My friends Fitzie, Torre, and Camille!
Mar 11, 2008
|In the morning we headed to El Chaltén, the entrance of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares(North) to see Fitzroy and Cerro Torre.
OK, so nothing in the outdoors will probably ever compare to Torres for me, but we thought we'd give it a shot and head into the park to view two very popular mountains within the Andes Range after hearing the Germans experiences there.This park is easily accessed, putting Cerro Fitzroy at 3405 m (named after the captain/navigator of the H.M.S. Beagle and Darwin's companion on there voyage up the Santa Cruz river in 1834) and Cerro Torre at 3128 m on a silver platter, compared to Torres del Paine. The well-marked trails are graciously flat and one can daydream, through most of the 3-4 hr walk/day. These mountains are both very famous in the mountaineering world and Jas and I both wish we had brought our ropes, 'biners, and cramp-ons so we could put another challenging summit on our climbing resume, maybe next year. I guess Cerro Torre has one of the most difficult climbing objectives on its north face as you can see from the picture.
We hiked in towards Fitzroy the first day and spent the night in the 'Climbers Only' camping area, since, technically, we were scouting routes for next years summit attempt, and the 'Trekkers Camping Area' was full of yahoos from Buenos Aires and other random outdoor nuts from all over the world. A few other non-climbers did the same as we were obvious among serious climbers. I figured that nobody would say anything and I had the scouting story ready in case any 'climber' did. I rehearsed it with Jas, 'We'll, we talked to Miguel at the visitors center, perhaps you know him?, with my hands on my hips or maybe stretching my massive calves. Our amigo gave us permission to stay in this camping area since we will be returning to Fitzie next summer to stand atop the old boy. Miguel mentioned that it wouldn´t be a problem and that the only thing that may get in the way of having a relaxing experience may be a climbers' ego.' Just a joke really. Nobody said anything with our Doite (S. American brand comparable to Coleman or JOES brand) tent and non-mountaineering brands (besides our backpacks..thanks Trev) and it was nice and quiet there in the ' Solo Climbers' camping area. We awoke at 0700 in the morning to make the one-hour climb to the viewpoint and bag another 0830 sunrise photo opportunity. The mountain was clear of clouds, the locals name for Fitzroy in Tehuelche is El Chaltén which means 'peak of fire' or 'smoking mountain' (I think they thought it was a volcano), so we were lucky, and the sunrise was again worth the early climb. We got some pictures worthy of the Danimals' upstairs wall, but he will have to be the judge of that (we think they are brother).
After the sunrise we packed our 12 pound, what-a-drag, rental tent and began our 3-hour stroll towards Torre, hoping to see this bad boy out and free of clouds too. Coming out of the valley after a windy lunch near Madre Lake, we set our eyes upon a striking site. Cerro Torre boys and girls. It was better than the pics the Germans had shown us. A magnificently thin, tan-orangeish granite tower rising from a glacial floor with a pitch on the north side that was nearly straight up and down. We were still an hours walk from the viewpoint and our postcard pics, but we had confidence we'd see Mr. Torre still playing in the sun when we arrived at the campground, near the viewpoint. We'll the weather didn´t hold at the peaks altitude and we never saw Mr. Torre again. We both got some distant shots, but not as good as the Germans. We awoke at sunrise to see if the clouds had settled, but the cloud above the infamous mushroom ice-cap (the disputed peak of the Cerro Torre) only grew worse, entirely covering the breadth and scope of the range. Jas and I played Rumi throughout the morning and afternoon at our riverside campsite, checking to see if Torre was available for viewing at each shuffle. We left around four that afternoon saddened by the fact that we missed Cerro Torre up close, but we will get the Germans pictures, as Bjoern is in contact with the Americans.
Our hiking loop conveniently brought us back to town where we caught a bus at midnight heading for Bariloche in the southern part of the Lake District or northern Patagonia. The nice little bus tour to Bariloche was a 33-hr bus ride. I know, what were we thinking? We'll, we were short on cash because the ATMs were short on cash in Calafaté so we purchased our tickets with a card. Jas and I somehow thought the girl behind the window said Trece (13) instead of Treinta (30) and that was that. We tried to change the ticket after we ran into one of our acquaintances, the Belgium guy, who said 'there is no way it is only 13 hours to Bariloche'. We had a slight panic and figured we could change it, but we couldn't. So we are in Bariloche now. I am very happy as I fished all day yesterday at Boce de Rio Limay (mouth of the Limay River). I had very low catch rates, a few rainbows and a few small browns (the massive browns emigration to the ocean is about to occur), but the river was beautiful and this is just the beginning of a two and a half week, self-guided flyfishing trip.
We are headed north to San Martin´ and Junin de Los Andes where there are about five rivers I want to hit between the two towns. I won't be fishing every day, probably every other day. Jass´ sister Camille is arriving into town on her birthday tonight and we look forward to enjoying the two weeks she'll be here with us.
This post is a bit late as Camille arrived safe and sound. We enjoyed Bariloche together and had a nice birthday dinner with Camille. We are actually in San Martin' right now. Jas will talk of Bariloche and here soon...the chocolate factories of the Lake District, and I will discuss my fishing prowess here in San Martin', which I am sure y'all can't wait to hear (I slayed 'em here in San Martin'....all dry flies).
We'll, we are headed to some hot springs, just on the outskirts of town, for the day and a short hike within Parque Nacional Lanin.
Until Junin...trout dreams and goodnight,