Day 8 – Monday 15th October 2018
El Chaltén; Laguna Torre Trek
By plane – 0
By foot – 31.9kms/ 19.84 miles
By public transport – 0
Steps taken – 46,497
It’s spring time here in Patagonia, with the 1st November being classed as the first day of summer…
…Today it snowed.
We came here with our eyes wide open in terms of the weather and time of year we would visit Patagonia. On planning our trip we weighed up the pros and cons, possible extreme weather versus hoards of people. We went with the possible extreme weather and felt we could cope better with the weather extremities than the extremities of too many people on the trails.
Even in Patagonia’s ‘summer months’ it can still experience snow and high winds, there are no guarantees here.
We had read that the weather is notoriously unpredictable and you can experience high winds, heavy rain, snow and beautiful sunshine…all in one day!
At this time of year though it is much quieter on the trails and in general to enjoy nature for what it is. There is also something quite appealing to me about being up against extremities. Mother nature of course is always winning, but I can take that.
Being from Scotland we are used to cold, wind and snow, we’re a tough kind of breed! Although I must remember Andy is not and being Irish can be a little sensitive…I’ll need to keep my eye on him!!!
Today’s plan was to hike to Laguna Torre.
So from here we should have got a view of the Cerro Solo, Adela range, and Cerro Torro….we saw none of these!
But what we did see was a huge glacier – Glacier Grande!
So we started of our hike from the town, in the wind, with slight snow blowing through. Today’s wind was colder than yesterday’s, pretty biting actually. But we were here for the hiking and hiking we would do!
We knew looking at the forecast and purely just being outside that it would take a miracle to get views of the mountains today, but we knew other views were to be had and we would take what came our way.
So the trail entered the Fitz Roy river valley and continued following the river upstream.
The water coming off the glacier was so milky looking
Massive meandering waterfall from top of photo all the way to the bottom
After 15 minutes we should have had a view. What we got was a full on snow storm!
Me looking at ‘artists interpretation’ of view we should have seen…and sulking at what I was actually seeing!!
But there was something pretty cool about just being here in this weather if I’m being honest.
It gave us a slight taste as to the conditions, and so much worse, that these people deal with daily…very hardy people!
The walk was stunning and took several hours, just over 8hrs covering 26km in total…taking into account a pit stop for lunch and 50 million stops for photo opportunities!
It was tough conditions. It was windy, cold, and snowing and the snow got heavier and heavier…we battled on.
Biting winds howled across the landscape. View point after view point came and went, we saw a continuous whiteout.
On eventually reaching Laguna Torre we should have saw Glacier Gray at the far side but again we were restricted by the weather.
It was slightly frustrating knowing these giant mountains were all around us, you could feel their presence but could not see them and also knowing this huge glacier sat before u but again we could not see it.
So we decided to do a slight ridge walk to get a better view.
I should point out here that being in the valley the wind had slightly died down so we were good to go….and we did!
It was well worth the effort. By the time we got to the other end of the lagoon we could see the glaciers beauty.
There was something special about this one, maybe it was because we had worked so hard to get here, she looked rugged in the middle of no-where; maybe it was the conditions we had today made it feel like we were seeing her in her natural surroundings; maybe it was because we had her all to ourselves, there was not a soul around, no-one but us on the whole trek!
This was one huge glacier and one of many scintillating glaciers found in the Park and here she was at the base of Mt Fitz Roy, who was just behind her! Did I tell you we couldn’t see it though!!!
Patagonia is packed with natural beauty, a host to some of the most breathtaking glaciers. These glaciers are dramatically set between jagged rocks sweeping down into lagoons…it’s special.
After a lot of photo taking, which could not capture this glaciers glory due to the weather conditions, we reluctantly left as we had a long walk back and were aware that the light was fading!
So even although we once again have not witnessed those peaks we did witness unspoilt wilderness.