11. 02. 2020
1 / 5
↑ 1374 m
↓ 1375 m
max. 1180 m n.m.
min. 395 m n.m.
We start the hike in the morning after breakfast in the picturesque town of El Chaltén. There is a free parking lot at the beginning of the route and you can leave your car there.
Beyond the car park on the northern edge of El Chaltén, the road starts to climb up to the first viewpoint, Mirador Río de las Vueltas, where you will have a spectacular view of the valley and the Rio Blanco. After that, the climb eases and we walk through open, gently rolling countryside, forest and slash and burn to a signpost where we will decide which route to take.
The right path leads through open terrain full of mountain views, the left path leads more or less through the forest around the amazing Capri lagoon (both paths are equally challenging, give or take). You can go one way there and the other way back. We head left around the lagoon, through the campsite right by the lagoon, over the footbridges through the wetlands to where the dead end of the Rio Blanco ends.
After a while we come across the last campsite Poincenot, where you can pitch tents (if you plan to climb Fitz Roy at dawn, for example). Beyond the campsite, the forest path starts to rise until it becomes a steep climb up a rocky path at the end of which we can see the Laguna de los Tres, where you can see the majestic Fitz Roy 3,405 m above sea level and its smaller friends (Aguja Poinceno, Aguja Rafael Juarez, Aguja Saint-Exipery and others) in all their glory.
At the lake we meet a group of climbers who are transporting their equipment by boat under the ice field. Fortified with coffee from our handpress and a Milo bar, we head back to El Chaltén, the route is the same and I definitely recommend taking the other route at the signpost.
After our trek below Mount Fitz Roy, we take a little more hike in the Chorillo del Salto waterfall - the road there is straight from El Chalten.
An easy trek that even smaller, lightly trained school-age children can manage. The trail follows a dirt paved path, gravel, stones, footbridges and bridges. Expect a steep climb on a rocky path for the last 1 km or so, where you can't hide from the harsh sun, strong winds, rain, snow.
There are signs along the cetra warning that if you see snow, you should not proceed further (and although we as a nation are masters at circumventing any recommendations or regulations, I would take it seriously here). I also saw a few people with dogs along the way, so pets are probably ok :). The road is unsuitable for a stroller even though it is free of technical passages. The hike is well marked and there is nowhere to get lost, a printed map of the park is available at the main gate.
Water can be replenished in El Chalten before the trip, and from the Rio Blanco or the ubiquitous creek del Salto along the way.
You can spend the night in the campsites on the way to Cerro Chaltén (they have no facilities), or in one of the accommodations in El Chltén. We have tried Confluencia aparts new, clean with hot water (5 people, 3 nights 200 USD), very nice owner Edgar happy to help with everything.
Along the way you won't see any marked peaks, but you will see many peaks almost all the way - Fritz Roy 3,405 m above sea level, Aguja Poincenot 3,002 m above sea level, Aguja Rafael Juarez 2,482 m above sea level, Aguja Saint-Exipery 2,558 m above sea level and many others.
We didn't meet any animals along the way, but that's not to say they aren't here :). Otherwise there is no objective dangerous place on the route. A mountain man fattened by the Tatras will have no problem here.
We left after breakfast (one of the cafeterias in El Chalten croissant + espresso), almost all of us still had 450 g Argentine steak from dinner in our stomachs, so a banana and a bar on the way was enough.