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El Chalten

ARGENTINA | Thursday, 21 February 2008 | Views [685]

Amy:  We awoke the morning of the 16th to a windy and rainy day so we decided to delay our 3 day hike and to spend the day doing short hikes from town.  We walked out to a nearby waterfall that was nice and we also did a climb to a lookout point of a near by lake.  The lookout wasn’t too impressive but we enjoyed the hike up.  El Chalten is well known for its wind and this day was a good example of how strong it could gust.  There were some climbers staying at the same hostel as us and we were able to get some weather information from them but apparently the weather forecasts in Patagonia aren’t too reliable.  They did however give us hope that the weather was going to improve.  There was also an Argentinean film maker staying in our hostel and we had the pleasure of watching a few of the short films he had made on rock climbing and motorcycle touring.

 

The weather on the 17th seemed hopeful, the wind had died down but it was still overcast, so we headed out on our 3 day hike.  The first day included a 3.5 hour walk with all our gear up to a campsite near the Fitz Roy Mtn.  The first hour was a fairly strenuous climb but then the trail levelled out as we walked through forests and along rushing rivers.  It was quite cold at the campsite and there were actually snowflakes falling as we hiked in.  We ate lunch and rested for a bit before tackling the one hour climb up to a view point from the base of the Fitz Roy.   By the time we got up to the top the sky had cleared some and the sun had come out.  After some recovery time and snowman building time (see photo), we headed back down for some supper and early bedtime.  It was too cold out to spend too much time sitting around.  We were treated to some warm soup though by a man from Britain (Tim) who we had met on the hike into the campsite.   We did not bring our stove or cooking gear with us so we did not have any hot meals planned for the hike.  The soup was a nice treat. 

 

We got up and moving slowly on the 18th , did a short walk to a glacier lookout point and had some lunch before packing up the tent to move on to our 2nd campsite.  The sky had cleared and we were sorry that we had not got up to see the sunrise on Fitz Roy.  We knew we were not going to do the climb up to the view point a second time but we didn’t realize you could actually see it from another area of the camp site.  Oh well, we did get some nice pictures with the clearer sky.  We hiked about 3.5 hours to the second campsite, set up camp and did a short walk to a nearby glacier lake.  We did a scramble up some rocks to a viewpoint before heading back to camp for supper.   Tim (the guy from Britain who is a birder) had also hiked to this campsite today and he took us to show us some birds playing in the creek nearby.  It was much warmer at this campsite, we were 100 meters lower and the sun had been out during the day to warm things up.  I would have slept much better if it hadn’t of been for a pesky mouse who seemed to want to get into our tent.  Patti’s snoring didn’t seem to scare it off so I had to keep hitting the sides of the tent to get rid of it.  In the morning we discovered some signs of chewing but nothing too serious.

 

We set an alarm to get up to see the sunrise but what we discovered was a storm rolling in through the valley.  We got packed up quickly to try and prevent the tent from getting wet and were on our way by 8:30.  There was a fairly steady drizzle and strong gusty winds as we hiked back to town.  During our descent there was a gust of wind that almost knocked Patti off the trail but we made it back to town safely and checked back in to our hostel.  We treated ourselves to a supper at a local restaurant and caught a morning bus back to El Calafate.  We planned to stay overnight in El Calafate and take a morning bus to Puerto Natales but the morning bus was full so we got on a 4pm bus the same day and arrived in Puerto Natales around 9pm.    

Tags: Mountains

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