February 12 Cerro Torre
February 13 Cerro Torre, Monte FitzRoy
February 14 Monte FitzRoy
At El Chaltén there are two main hiking destinations: Monte FitzRoy and Cerro Torre, both of which are spiky mountain peaks. Both are only a half-day hike from the north end of the town, where this sign is.
This is the view from the Cerro Torre mirador. On the right, FitzRoy mostly hidden behind the ridge, on the left Cerro Torre with its surrounding icefields.
Laguna Torre is just a few minutes up the hill from the campground; we could see Cerro Torre through the trees from our tent. At sunset it was still cloudless.
At sunrise Cerro Torre had only a few clouds over its glaciers. The Argentinian tour guide we had talked to in Torres del Paine had told us that Cerro Torre was the most difficult of the Patagonian peaks to see clearly; this year, though, they all seemed to be easy.
Austral Parakeets are not uncommon in the southern Andes, but they do not often sit still to be photographed.
The morning that we saw the sun rise on Cerro Torre, FitzRoy was in cloud. But by the afternoon, when we hiked over there, the clouds were all gone.
We had a double sunset that night; the yellow line shows the approximate path the sun took as it sank towards the horizon.
And the following morning the clouds stayed away for the sunrise.
We made a short day trip over to the Glaciar de Piedras Blancas. The “white stones” to which its name refers are car-sized granite boulders between the glacier and the Río Blanco. Our boulder-hopping skills were quite rusty but fortunately the rock field was not too long.
We weren’t surprised by the parakeets, but we were surprised by this Austral Pygmy Owl, which we found watching us eat dinner at Campamento Madsen after we returned from our trek.