El Chaltén and the Perito Moreno glacier

I am still so far behind with my blogposts, so I sit down today and write a few in one go. Cross your fingers I actually do it and don’t get distracted by anything or anyone (like it happened the last few times.)

After Rio Tranquilo in Chile, I went back to Los Antiguos and caught a bus from there all the way to El Chaltén. Luckily it was an overnight bus, so I saved on accomodation, not like the previous bus, that was during the day and you spend money on the bus and extra for the accomodation.

So arriving very early to El Chaltén, left us (Caro and me) enough time to prepare some food and leave to our first trek right away. It was going to be the Laguna Torres. It seemed to be a nice day but we saw clouds right from the beginning on the mountains. We went anyways because we (or probably more I) wanted to stretch my legs after this long 12 hour bus ride.

It was a beautiful walk and after the first ascend it was pretty much all flat. Unfortunately we saw rain clouds coming from the mountains but we continued while we got a bit rained on, but not enough to get us turning around. When we got almost to the top, we already saw that we won’t be able to see anything up top, but as we were already that far, we just continued without much motivation and quite some grumpy faces.

We were so unhappy that we didn’t get to see anything and sleep deprivation from the last night didn’t help much. So we just turned around quickly and started the long way back. Well, it wasn’t such a long way back but we were just so tired and disappointed, I actually felt like I would not be able to walk back all the way. We were grumpy at each other and kept on mumbling how bad this all is and how not that flat it is, even though it said the path would be flat. :D Luckily we got back and just sat on the sofa, didn’t speak a word to each other and went to bed early.

After an ok night’s sleep, the kids at the hostel were so loud and just wouldn’t stop making noise until like 3 am in the morning, we had a quite morning, did some more shopping and preparing for the next day were we wanted to climb to the base of the famous Fitz Roy.

In the afternoon, after staying most of the day in the hostel (it was a rainy day) and getting a new daypack, the sky cleared up and we did a short hike to the condor look out. Supposedly it’s good for some sunrise but we just took it as a sunset lookout :D As we didn’t have much view the previous day, we were happy to see all the mountains surrounding El Chaltén.

At night, someone had the bad idea (it wasn’t me!) to get up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise from the view point of the Fitz Roy. So we got up then, packed our stuff and left at total darkness with a headlamp and a phones torch to get to the view point on time to see the sunrise. We had another lucky morning and did not see anything! Everything was cloudy on the side of the Fitz Roy and we woke up early for no reason! But as we already were awake, we just continued (after doing lunges, squats, push ups, and jumps to get warm again :D). At some point heavy rain started and Caro was not motivated to continue, especially as we started the one hour steep ascend to the Laguna de los Tres. on the way up we met this guy who pretty much told us to turn around because we won’t be able to see anything, but I was motivated enough to give it a try and climb up all the way as we were already half way through.

Just as we reached the first plateau, it started hailing but there was still enough motivation on my side to continue. I just heard someone mumbling all the time about how bad the weather was and how we won’t see anything until we came to the top and the clouds cleared up and we had a way better view of the mountains in front of us. We took quite some pictures (for instagram, because if instagram doesn’t know, you weren’t there ;-) ) and went down, just when people start to arrive to the top. So lucky us, as we had the Laguna all for ourselves.

On the way down, the clouds cleared even more and we had amazing views of the mountain range. Even though we didn’t have the best views when we were on the top, we were happy to be going down because of the masses of people that crossed our way when we walked down. I have never seen so many people on one hike, but I guess you have to expect something like that when you go to one of the most famous trails in Patagonia.

When I first came to El Chaltén, I had very high expectations because everyone just said how amazing it all was and how beautiful the treks are, so I was a bit disappointed because it was full of people and yes, the treks were beautiful but I wasn’t as amazed as I thought I would be. I guess I just had seen very beautiful areas and mountains in Bariloche and there were a lot less people.

At the beginning, I only wanted to write this post about El Chaltén but I now include Calafate with Perito Moreno because there is not much to talk about. The town of Calafate is a lot bigger than El Chaltén so it has a nice feeling to it but there is not really anything to do in town. You could do some hiking but you always need transportation to get there, so we decided to only do the Perito Moreno glacier.

We left early in the morning and went there hitchhiking. Unfortunately it started raining (again) when we just got into the park. After paying 500 pesos (around 20€ at this time) for the entrance fee, we went all the way in. As soon as we left the car it was pouring but we didn’t miss out on the glacier. In the blink of an eye we went from dry to wet and didn’t enjoy the glacier at all. Before I went there, I heard people spending 5 hours in the park contemplating the glacier and waiting for ice blocks to fall off but we were just so happy to get under some kind of cover, be it a few branches or the roof of the restaurant and we ran through the park in an hour, just to get some pictures taken. It was sad that the weather was that bad because I am sure it is beautiful to look at the glacier and enjoy it to the fullest but it wasn’t happening for us.

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