Headed here from El Calafate, we had already become accustomed to the Alpine climate of El Calafate, but once again the temperatures got colder and the scenery even more extreme. El Chalten is shadowed by the incredible Fitz Roy mountain range.
Aside from hiking there isn't a great deal to do in El Chalten, so when in Rome we decided to get the boots out that we've been lugging round to give them a test run prior to Macchu Picchu.
After a good nights sleep we woke early to do our first walk - this would take us to Laguna Del Torre. The estimated roundtrip time for the 30km was a long 8 hours. We set off at the crack of dawn and powered through rain and wind until we reached our final lake destination. We sat and had our pre-packed lunch and then decided to continue to a view point on much higher ground. This was a walk across a rocky ridge to an elevated point where you could look down on the lake and the glacier breaking off. Real nice, only problem was it was pouring down and we were starting to get wet. We took this as our time to leave and head back a the weather didnt seem to be getting any better. To make matters worse, on the way down Reets knee gave way which made the going really slow. We got back and had a nice hot dinner, few glasses of wine and a game of the customary Uno. Met a really nice couple from Melbourne that night with whom we whiled away the evening chatting and swapping travel stories.
Next day was just relaxing and staying indoors away from the relentless rain.
Day 3 we awoke to a beautiful blue sky and no clouds on the mountains giving a perfect view of the often obscured Cerro Fitz Roy. This was the big one, we set off for what should be a routine walk to the base of the mountain only then to have to ascend 750m in an hour. This was the part of the walk that the park rangers ´didnt endorse´. Seemed like the people coming down werent too battered or bruised so we gave it a go. With blistering winds and a really steep gradient we soon realised why it was deemed dangerous. We ploughed on doggedly taking all the care we needed. On reaching the summit the wind was real strong as i noticed Reet vearing off towards the edge. Grabbed hold of her and insisted she stay in very close proximity. Over the final ridge and it soon became very obvious why people made this perilous journey. Mount Fitz Roy, a huge verticle spire inaccessible to non climbers is mystically amazing. It opens up only when it feels like it from behind the clouds and reveals itself. As mesmorizing as it was the weather started to close in as the snow began to fall. Time to leave quick smart. We began our descent only to be greeted by a gang of koreans wearing shorts, T-shirts and trainers on their way up - unbelievable that they are still around. Anyhow we headed back completely content with having witnessed something that only the truly lucky see, as we descended it became enshrouded with clouds once again.
An absolutely truly amazing time, one that will be cherished forever.