El Chalten is the self-proclaimed Argentine capital city of hiking. This is a charming little town at the foot of the Andes, where dozens of hiking tracks can be found in the national glacier park. The town is nice, especially when the wind calms down a bit. On the other hand, prices are really excessive, for instance, the price of a pizza is almost the same as in Paris. But when you’re standing in the middle of nowhere, it’s a bit weird.
We decided to take a first hike once arrived, shortly after we settled into our dorm room. We left at 11am, and it was already quite hot, near 25°C (which is very surprising for Patagonia, which often has a “refreshing” wind). Since it was my first hike in years, I suffered a lot. After 3 hours, I could not stop swearing … As time was running out, and we still had 3 hours to go back to the hostel, we turned back without seeing the end of the trail. Which is a real shame, because the Lago Torre overlooking Mount Torre is said to splendid! I am disappointed in me not being able to make it… But, we had to go slow and measure ourselves so that we could be in tip-top shape for the main attraction : The Fitz Roy trail on the very next day.
The next morning, after a good night sleep and a good breakfast, we left around 7 am to face the main attraction of El Chalten: the path of Fitz Roy (3405 meters). And this time, let’s make no fuss! The weather was “fresh” at first, and it allowed us to make good progress, because when the sun starts to shine hard, it is difficult to think of anything else than finding shade. The first 4 hours were actually quite simple, no hard slopes, pathes along the mountainside and in the forests, some river beds. A very nice path I have to say.
And then, we had to climb…
A whole hour of climbing a very steep hill, with gravel everywhere. And hikers, lots of hikers. Those that surpass you, do not sweat. Not even a little. You can even smell a hint of soap or perfume on them. Because they master the trail. Oh, and you can see some other hikers that runs the path you are suffocating and swearing onto. Just for fun.
Well, Warly was in his element. I was a little less class … But it is well rewarded in the end. A splendid view: you think in the end, such a view must be earned.
Warly was comfortable, he’s a mountainer. As for me, well… Let’s say I wasn’t as classy as he is. But at the very end, when the Fitz Roy finally reveals itself to you… Well you’re in for a treat, and you know that it had to be earned.