Backpacking around Fitz and company
I finally got out of Chalten the past few days. Some great friends from the road and I teamed up for a backpack around the base of Fitz Roy then out of the northern park boundary along the river Piedras Blancas. We spent two nights at a campsite on an estancia at Piedra Fraile (40 pesos per night, but amazing homemade alfajores). From the camp we climbed up the north slopes of Cerro Electrico to a highpoint along its east ridge. From the ridge we took in fantastic views of Fitz, the Southern Icecap and the surrounding region. Weatherwise we could not have been luckier. I’ve never seen such great weather in El Chaltén: clear skies, warm temps and only a bit of wind.
Parque Nacional de los Glaciares is the crown jewel of the Argentine park system. Solitude on the popular park trails is not easy to find, especially the route from town to Laguna de los Tres. The ethic for camping is of group campsites in the backcountry where a pit toilet is provided and everyone crowds together much like at Camp 4 in Yosemite. But just as in Yosemite, if you wander off trail or up a valley or to some random lake or glacier, you can experience some of the most spectacular scenery on earth in complete solitude.
As I wandered around the past few days, I started to feel more and more at home here, much as I do in Yosemite. And just as I frequent the Sierra almost weekly, I have made returning to this area to climb and explore an annual priority. This will not be my last time staring up at Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. There are hundreds of amazing peaks to be climbed and experienced in this corner of Patagonia–enough to occupy a lifetime. When I return back to the States, I need to find/create a job that sends me here or affords me the time to make an annual pilgrimage to this sacred spot.
Here are some shots from the trip: