Monte Fitz Roy is a 3,375 metre (11,073 ft) mountain near the village of El Chaltén, on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is also known as Cerro Chaltén or Cerro Fitz Roy, which means Cerro is a Spanish word meaning “hill”, while Chaltén comes from a Tehuelche (Aonikenk) word meaning “smoking mountain” due to clouds that usually forms around the mountain’s peak. Despite its average height the mountain has a reputation of being extremely difficult to climb because of the sheer granite faces present long stretches of arduous technical climbing. In addition, the weather in the area is exceptionally severe and slippery.
In spite of technical climbing to Fitz Roy,it attracts many photographers because of its otherworldly shape. The area is still fairly not reachable, was even more isolated until the recent development of El Chaltén village and El Calafate international Airport. The mountain climbing is however, difficult so it is preserved for experienced climbers.
Weather of Monte Fitz Roy
The best season for travelling as far as the weather goes is December to March. The weather however depends on your luck because rain or snow can be happen at any time. The weather in this area is unpredictable, as some people walk the trek without seeing the view of Fitz Roy and Torre Mountains as they both are famous for cloudiness. Be prepared both mentally and gear wise as it may rain or snow at any time and strong winds are an everyday matter even during warmer season and intense sunshine at any time of the year.
If you want to go for cheap camping, it is available on outskirts of El Chaltén at the end of Avenido San Martin. The climbers basecamp is also available on the Rio Blanco but there is an off limit to off-climbers. Several hosterias offers camp sites on their ground, with access to hot showers and other services. These camp sites are more costly then basiccamp ground on the outskirts of town but they don’t provide any facility but they get fill up quickly.
Fuel can be difficult to avail in Patagonia, so the best option is to bring your own multi fuel stove or to purchase a stove locally, which can be found at reasonable price. Water around Fitz Roy area is very clean and drinkable but if you want to be on a safer side you should boil or treat your water.
How to reach
Nearest Airport to the Fitz Roy Mountains is El Calafate. Mostly visitors prefer to go by bus to El Chaltén from El Calafate. Cheap flights are available to and from El Calafate through LADE (Líneas Aéreas del Estado) , operated by Argentina’s Air force. Space can be available less in these flights, so try to make arrangements as far in advance as possible. Other airlines offer reasonably priced flights as compared to LADE. LADE are more expensive. There is a LADE office in the bus station in El Calafate. A wide variety of accommodation is available at El Calafate and several hotels, hostels and some nice campsites are available in the El Chaltén.
Although the airport located in El Calafate is more convenient to the park, still some visitors fly to larger Rio Gallegos Airport at Argentina.
Alternatively, travelling by bus to El Chaltén can be an adventure, though it is certainly more pleasant than bus trips in other South American countries can be. The trip takes around four hours but if there is a bad weather it can take double time also. After the storm the dirt roads can be quite muddy and difficult to travel, somtime become a major hazard. The bus system is convenient, cheap and well supported. So its better not to go by renting a car or taxi. However, if you do drive, follow bus office in El Chaltén which is located on the main street Avenido San Martin.