Argentina is the go to place for many backpackers who are interested in hiking and skiing. It boasts of ample tourist offerings such as the Bariloche Ski Centre, the Iguazu National Park, the Andes Mountain, Los Alerces National Park as well as some popular Incan sites. Aside from these popular tourist sites, Argentina also has other places that are less travelled which backpackers should take advantage of before commercialism takes over. One such place is the town of El Chalten.
Capital of Trekking
The town is one of the newest ones that were founded in 1985. It was established by the Argentinian government to encourage settlement in the Andean range. The town is accessible by El Calafate which is 220km. away. The town attracts many visitors because of its natural surroundings that are well-maintained and preserved by the local people as well as its trekking paths which allow many novice trekkers to practice their mountain climbing skills.
Beginner's Trekking - Cerro Torre and Piedra del Fraile
For novice or beginners who are still starting out or those who just want to enjoy the scenery without the difficulties of trekking, a private tour that includes the Cerro Torre and Piedra del Fraile is available. The trek will include a short and easy trek which will allow you to see the views of the peaks in just 2 to 6 hours of trekking. A private camping place is also available near the Fitz Roy. Some treks will start at the Lago del Desiertos or Rio Blanco y Laguna de los Tres which will shorten the trekking time.
Intermediate Trekking - Mount Fitz Roy
Many trekkers would practice their trekking skills by visiting Mount Fitz Roy or the Chalten "Smoking Mountain". The trekking will take about 6-8 hours and includes visiting the Rio Blanco basecamp after which trekkers must do a steep climb to reach the Laguna de los Torres. For advanced trekkers, you might also wish to visit the Piedras Blancas Glacier which is an hour's ascent from the Laguna de Los Torres.
Advanced Trekking - Glacier Grande, Torre and Continental Ice
For advanced trekkers who want to challenge their skills, trekking to the Glacier and the Continental Ice is a must. The trek will usually take about a few hours for the Glacier trek and a few days for the Continental Ice trek. Although basecamps are available especially for the Continental Ice, hikers must ensure that they are equipped with all the necessary equipment as well as have an experienced guide. As the hiking grounds are maintained and preserved, all garbage and leftovers must be removed from the campgrounds. Permissions must also be obtained as some trails will cross through private properties.