Too Much Trekking

El Chalten Travel Blog

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Don´t mind if I do.
I thought El Calafate was small, but compared to our new destination it´s an absolute metropolis. El Chalten is pretty much the bare minimum, or less perhaps. There´s a few hostels, a couple of restaurants and bars, a bakery, one police car, a fire engine, no ATM and a few hundred outdoor enthusiast backpackers - and now us, of course. This really is heaven for the climbers, ramblers and mountain bikers of this world, all due to the beautiful scenery that surrounds this tiny mountain village at the bottom of a valley. El Chalten sits in the same national park as El Calafate, Park Nacional Los Glacieres, and has more than enough different trails to follow during your time here, be it by foot, on a bike or on a horse.
Cold and exhausted!


After a four-hour coach journey from El Calafate, we didn´t enjoy hearing that to get to our next destination we had to travel on odd days, as the coaches out of El Chalten was so scarce. This meant searching around for another hostel to get a bed for an extra night while we arrived here, so I spent our first day in one of my trademark sulks.

One thing you immediately realise about the place is the weather. If you think England´s weather is changeable, it doesn´t compare to this. We were first greeted by gale-force winds, struggling to walk with backpacks on. Then that evening the heavens opened up and it rained all night. The next day it was grey again, and more annoyingly the views we had come to see, of the surrounding mountains, were pretty much obsolete. We set about on our first trek, a three-hour each way trek to one of the biggest mountains in the area, Cerro Torre, but to be honest it was a bit of a disappointment.
I´m in there somewhere.
It was wet and miserable and there wasn´t even much to look at. Nevertheless, a reward of a hot chocolate when we got back eased the pain.

Today we went on our second walk, which was a world away from the first. An eight-hour round trip was to take us to see the main event of the mountains of the area, Cerro Fitz Roy. After three hours of fairly challenging walking, we found ourselves at a base camp at a foot of a mountain, which I later found out is 1160 metres above sea level. Already quite tired, it quickly dawned on us we had to scale the thing. Squinting, you could just about make out people on the mountain face, and the moment of realisation that we had to climb the thing was a heartbreaker. It was unbelievably steep - I can´t recall being so exhausted in my life. And the view when we got there wasn´t as we hoped, again the mountain being clouded up. The walk home I felt like my legs were cast in concrete. I can´t stress how happy I was to get back to my average hostel bed, then treated myself again, this time to a mixed grill from the parilla. But my legs are so tired I´m still walking like a pin guin.
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Don´t mind if I do.
Don´t mind if I do.
Cold and exhausted!
Cold and exhausted!
I´m in there somewhere.
I´m in there somewhere.
Cerro Torre, somewhere in there.
Cerro Torre, somewhere in there.
Woody Woodpecker
Woody Woodpecker
Crossing a bridge
Crossing a bridge
The summit
The summit
Chalten´s valley
Chalten´s valley
Cerro Fitz Roy
Cerro Fitz Roy
How much further?!
How much further?!
El Chalten
photo by: mountaingirl