Spent 2 days in this little village along ruta 40. This dot on the map attracts hoards of hikers and climbers who are enticed by the infamous Fitz Roy (standing at 3441m) and Cerro Torre. The big draw is the nearly vertical, granite appearance of the Fitz Roy that makes it a fairly difficult challenge to summit. Not to mention the unpredictable weather which can make or break your journey.
The village is rapidly developing as the tourism industry grows. Everywhere you look more hostels/hotels are being built. Also construction is underway to pave a main road. Ironically the main road of this little village is built right against the prevailing wind. Talk about poor planning. To think you have a clean canvas and yet there is still room to screw it up. But that just goes to show that really there is no coherent development plans just the notion of get it done as soon as possible.
Sadly I didn´t really have much time here and I wanted to make the most of my stay. on my Second and only full day there I started my hike to Lago Torre to see the glaciers. In total it was an 8 hour endeavour. Fairly exhausting I must say. I started off with very windy conditions. Along the way I met a few people huddled under a ridge trying to wait out the gusts of wind. Sure enough the wind subsided and the sun came out. That gave me encouragement to keep going.
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Although I started the hike alone, I met many people along the trails who were headed to the same destination or to the base camp to get to the Fitz Roy.
Half way through the hike though, the weather changed once again. It began to rain and rain. I contemplated returning but by then I had walked over 4 hours and I was determined to get to the glaciers. It was fairly foggy and the rain just kept on pounding. Finally made it but near the base camp at the higher altitude the rain turned to freezing rain. During this entire process I kept on thinking that the purchase of my wind/rainproof jacket back in Bariloche was the best decision I have made thus far. Thankfully otherwise I would be suffering from a severe cold.
Getting to the glacier despite the weather made my day. Sadly the full view of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy were obstructed by the fog. nonetheless I know I made it. Then started the grueling hike back to El Chaltén. This trip would normally take about 6-7 hours but the slippery trail conditions and the strong winds. I had to wait out these gusts and then continue.
Got back to my hostel and my pants, shoes, socks were completely soaked! and I was freezing cold. Luckily I had time to change and grab something to eat before catching my bus further south to El Calafate.
By this point I had formualated a travel group. We started the trip together back in Bariloche and ended up taking the same buses or staying in the same hostels throughout the way until El Calafate. It was a Welsh couple, a guy from right outside London and 2 Isreali guys. It was nice to have company during the looooong and painful drive down to each city.