Backpack to Mt. Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre

16.8 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Zee Lilani

Spend 2 Nights/3 Days getting lost in Patagonia's stunning blue lakes, iconic mountain ranges and majestic forests.

Mount Fitz Roy is one of the most iconic mountains in the world and is still relatively undeveloped, allowing visitors to experience the landscape without the massive hoards of people. The best place to start the trek is in the town of El Chalten. I would recommend coming to the town with plenty of cash and backpacking food. The town is very rural and most of the grocery stores do not carry the typical food eaten while backpacking (i.e. canned tuna.) We spent a couple days resting up and gathering our stuff needed for the trek at one of the many hostels in town. Most hostels allow you to leave extra stuff you don't need for the trek in a storage unit so you do not have to carry the extra weight. 

Day 1: Walk to the northwest end of El Chalten and follow the big signs vearing to the left for Mt. Fitz Roy. The first 3km is all uphill to Mirador Fitz Roy (~400m elevation gain.) From there continue another 5 km towards signs for Campamento Poincenot. The trail is relatively flat for this section and it passes through some beautiful forests and around a few lakes. Set up camp at Campamento Poincenot for the night. 

Day 2: Wake up approximately 2 hours before sunrise and pack a day bag with some snacks, extra layers, camera and water. From Campamento Poincenot, cross the river adjacent to the camp and follows signs for Lago de Los Tres. It is approximately 2.8km, but the hike requires a lot of scrambling up rocks and is all uphill (~450m elevation gain.) You will know when you're getting close when you see snow on the ground and the trail begins to level off a bit. Enjoy the stunning sunrise on Fitz Roy and Laguna de Los Tres. Want to see another lake? Climb up the small hill to the left of Lago de Los Tres to see another lake on the other side! 

When it feels right, return the way you came towards Campamento Poincenot. Pack up the tent and return on the path heading back to El Chalten. You will soon reach a junction and follow signs for Campamento Agostini. The walk is relatively flat and you will pass Laguna Madre, Laguna Hija and Laguna Capri. Campamento Agostini is about 7km away and should take about 2 hours. Set up camp and walk up the short hill towards Laguna Torre to enjoy the sunset over Cerro Torre. 

Day 3: After breakfast, pack a small dag bag with water and snacks and veer left to follow the trail to Mirafor Maestri. The trail is 2.7km with an elevation gain of 100m.) From here you will have an incredible view of the glacier behind Cerro Torre. Return back the way you came, pack up your tent at Campamento Agostini then follow signs back to El Chalten. The hike back is alongside Rio Fitz Roy and is mostly downhill for 8 km. 

Many visitor decide to do the trail to Mt Fitz Roy in one day but I think the true magic lies in fully engulfing yourself in the park area. Part of the beauty of Patagonia is experiencing it's '4 seasons in one day.' Perhaps one of my most memorable days was beginning our trek from El Chalten in full sun, only to reach the campsite after walking through rain, intense winds and finally snow! We fell asleep that night with snowflakes falling all around us and woke up the next morning to a clear blue sky. It's definitely the journey that defines the experience, so why not make the journey as long and exciting as possible?!

One last note: Water is drinkable from the abundant rivers and streams so no need to bring any. We (group of 6) didn't use any sort of purifier and no one got sick. However, this may change when the number of tourists increase. Please take care of your trash and make sure you are using biodegradable soaps for washing your dishes and yourself! Keep this landscape as stunning as you found it! This is one of the few places in the world where you can actually drink the water straight from the river so lets keep it that way!

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Camp at Mt. Fitz Roy

I did not do this entire circuit, but I did spend a night camping at Pincecot. The scenery here was absolutely stunning and definitely worth it to wake up early and hike up to see the sunrise on Mt. Fitz Roy. The only reason I down graded it a star is because the campsite was very crowded (peak season) and therefore very loud and dirty. This hike is very iconic and no trip to el Chalten would be complete without it, but if you are looking for solitude you probably are not going to find it here.

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