El Chalten is a little town born in the early 1980s, located in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Argentina. It is an isolated town where everything (food, services) is a little more expensive than in bigger cities in Patagonia such as El Calafate or Río Gallegos. But fortunately you can find almost everything there.
This town is where you start the hikes to the view points, camping sites of the Park and of course where climbers from all over the world start their journeys to climb one of the dozens of routes in the Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy cords.
Most of the people visit the “Laguna de los tres” which is the lagoon located in the base of the glacier below the Fitz Roy cord. Some people make a full day hike which means that they leave El Chalten very early in the morning, hike for 4-6 hours to the lagoon and 4-6 hours back to the town. Some others take their backpacks, tents and sleeping bags, and spend a few days, to reach the “Poincenot” camping site (2 hours), spend the night there and the next day hike to the lagoon, back to the camp and they either continue hiking to the Cerro Torre camping site or back to El Chalten.
All these are good options to see the amazing Fitz Roy. But if you are a little more adventurous, you can try to reach the “paso superior” ice camping, where climbers, either in tents or snow caves, wait days or weeks for good weather conditions to climb the selected route.
Hiking to Paso superior is is an experience itself, the view is amazing, the feeling is irreplaceable. From this spot you see the magnitude of the granite walls because you are only about a mile away from the actual base of the peaks. If you are even more intrepid, you can go further and spend the night up there in a snow cave, hike towards the base of the peaks. Highly recommended to experience a little bit what is a climber’s life like.
To get to this place you need to be in an acceptable physical condition and you absolutely need professional assistance from a mountain guide or an experienced mountaineer, because you have to walk in a glacier (with crevasses, ice, snow, etc) for a few hours and a you have to climb a short small on rock that requires safety instructions, guidance and appropriate gear. Contact us if you need more info on how to get to “paso superior”