El Chalten - Fitz Roy, Laguna de Los Tres
A truly magnificent trek through beautiful woodlands, bogs and heath that offers spectacular views of Fitz Roy and its surrounding peaks.
El Chalten is the starting point for most treks in the Fitz Roy area. This is reached by a daily bus service in summer from El Calafate, over 200km away.
Day 1 El Chalten - Campamento Poincenot
Leave El Chalten northwards along the RN23 to Campamento Madsen. Turn off left here up the clearly signposted path that winds gently up through beautiful woodlands. A fantastic view north over the Rìo de las Vueltas riverbed can be glimpsed early on. As height is gained slowly, peaks appear tantalisingly, before the path dives off into the woodland again. After about 2 hours Fitz Roy springs breathtakingly and quite unexpectedly into view.
The path now continues down to another, signposted path, that leads left to Laguna Capri in just 15 mins. This sidetrip is highly recommended; the crystal clear lake is remarkably tranquil and reflects the distant, towering mountains in its waters. Some trekkers choose to spend the night here, but if Fitz Roy is to be seen close up from the lookout point at sunrise, then we recommend the more popular (and crowded) Campamento Poincenot.
Continue on through scrub and heathland to the signposted (and closed) shortcut route that comes in from the left and joins the Fitz Roy trek with the Cerro Torre trek. Continue along the main path, at times boggy, NW in a wide arc rightwards following small yellow marker posts over the stream and up left through the forest to the spacious Campamento Poincenot.
If this is done as a one day trek, walk through the campsite to get a good look at Monte Fitz Roy and return along the approach route. If not, pitch the tent and enjoy the view.
Day 2 Campamento Poincenot - Laguna de Los Tres (Monte Fitz Roy Lookout) - return
The return trek from Campamento Poincenot to Laguna de Los Tres offers a spectacular view over the Fitz Roy massif; good weather and an early morning start will guarantee a sunrise long not to be forgotten. Leave Campamento Poincenot by crossing the small stream westwards and then cross the suspension bridge and raging Rio Blanco to enter Campamento Rio Blanco, the basecamp used by mountaineers. Upon entering this campsite keep left: the path leads out of the forest onto the barren scree slope steeply up to first a false crest, and then shortly after the crest proper. This beautiful lookout offers views over Laguana de Los Tres, the impressive Fitz Roy massif high above, and the barren steppes stretching out far to the east below. The dramatic contrast could not be greater.
From here turn back down the slope and descend to the campsite, pack the tent and return along the approach route to El Chalten.
Normal trekking equipment.
This trek is straightforward and in good conditions poses no serious problems.
Days required: Campamento Poincenot and return can be done in a long day by starting early. Highly recommended is the two day trek to Monte Fitz Roy Lookout at Laguna de Los Tres by spending the night at Campamento Poincenot.
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay - Lonely Planet, April 1996
Trekking in the Patagonian Andes - Lonely Planet, February 1998
Trekking En Chalten & Lago del Desierto - Zagier & Urruty