to Lagos de los tres for the tomorrow so Kevin gave me my last present – a little bottle of Champagne that he had thoughtfully carried all day. All in all a great 1st day trek and a great birthday!
Day 2 – Poincenot Campsite to Laguna Torre Campsite
We were up at about 7 am on day 2 to get an early start up to the Lago de los Tres for the views of Fitz Roy
By the time we got the bottom we felt very lucky as it had now clouded over and although you could still see the peaks, the grey background just didn’t look as good as the blue! We ate lunch by the tent watching the hoards of tour groups passing by and up the hill, glad we weren’t in the middle of them. We loaded up our backpacks and head on towards Torre. Our going was slow with the full bags but mostly because we were feeling lazy and stopping way too much. The short cut between the Fitz Roy and Torre treks isn’t used much as most people do both as day treks but is actually really pretty. You pass by a number of lakes, Madre, Hija & Nieta, through some forest before a steepish down to the valley. As soon as you get to the bottom you get your first views of Cerro Torre. It’s a really stunning peak, looking more like an Ice Queen’s Palace than a mountain. We had amazing views all the way in to the campsite and the weather had even been nice enough to clear up again. The campsite is right at the foot of the moraine so it’s a short walk up to the top and views of the iceberg strewn lake and Torre behind. So close in fact we went up before and after dinner. It was a day of amazing views and some tough walking but we were really glad we’d decided to camp as it really helps avoid the crowds and lets you be much more flexible with the weather.
Day 3 – Laguna Torre Campsite to El Chalten
We were very lucky the day before getting such spectacular views of Cerro Torre all afternoon as it’s notorious for always being covered in low thick cloud. The next morning however it reverted to type. Ok for us as we got up later than planned but didn’t miss anything like the clear sunrise we had thought about. Even once we were up we were very slow packing up and having breakfast, in fact we were the last people up and moving on the campsite – even the two old French men who couldn’t walk but looked like they were going climbing were faster! Oh well, we had all day and only a short walk back to town so who cares?! Having enjoyed the cuppa soup in our flask so much the day before at Fitzroy (no we’re not old) we made up another batch for a break on the way back, and left the campsite.
As we were walking along the path away from Torre we started passing loads of day walkers, and as mean as it sounds we were a bit smug that we had managed to get such great views the day before. I guess when Torre has the reputation for being covered it isn’t as disappointing anyway. We stopped a couple of times but basically walked non-stop back to El Chalten. There are nice views but the scenery is nowhere near as spectacular walking in that direction. My back was extremely happy when after a couple of hours it saw El Chalten below as we came over the final crest.
We spent the rest of the day doing exactly nothing completely chilled out. When we eventually dragged ourselves out of our room it was to go for what turned out to be an amazing dinner at xxxxx Great steaks and red wine :).