Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

El Chalten: Laguna torre, and a glacier!

March 23, 2012
laguna torre glacier torre el chalten
Glacier Torre, the first of several glaciers on our trip.

Start from the beginning of our Patagonian adventure.

One of the best parts about hiking in El Chalten is that you can do a lot of the best hikes with only a daypack. So on our last morning, we loaded up light packs and headed to the Mirador Maestri, above the Laguna Torre and Glacier Torre and supposedly boasting grandstand views of Cerro Torre, the second-biggest peak in the park.

We hiked along the moraine wall of the glacier, and for the first of many times on this trip, I wish I remembered more from my eighth-grade geology class. I definitely used to know what a moraine wall is, and my topographical map-reading skills have declined significantly since I was 14.

moraine wall glacier torre
Me on the moraine wall

After making it most of the way to the mirador (lookout), we turned back at the preset time (it was drilled into me that you should always have a turnback time in mind, so you don’t get stuck out too late), but I gathered that not everyone followed this principle. Also, Cerro Torre appeared ensconced behind a permanent cloud, which appeared solid like an ice peak. So we figured we didn’t need to rush to the top just to see a cloud.

laguna torre glacier torre iceberg

We packed up camp and headed the 9.5 kilometers back to El Chalten. The trek was long, and at this point, our packs were very painful. I ended up ditching mine for the next section of the hike, it hurt my back so much, which meant that for now, Ben had most of the weight. Luckily the terrain was beautiful, with the mountains behind us, a river ravine off to our right, and Cerro Torre still lurking behind the cloud (we finally glimpsed it for about five seconds, before it disappeared again). 
We were exhausted by the time the town appeared, at about 6 p.m., and though we had considered camping, we checked back in at Latitud 49, preferring showers and a bed. We ate a hearty meal at the pizza place (Patagonia is the only place we’ve been in Argentina with good craft beer), including salad (vegetables!), then turned in for the night.

And that was it for El Chalten. The next day it was off to El Calafate and the Perito Moreno glacier.

rainbow camping el chalten

- Steph

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  1. Your posts have been extremely helpful in planning our Patagonia trip! I do have a question, however. No one talks about water - locations they filled up, if it needs to be filtered, etc. Could you provide some insight? It would be much appreciated.

    1. When we were there, you could fill up from any stream without filtering. The water was plentiful so it wasn't something we worried about too much in advance.


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