Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hiking in El Chalten

Claimed to be the hiking capital of Argentina, El Chalten is definitely a place worth visit. After four hours of bus from El Calafate, we reached there at 10pm. Lucky to us there was a cheap hostel costing only 35peso each (the common roam and the kitchen were small). We settled for a day of touristy excursion to the Glacier Viedma, then the next day we went hiking to see the nearby mountain Friz Roy.

It was raining and not a good day to start, but we should not wait for longer for the six-hour track under sunlight. Our rain-gear were finally useful, especially my poncho which was with me since high school. Crossing the town we followed the handwritten-like tourist map and the track was clear and well maintained. We passed a rocky hill which should be ideal for rock-climbing. Then rain came. It was our surprise that the rain later turned to snow and our first time to hike when the snow started falling and the ground was still green and yellow. Then the snow turned heavier and we turned out walking in a valley with strong wind and snow storm. We did not see much of the mountains far away. It was a special experience in that hard weather but the surrounding was serene and fresh. After seven hours of hiking we were back to the town.

The next day we went to another trail where we could see the cerro torres. However, the rain was heavier than the day before. We waited until the rain got lighter at 10am. There was no snow on the way this time but a long way on the valley to the glacier.
We wanted to buy a good meat (but there was no good meat anyway) and just found that it was labour’s day and the supermarket was closed. There was also no carniceria. As the bus to Bariloche was 3am, we stayed in the hostel till late (lucky that there were not many people in the small hostel). We were yet lucky to enjoy El Chalten because of the weather. Hopefully next time there is better weather so we can climb Friz Roy (which costs 300peso per day to hire a guide for 3-4 days).

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