Home > Argentina > 7th April – What is pain after 10 hours trekking to salute Fitz Roy and Torre in El Chalten?

7th April – What is pain after 10 hours trekking to salute Fitz Roy and Torre in El Chalten?

Will Julie and I ever learn that we are not seasoned trekkers or mountain climbers? Of course not as we punish and put our bodies through some gruesome tests. Trekking in Nepal was great, which broke us into the world of trekking, a great place to begin something could become an addiction. We also trekked to Ella Rock in Sri Lanka and then obviously Torres del Paine.

After yesterday’s washout, we woke up today knowing if it was a nice day we’ll tackle Mount Fitz Roy (Lago de los Tres) at Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in El Chalten. Had oats and prepared lunch of tomato and cheese sandwich, granola bars and apple to keep us going.

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The trek was supposed to take us 4 hrs to reach the summit but we made it in a proud 3 hours. The first part is a little uphill but when we reached a mirador (view point), there it was the beautiful Mount Fitzroy (3410 metres), Poincenot (3002 metres)and Cerro Torre (3102 metres) standing tall with no clouds. We’ve been extremely lucky with the weather.

The second part of the trek to base camp is quite flat and the views are outstanding. In a 360 angle we were surrounded by snow capped mountains, streams flowing in between peaks and the colours of the autumn leaves carpeting the entire scenery made it a warm and colourful landscape to enjoy or enrich our sight.

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The final part of this climb was steep, we tackled the 330 metres climb for a good 50 minutes through the icy steps, loose stones and at some point shin deep snow, it was not fun and very painful but we eventually got to our Mecca and it was magnificent. In front of us was Fitz Roy and at its feet was a lake presumably from a melting glacier. Not a lot of people have climbed the mountains vertical surface, we think no more than 100. We've climbed something similar in height in Nepal but it definitely was not as challenging as this beast in front of us.

Julie and I had lunch at the top, enjoying the views and descended to the bottom, also very tricky to do as the snow had iced up and making descent slippery but eventually got there.

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The great thing about Argentinas National Parks is, the water from the streams can be drank without treatment, well the parks that we have visited anyway. The water is very soft compared to what we are used to in Europe or bottled ones and they were ice cold and refreshing. Every time we saw a stream I wanted to drink as I felt it was a waste letting it flow untouched, maybe it’s the knowledge of knowing how my continent Africa needs water and here it was in this park or Patagonia region in abundance. Sometimes it made us wonder and think how unfair this world was created and not balanced.

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Julie and I had this crazy idea that we could also tackle Laguna Torre on the same day as we had climbed to the bottom of Fitz Roy in record time so we set off. Are we mad, why are we putting our bodies through this? The walk to Laguna Torre is a good two and half to three hours walk away so off we went, through the bushes past a couple of pretty, clean, crystal clear fresh water lakes and then came to a point where we had signs towards El Chalten (home) or Laguna Torre (one hour away). We asked a family who had just visited if they thought Laguna Torre was beautiful, they showed their photos and Julie and I decided it was worth walking for an hour to go and see it. The consequences of making such a decision were, it might be dark when we walk through the woods back home, our aching knees and ankles will be in pieces and also we will have to walk another 4 hrs back to El Chalten.

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Julie cracked the whip and off we went to Laguna Torre to see the lake, glacier and Cerro Torre which stands at 3102 metres. We bumped into two French people we met at Torres del Paine where we agreed to have a drink later tonight. The walk took us 45 minutes and at this point my knees were suffering and couldn’t walk any faster. Laguna Torre was pretty even if Cerro Torre was covered in clouds. There was a glacier on the far left and an iceberg in the middle, it was definitely worth the walk to this place.

Spent about 20 minutes here and then turned back and hurried through the forest back to El Chalten, Julie’s ankle was killing her and my knee had given up and we felt like we were in auto pilot mode, not in control of our bodies. Finally got back to El Chalten at 6:30pm and our 10 hours of trekking with a 30 minute break in between was over. We were so glad and happy to complete this feat. Had dinner and met up with Lucie and Benoit for a drink then came back and slept. What a day!!

En français:

Aujourd’hui, comme il fait beau, n à prévu de marcher jusqu’à Lago de los Tres, un lac dans les montagnes qui fait face à Monte Fitz Roy, un célèbre pic des Andes.

On quitte l’auberge vers 8h30 et vingt minutes plus tard, on attaque la randonnée.

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Ça commence par grimper jusqu’à un point de vue sur le Fitz Roy et les autres montagnes de la même chaîne. L vue est incroyable, on a aucun nuage pour nous cacher la vue. On a vraiment de la chance avec la météo cette fois-ci.

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Ensuite, on arrive dans une vallée avec plusieurs ruisseaux qui coulent au milieu, des hautes herbes et des arbres de toutes le couleurs, c’est vraiment très joli. En plus, c’est plat pendant une bonne demi-heure alors on apprécie.

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Ensuite, on arrive au camping Poincenot et la, les choses sérieuses commencent. On doit grimper sur un flanc de montagne sans arbre, juste des cailloux, de la pente et…de la neige! Parfois, on en a jusqu’aux genoux, ça ne nous aide vraiment pas.
Mais en moins d’une heure, on arrive quand même en haut et on ne regrette pas. La vue depuis le Lago de los Tres est incroyable, surtout qu’on n’a toujours pas de nuages.

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On pique-nique rapidement car il fait tout de même froid la haut puis on redescend dans la vallée aux petits ruisseaux. De la, on aperçoit une pancarte qui indique un chemin qui mène à Laguna Torre. Normalement c’est un trek qui se fait en une journée, tout comme celui qu’on vient de faire, mais on décide de suivre le panneau et de faire les deux dans la même journée.

Donc, on longe un lac de montagne pendant une demi heure avant de s’enfoncer dans une forêt et de redescendre dans une seconde vallée qui mène au lagon. Quand on arrive au début du chemin pour le lagon, une famille nous dit qu’il est un peu tard et qu’on risque de rentrer quand il fait nuit.

On décide de prendre le risque. Maintenant qu’on est la, ce serait bête de rentrer directement à El Chaltén.

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On prend donc la piste qui, en une heure mène au lagon Torre. Sur le chemin, on croise deux français que l’on avait croise avant à Ushuaia, Puerto Natales et à la fin du W. On décide de se retrouver plus tard pour un verre.

On continue à marcher jusqu’à Laguna Torre et on ne regrette pas notre décision. Même si on ne peut pas apercevoir le pic du Cerro Torre, une autre célèbre montagne du parc national Los Glacieres, on peut voir, un glacier, des icebergs et d’autres montagnes.

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Nos jambes commencent à faire la grimace car ça fait quand même beaucoup de kilomètres. Le retour est bien difficile, le genou de Kwasi fait des siennes et moi j’ai tout simplement trop marché.

On arrive à El Chaltén vers 18h30, on passe au supermarché pour s’acheter de quoi dîner.
On finit nos assiettes sans broncher et à 20h30, on remet nos chaussures au grand dam de nos pied pour retrouver Lucie et Benoit.

À 22h30, on est couchés.

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