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Mount Fitzroy Trek - Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Mount FitzroyArgentina’s gem of Patagonian trekking, Mount Fitzroy, offers a great alternative or addition to trekking Chile’s classic Torres del Paine circuit. Located within Parque Nacional Los Glaciers, Mount Fitzroy is the only permissible trekking locale within the expansive park.

The views of Mount Fitzroy vary from site to site and greatly based upon the time of day and weather. At sunrise, its massive granite structure turns an elegant rose hue that is well worth the early rise. During the day, it may be seen reflecting off Lago del los Tres or not at all as it can be hidden behind the clouds. By nightfall, the clouds thin out and wisp around its peak for yet another wonderful show.

While there are at least a dozen trekking route variations (ours took four days and unfortunately skipped views from Rio Electrico), we recommend a five day trek around Mount Fitzroy. Instead of hiking directly into the park, start by hiring a ride up Route 23 and get dropped off at the trail head and hike to Refugio Troncos (NW of Laguna Piedras Blancas), where you can day hike to the Cerro Electrico Lookout. While this was the day we clipped from our itinerary, others trekked there, but had limited success due to the difficulty of the trail and bad weather conditions. From Refugio Troncos travel down the trail and take the very short side trip to Laguna Piedras Blancas, before popping your tent for the night at Campamento Poincenot and take in a front stage view of Mount Fitzroy. 

Mount FitzroyGo to bed early, because it’s worth getting up before dawn to climb to Lagos de los Tres if you are hearty or just get up to watch the sun color Mount Fitzroy at sunrise. Come back for a breakfast/lunch and head down the trail to Laguna Sucia. The private walk along the river bank is a contrast to the more heavily traveled path to Lagos de los Tres. Few venture down it and its wonderful view from Laguna Sucia. We did it during the early afternoon when the sun warmed the snow causing avalanche after avalanche.

Camp a second night at Campamento Pointcenot before trekking to Campamento De Agostini along Laguna Madre and Laguna Hija. These lakes make a great backdrop for your last close up views of Mount Fitzroy and can make for a refreshing swim.  Once past the lakes, you’ll snake through a yellow wildflower laden forest before reaching views of Cerro Torre.

Once again get up for the sunrise, as it’s the best view of Cerro Torre and then head back to El Chalten.  

Fundamentals

Days Trekking: 2 - 5 depending upon route (we did 4)
Distance: Varied, we trekked about 40 miles (65 K)
Maximum Elelvation: 2,900 Lago del los Tres
Starting Elevation: 1380 ft
Approximate Elevation Change: 3850 ft one way
Price Range Independent: Free other than Food & Transport
Price Range Outfitter: $??? many variables
Challenge Level: Moderate with Pack

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Highlights

  • Incredibly diverse landscape
  • Sunrise view of Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre
  • Day hikes to Lago del los Tres and Laguna Sucia

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When to Go

Prime trekking season is from November to April. While this is indeed when most people trek, the weather during this period is quite unpredictable. A good planned trek will a lot extra time to allow for the weather slowing down your progress and allowing you to see all the region has to offer.

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Orientation

Mount Fitzroy is located in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and is accessible from the small, but growing, town of El Chalten in southern Argentina.

Map of Fitzroy - Click to Enlarge
(Click to Enlarge)

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Elevation

Mount Fitzroy Elevation Map
Click to Enlarge

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Guided vs Independent Treks

The trek around the circuit is usually clearly marked and there is little need for a guide. Unlike other treks there are no porters to help you with your load. However, there are guides and many options for the less hardy traveler. You can hire companies to set up tents and provide for your basic need or even day hike from El Chalten. However, we recommend taking your own pack and camping at a few of the campsites so that you can get great views of Fitzroy when the weather permits.

Access / Local Information

If you are soley traveling to Mount Fitzroy fly to Buenos Aries and then take another flight to El Calafate. From El Calafate you can catch a bus to El Chalten.

If however you are also going to visit Torres del Paine then you might consider travelling through Chile by landing in Santiago and then flying to Punta Arenas and taking a bus to El Calafate.

Day to Day Account - Jeff Salvage

My trip to Chile and Argentina was not exactly planned well. My friend Kirk was travelling until just before we left for Patagonia. He suggested we add a trek around Mount Fitzroy to our plan to trek the Torres del Paine circuit. His suggestion proved well worth it. more …