We arrived in El Chalten from the dusty frontier town of Gobernador Gregores around 11:30 am - although the driving time wasn't long, we had about 70kms of really rough roads again. Seems the South American definition of gravel means a mountain of 6 inch stones, rather than a smoother, sandlike surface that we are used to - it's like a moving cobblestone road!
About 60kms before El Chalten, Mount Fitzroy appeared - it's always strange when you see something in person that you have only seen in pictures and movies before. Fitzroy is the one iconic mountain in Patagonia that everyone knows- it is even the basis for the Patagonia clothing line logo! This was my "wow" moment of the trip - to see the granite spires and jagged peaks of Fitzroy has really put an exclamation point on my trip.
We checked into our hotel - El Chalten was not really a community until the 1980's when people realized it was one of the best places on earth for seeing glaciers, as well as mountaineering, hiking and mountain biking. As a result, lots of young, fit people are here from around the world (but mostly Brazil) getting some mountain air.
I meet with my guide tonight, when we will go over my climb to the Marconi Glacier. This trek will take 4 days and three nights and will get me onto the worlds second largest ice cap in the world - hundreds of Kms of nothing but glacier, ice and mountains! The first day will be basic hiking, after which we will strap on crampons, rope up and cross up and onto the glacier, which is full of crevasses... Sound like fun?
Anyway, I will be unable to blog the next three/four days, so here's hoping for a good weekend (the weather here looks favourable!) and for you as well, wherever you may be!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain