Blogs from El Chaltén, Santa Cruz, Argentina, South America


South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén November 11th 2019

R: It feels a bit odd to be writing this during the coronavirus lockdown, but it makes me glad that I've been able to do this trip, and to think about all the things I may be able to do after it all ends. Anyway. This was the big one - the last full day of the organised part of the trip. This was the longest walk of the trip - 20km in total over steep ground in places - some of us had been looking forward to it, some had been dreading it. We had been told the night before to go and find sustenance for the day which I should really have done the day before, but I was on a long walk, so I didn't get time! I headed to a small supermarket ... read more
On the way up
Piedras Blancas Glacier
Onwards and Upwards

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén November 10th 2019

R: Next morning it was up early again - quite a long drive this morning. First, I took a trip up to the town viewpoint to take in the town from an abandoned old fort that sits above a kids play park. I was accompanied by fellow Brit Michelle who wanted to see the city too. It was a short steep climb and the views over to the lake and the mountains beyond were good. It was my sister's 18th birthday today, so I sat outside briefly and recorded her a birthday message before hopping on the bus. We were heading to El Chaltén which is the heart of the national park area. We stopped first at a very crowded "ranch" which seemed to do a brisk trade in terrible coffee, fridge magnets and hiking maps. ... read more
Laguna Torre
El Chalten
El Chalten Town

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén January 30th 2019

Today we drive 136 miles north to the village of El Chalten. The scenery en route is of snow capped mountains, turquoise lakes, rivers with eagles flying overhead and pampas dotted with guanacos (a type of llama). We also spot silver foxes, an armadillo and gauchos herding sheep. We arrive in El Chalten and check in to our cabin. We’ve been upgraded to a 2 storey, 6 bed cabin so space won’t be an issue for the next few nights. We walk through quirky little El Chalten; a hiking centre within Los Glaciares National Park and visit the park visitor centre for details of hiking routes. We select the 6 km ‘Mirador de los Condores y de las Aguilas’ supposedly to viewpoints where condors and eagles soar above the river canyon. It’s very steep and the ... read more
Guanaco warning
Fox hunting guanacos

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén February 28th 2018

Fitzroy is the dominating peak on the skyline, the most challenging ascent of the Torres Massif. Our feelings about the prospect of scaling it were not exactly aligned given previous experiences. The trek is 8 hrs and the final hour is 400m ascent in 1km. Jan was keen to prove that she’s not a wettie, but wasn’t sure she’d make it. Pete was looking forward to the day but with some anxiety about Jan’s response to the challenge. The cop out plan was that Jan would wait at the bottom of the final ascent, but she’d have to be semi conscious for that to happen and may have become a bit tetchy. The weather was perfect. Some high light cloud cover and no wind. The latter is important in these parts. The day after the climb ... read more
Jan the mountain goat....
Check out the arty reflections AP and Rich.....

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén February 28th 2018

And on we travelled the next day by bus to El Chalten, right in the middle of the Parc Nationales de Glaciares (the clue is in the name). “Is it February?” Pete asked, at 7.50 as we waited to load our rucksacks onto the 0800 bus. “Of course its February” I replied, thinking “what’s up with the man?” “Then why does it say March on our tickets?” says Pete.......meaning “the tickets YOU booked“.....Pete took command and his now fluent Spanish along with a lot of gesticulating and a bit of wailing from me ensured we got on the February bus. We are now half through our adventure and as a bit of a treat we decided to stay in one place for 5 nights to regroup and get our laundry done. We found the most amazing ... read more
Approaching Cerro Torres - "let's climb that one on the left" (guess who)
At the foot of Cerro Torres - "ok we'll just do the small one"

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén January 15th 2017

Isa is here!!!! So nice to have one of my best friends along for part of the adventure!! We headed straight to El Chalten where there are some nice day hikes to do. The following day, no rest for poor Isa, we started with a hike to Laguna Torre, the weather was changeable but we got to see the top of the mountains eventually! The tops are so steep and spiky and there was a glacier at the bottom leading to the laguna, we walked as close as possible eventhough the wind was blowing real hard and it was real cold! For the first time in my life though, I get to drink water straight from the river, no need to worry about carrying water bottles as you can fill up anywhere anytime, such a pleasure! ... read more

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén March 16th 2016

Le Perrito Moreno....Simon m'en parle depuis longtemps de ce gigantesque glacier situé à quelques kilomètres de la frontière en Argentine. Il m'a montré quelques photos, cela paraît effectivement comme un énorme mur de glace ! Ce serait donc dommage d'être si proches sans faire le détour! On y arrive après plusieurs heures de trajet, nous sommes partis à 6h de Puerto Natales, traversé la frontière dès son ouverture à 8h (eh oui ici la frontière est bien fermée la nuit, on vous en reparlera dans un autre article, c'est toute une aventure! ). Quelle chance le temps est avec nous !! Soleil et quelques nuages...On nous a tellement dit que la visite du glacier pouvait être rendue très décevante par temps couvert... Le voilà devant la première impression est finalement un peu mitigée, on s'attendait ... read more

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén January 22nd 2016

We have a new favourite place! The town of El Chaltén, dubbled Argentina’s trekking capital, was apparently thrown together in 1985 to beat Chile to ownership of the National Park. Our bus arrived at 4pm and we immediately decided to head out for a short walk. We ambled up to Mirador de los Condores, which provided a brilliant views in all directions of the town, the valley behind it, the Fitz Roy mountain range and lovely green moorland. We continued to Mirador de las Aguilas, stopping to see a couple of condors perched on a cliff, and found ourselves looking out over miles of plains, the enormous turquoise Argentino lake, and rolling hills in the background. On the way back, we noticed the beautiful wildflowers, sprinkling patches of yellow, white, pink and purple in amongst the ... read more
Fitz Roy is the biggest one!

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén December 25th 2015

The other great area of granite towers in Patagonia is the Fitzroy and Cerro Torro group, north of El Calafate on the Argentinian side. The small town El Chalten sits right under the mountains so another early start on the public bus gave me a full day to walk one of the trails up to the Cerro Torro glacier. The morning started brightly and there were great views as I walked up through the town, wind and cloud built through the day, but I still caught tantalising glimpses of Cerro Torro through holes in the cloud. This is possibly the most stunning mountain of all, being a slender granite spire, dominating surrounding peaks and glaciers until the land again rises for the equally vertical but broader Fitzroy. These mountains may be little over 3000m, but they ... read more
Cerro Torre and Fitzroy range
Cerro Torre in the centre

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén November 27th 2015

El Chaltan For not having existed a mere 30 years ago, this little village has a well-established reputation as the trekking capital of Argentina, and it deserves it. We spent three full days here, with John tackling the biggest hikes including a 12 mile trek to the base viewing of Mt. Fitz Roy and a scramble to the top of a smaller peak over a snow field. Together the three of us hiked the 12 mile round trip to Largo Torres with hopes of seeing Cerro Torres. A couple of notes about El Chaltan. Fitz Roy, the peak that towers above town, is outlined on all the Patagonia clothing, their trade mark. The town is pretty much cut off from the world--internet spotty at best, very few places take credit cards (the readers do not work ... read more
Riding under the mountains
Our table for lunch
Lunch guest

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