El Chaltén & Monte Fitz Roy
The small village at the foot of the peaks of Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre has developed into Argentina’s trekking capital within a few years.
El Chaltén was only founded in 1985 to underpin Argentina’s claims to this part of the Chilean border region. For some time now, the once bumpy gravel road to El Calafate has also been paved.
Most of the less than 2000 inhabitants of El Chaltén live on tourism during the high season from October to April.
During these months, the conditions are ideal for hiking in the unreal landscape of mountain massifs, lagoons and glaciers.
El Chaltén is a good, if not better alternative to the Torres del Paine National Park in neighbouring Chile.
This part of the “Parque Nacional Los Glaciares” (since 1981 part of the UNESCO World Heritage) offers trekking lasting several days and various routes that are suitable for day trips.
While some of them can be visited on their own, others are recommended to be guided by a local guide.
Among the destinations of these tours are Lago del Desierto, Laguna de los 3, whose waters reflect the eastern flank of the Fitz Roy, or Laguna Torre, where ice floes drift from the wall of the ‘Glaciar Grande’.
Many of these paths lead through the forest of lenga trees (also called southern beeches or dummy beeches), which was shaken by the Patagonian storm.
Among mountaineers, the steep flanks of Monte Fitz Roy and above all the pointed granite needle of Cerro Torre, which bears the nickname “impossible mountain”, are considered treacherous challenges.
Actual, incredible and unbelievable climbs since the middle of the last century have caused ongoing controversy in the professional world about the ethos of mountaineering.