01 May 2012

Patagonia the beautiful part 2: El Chalten

This is part 2 of more travels down south, my time in El Chalten, Santa Cruz, Argentina.  El Chalten is the original name for Mt. Fitzroy.

El Chalten, Argentina.  Likely soon to be the number 1 town to visit in Patagonia.


approaching Fitzroy with friends.

The forests of Patagonia are very Ent-like.  Treebeard in Spanish?  Barbol.

3 day expedition to climb the pyramid.

El Chalten is at the confluence of the 2 rivers.  not a bad setting for a town.

mystery cloud

Maxi and El Coronado

The descent was very steep.

staying in an old refugio

Always fun to share a snack with friends on the mountain

Making pollo al disco with Jesus, my host for a month.
Pollo al Disco (Chicken a la Disc)
You take a disc, as in from the agricultural equipment, and weld a small flange on to make it like a wok.  Build a rebar stand to elevate it about 1 foot off the fire.  Weld on some handles out of old horseshoes.  Heat up some oil in the disc, then add a few pounds of chicken or sausages or chunks of meat.  pour in a bottle of white wine and add onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, beans, peas, corn, and salt.  Add everything over time so as not to overcook anything.  Cover with a piece of sheet metal.  Later on, add oregano, pepper, and give everything a flip to evenly mix the spices.  To spread it further, add a pot of rice or lentils.  Serve with bread and wine.  Feeds 15.

getting ready to go fishing in Argentina is more complicated than Budweiser.

4am and we are tromping through the bushes with rope

seriously guys, WHERE are we going?

Now Maxi has his waders on and homemade spears.

Maxi fishing for salmon at dawn

at the end of the salmon run, they are like zombies.  they swim so slow you can walk up to them and spear them.  but they are already rotting, with their scales falling off.  not for eating.

wonderful handmade pen holder in the park office

Jesus handles small welding projects all over town.  The streets are filled with his scrap metal sculptures.

go for a walk?

that mountain is called Huemul, after the Andean deer.  It is a 4 day walk around the mountain.

Day one you walk along the river to the lake.  Day 2 is crossing the pass (lowest point in the background)

the start of day 2, with the pass beyond

there is a section along a glacier

who needs crampons when ya got sticks?

looking out from the ice cave

looking into the ice cave.  probably the most beautiful blue ever.

the ridge of the andes is granite, and the foothills sedimentary.  in between, you find metamorphic rock like this.  folded and twisted and melted.

one glacier crossed!

snow falls at the top and compresses into ice, then slides down the mountain.
 for every cubic foot of ice, you need 1,000,000 cubic feet of snowfall.
maurico and the glacier

looking out onto the ice sheet.  ice as far as you can see.  as the ice grinds past mountains, it carries the rock with it.

venturing out onto the ice is serious business

the ice pushes piles of rock, leaving ponds and a nice setting for a refugio, a small hut with a table and bunks (and mice)

the second night is in the refugio and day 3 follows the ice sheet down to lago viedma

the morraines show the flow of ice over the ages

extreme brushing

the lenga forest is very old, but still only a few meters tall due to the extreme climate

yep, there's my new tattoo

the glacier descends down to the lake, where it drops icebergs the size of houses

has from colombia, and my siberian brother ''el russo''

it is seriously windy here

reinforcing tents at jesus' house was a daily chore.  harsh sun and high winds shredded 3 rainflies in a week.

Jesus looks out the window at his bicycle, which will soon carry him on his own long voyage

with so many good people sticking around casa de jesus (that like vodka), late night laps around town are inevitable

countries represented: france, usa(3), colombia(2), kazahkstan, chile, poland, venezuela, argentina(2), and spain

lots of places to swim, as long as you like glacier water

goodbye el chalten, i will miss you.


Biff said...

Fantastic photography Mateo! Crowned indeed :)

Sylvie Detaille said...

LOVE IIIT Matt I m addicted to your blog :D

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