El Chalten: Home to the Fitz Roy

The little town of El Chalten hasn’t been around long, only since the 1980s and we think that the pandemic was challenging for many businesses, as some restaurants seemed permanently closed. The town has a small-town community vibe to it, similar to a few European mountain towns.

Main street in El Chalten

Fitz Roy is a famous mountain in the climbing community. For those brave enough to attempt a summit, the weather windows are notoriously short and challenging to predict. Our goal was to make it to Lagos de los Tres, at the base of Fitz Roy. We planned our first day as a 20-mile hike to both Lago de los Tres and Lago Torres. Unfortunately, weather made it known that we weren’t going to see any views, so we did a shorter exploratory hike up about 3 miles to Lake Capri, before turning back. The rest of the day was lovely, reading and relaxing in our AirBnB and a delicious dinner at Fuegia.

Since our bus left at 12:30, we decided to try for Fitz Roy again by attempting a sunrise hike. As soon as we hit the trail, we were greeted with gusts of cold wind and rain. We powered up the 7 miles, catching glimpses of the sunrise over the ridge. The mountain was still shrouded in clouds, but the lake itself was worth the hike. After enduring enough of the never-ending the cold and snow, we had the loveliest run on the way down, now that the initial clouds had passed through the valley. We got back to our AirBnB at 9:45 and meandered our way to the bus station for a half day of travel down to Puerto Natales.

We would have loved to stay a few extra days, not just to see Fitz Roy but enjoy the town and maybe try some climbing. I would definitely encourage people to stay there for at least 4 days if you can. It’s a lovely relaxing town with great food and an abundance of outdoor activities.

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