El Chaltén

February 12 Cerro Torre

February 13 Cerro Torre, Monte FitzRoy

February 14 Monte FitzRoy

Trail sign

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.

Mountain view

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

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.

Cerro Torre sunrise

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 Parakeet

Austral Parakeets are not uncommon in the southern Andes, but they do not often sit still to be photographed.

FitzRoy

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.

FitzRoy sunset

We had a double sunset that night; the yellow line shows the approximate path the sun took as it sank towards the horizon.

FitzRoy sunrise

And the following morning the clouds stayed away for the sunrise.

Glaciar de Piedras Blancas

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.

Austral Pygmy Owl

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.

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