El Chalten hiking offers great, several-day circuits with camping options. For these demanding treks, you need a high fitness level, as well as experience with mountain trekking, camping and using basic equipment. These expeditions are only allowed under local guide services, as they need more logistics. During a day, a walk might go up to 9-10 hours with steep ups and downs.
These treks will take you to a lookout points with spectacular, isolated views of the Upsala Glacier and the South Patagonian Ice Cap. Here is merely one of the difficult routes, but there are many other ones that can also be organized.
If you are looking for more hardcore El Chalten hiking and trekking, this is for you. Get prepared and go!
El Chaltén – Laguna Toro – Paso del Viento – Refugio Paso del Viento
The walk starts from the Visitor Center of the Glacier National Park just before getting to Chalten. The first thirty minutes of the walk is next to a clear path on the side of the river until you get to a forest. You will go through the forest and start climbing, gradually crossing some openings that display views of Cerro Torre, Fitz Roy in the north and Huemul towards the south.
There’s great views of the Viedma Lake and if you cross through more forests going through the Tunel river valley, you’ll come across panoramic views of the Huemul and The Wind Pass. From there, you will start your descent continuing to the west, towards Toro Lake. Where the forest ends and just before reaching the lake, you will arrive to the campsite.
On the second day, you’ll start next to Toro Lake where the Tunel river gives its waters. After crossing this river, the path takes you to a moraine area were you must walk carefully because of loose stones and glacial ice. Once in the glacier, you continue parallel to the big south moraine until crossing it: always heading west. You will reach the firm terrain that climbs for 2 hours to the Paso del Viento. After crossing it, you’ll head down to the proximities of the Ferrari Lake, where you start a nice walk on the side of the Huemul Lake. In around two more hours, you’ll arrive at the Refugio Paso del Viento for sleeping in or camping.
This trek continues with Paso de Viento – Paso Huemul – El Chaltén on another 10 hours. While it may be very demanding, the accomplishment of crossing a part of the planet will literally take your breath away. The immensity and solitude of these landscapes are very infrequent to the vast majority of people, and is just waiting to be discovered.
Written by Patricia Wissar