Hiking Mountains, Drinking Beers and Riding Horses in El Chaltén

El Chaltén ended up being the random meeting spot for people I knew. 1) Karen, a friend of my brother’s who I’d never met, was going to overlap one night with me there. 2) My friend Sarah (who had also quit K2 to travel this year) arrived with her husband for my last couple days there. 3) Ruth and Ronan, Irish friends from Torres del Paine, were there waiting out the weather so they could go explore the mountains, so we made plans to meet up.

It’s a small but very cute town nestled right at the base of the mountains. Here’s the town looking back from the start of a hike:

El Chaltén

Views from town are amazing, assuming of course that the clouds and rain clear away. The morning light made everything glow:

Morning light on El Chaltén

We all loved the Cerveceria that served their two beers until they ran out each night, along with the most incredible pizza I’ve ever had. I ate this pizza twice while I was there:

MMMM Veggie Pizza

With Ronan out front of cerveceria

Once the weather improved (there was some seriously windy rain going on when I arrived), Ruth, Ronan and I took off for the mountains. We spent three days/two nights hiking up to Cerro Torre and then Fitz Roy. It was some great hiking and views, and felt a bit more empty/wild than the bustling Torres del Paine.

Cerro Torre

The views walking up were incredible:

Hiking up to Cerro Torre

Mountain reflections

Hiking to Fitz Roy

On Day #2 and #3 we had gorgeous weather for our hike up to Fitz Roy which made for some incredible shots of the aqua water below the towering rocks:

Me with Fitz Roy behind

Fitz Roy

We found the most amazing spot for breakfast before hiking to the top!

Best spot for a breakfast!!

Back in town, I went horseback riding with Sarah and Eric on my last day in El Chaltén. Like most every day in recent history, it started off rainy but while we were in our mid-trip refugio enjoying mate, the sun came out and dried everything out! The landscape was beautiful and even with my ambivalence towards horses I loved riding through the Patagonian mountains.

Horse riding in Argentina

Getting pensive over some mate:

Deep thoughts with mate

We look like pros:

Riding with Eric and Sarah

El Gaucho:

Taking care of the horses

I want this stove!:

I want this stove

More photos from the hike: