Frolic & Detour

Patagonia, from the Argentinian side (part 1)

Before diving in, you should know there’s been an author change. This is my (Brian) first solo post. My writing style will bring about certain changes to the blog, such as: a general decline in style and grace, more commas (I just can’t help myself), and writing length (from Flipse’s excellent explanations and descriptions, to my brief facts and pictures). With that introduction, now we’re ready to dive in.

On the morning of February 12th we crossed from Chile to Argentina. After returning Babar in El Calafate, we caught a bus to El Chalten where we were to spend the next 4 nights. Somewhere along our journey, the weather went from cold and rainy, to sunny and beautiful. As we arrived in El Chalten, we were greeted by the Torre and Fitz Roy mountains:

IMG_4739

View from the park station outside of El Chalten

The people we encountered–from park employees to our hostess at Latitude 49–kept emphasizing how lucky we were to have such great weather. The weather forecast had us enjoying 4 days of perfect weather during our stay in El Chalten.

For dinner on our first night in Argentina, Rachel and I got steak and soup at a place called La Tapera. As an aside, this is something that will be different from Flipse’s posts. I’m going to talk about food. Because the food has been awesome. AND, because steak in Argentina is worth talking about. More on that subject later.

On the morning of the 13th we set out on a hike bound for Laguna Torre at the base of Cerro Torre (Cerro Torre’s peak sits at about 3,100 meters). The trail head was on the outskirts of town and led us past amazing views of the surrounding mountains, forests and lakes. Laguna Torre is a crater lake, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. The views were out of this world– like so many moments in Patagonia, it was just surreal. Pictures do it better justice…

Flipse on the approach.

Flipse on the approach.

TUFF

TUFF

Flipse at the lake below Cerro Torre

Flipse at the lake below Cerro Torre

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the lake

Close up on Cerro Torre

Close up on Cerro Torre

It’s noteworthy that for climbers Cerro Torre is one of the most difficult peaks to summit in the world. It wasn’t definitively climbed until the early 1960’s. I say “definitively” because there was some controversy around a summit allegedly made in ’59. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, there’s a a brief account on Wikipedia that’s worth the read.

On the 14th, Rachel and I decided to take the day off.  R&A went for a short hike while we explored the town. We all ended up at a brew pub called La Cerveceria, where we spent the sunny afternoon and evening sitting outside drinking the local beer, eating acceptable food and playing cards. The game was Hearts, and I dominated. Next time we play for money.

On the 15th we set out to hike to the base of Cerro Fitz Roy (the peak sits at 3,405 meters). In order to avoid coming and going on the same trail, we took a taxi to a different trail head (located at Hosteria El Pila). We departed at at about 7:30AM for what proved to be an all day nearly 20 km hike.

The different trail head also offered us a view of the Peidras Blancas glacier and the river Rio Blanco, the latter of which snaked its way along the base of Fitz Roy. Again, words fall short so I’ll leave it to pictures…

Peidras Blancas glacier, as seen from the trail starting at Hosteria El Pila

Peidras Blancas glacier, as seen from the trail starting at Hosteria El Pila

The view as we climbed

The view as we climbed

STEEP

STEEP

After about 4 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at Laguna de los Tres at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy

After about 4 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at Laguna de los Tres at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy

After the long hike, rest

After the long hike, rest

IMG_2211

Family photo!

Family photo!

From a hilltop near the trail summit

From a hilltop near the trail summit

Climbers!

Climbers!

2 thoughts on “Patagonia, from the Argentinian side (part 1)

  1. Cathy

    You two — you four!!! — were so unbelievably lucky! I can’t believe that all four days were glorious and sunny. Your pix are spectacular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.