Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre – the most beautiful mountains in the world
It’s not always easy to make a top of the most beautiful things we’ve seen. If we compare the physical characteristics (altitude, size, depth …) the order comes naturally: the highest mountain/volcano/waterfall, the longest river, the largest cave/lake… But what happens when we have to choose the one we liked the most?
Well, we usually think similarly about the things we visit – if we like them, how much, or if we don’t. But actually, that was not the case with the most beautiful mountains we have ever seen.
The scenario should start to sound familiar to those of you who read our blog regularly: meet another couple (this time 2 French), agree to rent a car and a cabin for a few days and then explore the surroundings together. It’s cheaper, you get to know new people and it’s more fun with a bigger group than only the two of us. And that’s exactly what we did when we decided to visit El Chaltén (the so called “trekking capital of Argentina”) which is a 3 hour drive from El Calafate.
El Chaltén is also situated near the Glaciares National Park and it’s the departure base for 2 amazing mountains: Fitz Roy (3359m) and Cerro Torre (3128m) and to Viedma Glacier – the biggest one in Argentina. The road to El Chaltén itself was amazing, filled with wild animals (foxes, guanacos, ostriches, small armadillos), turquoise lakes and rivers making a big contrast here and there with the dusty and windy Patagonia. And all this having the Andes and lots of glaciers in the background.
Having already seen the Perito Moreno glacier just the day before and Viedma from far away while driving to Chaltén, we considered that was enough glaciers for a while and decided to go for two 20km+ treks in two consecutive days to reach the bases of the aforementioned mountains.
First one on the list: Fitz Roy – a 2km high vertical granite block with glaciers on the side and some glacial lakes near the base. Even if it’s only half the height of Everest it’s considered to be one of the ultimate mountains to climb in the world (if Everest has about 100 climbers that get to the top every year, Fitz Roy sometimes has one a year). I forgot to mention that the French friends were quite athletic and with all the climbing and marching through forests, open grounds and rivers, Zeb got a bit tired. It’s been a couple of months since our last big trek but getting back in shape came quite easily. And seeing wild animals such as condors or woodpeckers from really close kept us motivated. After seeing Fitz Roy I declared it the most beautiful mountain I’ve ever seen, and the next day did not change my mind on that.
But that was not the case for Zeb. Cerro Torre, a series of 3 peaks close-by that grow bigger gradually and finish with a vertical wall, together with… yes, you know it now: glacier at the bottom and green glacial lake with icebergs. Zeb was in a better shape than the previous day and the beauty of the mountain gave her wings on the way back (without any Red Bull). It was also the occasion for me to go off the beaten track, to cross an icy green river on a wooden stick attached to a pulley (I saw only afterwards that using it was forbidden … Oups!) and to get close to the glacier through untouched forests and deserted hills. Yammy!
Even though we couldn’t agree which of the mountains looks more impressive, we both compromise to put them in Top 2 best mountains in the world! The only one that could challenge the 2 it’s the famous Torres del Pine in Southern Chile – and that was to be seen in 3 days.
So, stay close, as in the next blog post you’ll find out if Torres del Pine gets to number 1 in our top or not!