Mount Fitz Roy, El Chaltén (photo: Jorge González)
Video: "Adventure in El Chaltén" (camera Jorge González - edition Eduardo Epifanio)
In order to reach this site from Calafate, visitors must travel just 212 kilometers along a brand-new paved road that borders Lake Argentino first and Lake Viedma later, up to the spot where the eyes meet the vastness and grandeur of Mount Fitz Roy, on whose base lies El Chaltén.
Considered the Argentinian capital of hiking, El Chaltén emerged as a result of a territorial dispute with neighboring Chile, which was finally settled in 1997. This event made it worldwide famous among lovers of adventure sports, especially hikers.
The majestic presence of Mount Fitz Roy is unquestionable. Almost year round, its summit is covered by a cloud the Tehuelches -primitive dwellers of the area- mistook for smoke. This is how it got its name, as “chaltén” stands for “smoking mountain” in their tongue. White men have come to call this mount “Fitz Roy”, to pay tribute to the first climber that hit the summit of this particular and beautiful rock massif.
Ever since its foundation, the village has lured mountaineers and climbers, as it is the closest spot to the base of the famous Fitz Roy. However, visitors to this site will discover that in addition to mountaineering, the local nature hides real fishing sanctuaries, nice sites to go hiking or just be delighted with the almost untouched beauty of this scenery.
Today, there are over one thousand steady inhabitants and the figure is multiplied by up to 20 when the spring comes. From November to May, El Chaltén is visited by tourists from all over the world, who come along to enjoy and walk its trails, which start at the very urban grid and are suitable for all ages, according to their degree of difficulty.