Moreno Glacier and Mount Fitz Roy

Posted at 18:21:7, 5/12/2004

Thursday 2nd December 2004, 8:30am, Rancho Grande Hostel, El Chalten

We got up fairly early yesterday morning to join a tour to the Moreno Glacier. Where we were first dropped off, next to a boat quay, a large floating block of ice had drifted too close to the jetty used by the tourist boats and they were trying to move it out of the way by pushing it with the boat!

We walked round, into site of the front of the huge Moreno Glacier - the 3rd buggest glacier in the Paque National Los Glacieros. The front face is about 50m high (the height of a 20-story building apparently) and there is a further 140m under water, down to where it sits on the bottom of the lake. We hung around for several hours watching large chunks of ice fall into the ice-berg choked pool in front of the glacier. Every so often, huge spires and blocks of ice, around 30m tall, would fall away with a great crashing and roaring into the water, sending a tidal wave of ice debris across the lake and splashing water and ice over 60m into the air. We also saw a massive block, which must have broken off under water, come rising to the surface with a great bubbling and frothing... you can tell I'm reading Moby Dick at the moment!

In the evening we got the four hour bus ride to El Chalten, near Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. After telling several people how lucky we've been with the weather while trekking, its now absolutely pissing it down!

Thursday 2nd December 2004, 8:10pm, Refugio Los Troncos, Los Glacieros

It rained on and off for all of the morning and into the middle of the afternoon before clearing up. Although the big spires of Fitz Roy, etc. were covered by cloud, we saw many of the lower, slightly less spikey mountains. There was a bit of snow on the ground where we started this morning and all the mountains are fairly well covered.

We're camping by a very small refugio where a family with a couple of small kids are staying. There's also a very clingy cat that's taken a great liking to Lorna, although I think it inly wants her for her tuna! Its much quieter around here compared to Torres del Paine, although its inevitably more busy than Tierra del Fuego! Shame about the weather though...

Friday 3rd December 2004, 8pm, Campamento Poincenot, Los Glacieros

We got up fairly early this morning to walk up to Paso Cuadrado and up onto a ridge by Cerro Electrico. We got up to the pass, which the climbers heading to do the Supercouloir route on Fitz Roy use. The weather came in soon after we set offand we were walking through driving snow. It was fun walking across the snowy scree amd the ridge looked like it would be fun too, but we couldn't see much of anything beyond a couple of hundred meters, so we decided to turn around.

This got us back to the tent for lunchtime, so we packed up and walked back the way we came yesterday to camp about 2 1/2 hours from El Chalten. Mount Fitz Roy and most of the other mountains have been covered in cloud all day, but the clouds cleared from the summit of Fitz Roy about half an hour ago. Its pretty stunning - I'd been thinking how big and steep Cerro Poincenot looked and Fitz Roy towers above it.

Saturday 4th December 2004, 5:30pm, Artesanal Microbrewery, El Chalten

It was absolutely chucking it down this morning, so we decided to stay in the tent and drink tea rather than walk up to the view-point with no view! We eventually packed up and set off around midday, just in time for the sun to come out (although the big mountains were still covered in cloud).

We wanted to get the bus to El Calafate tonight, but there are no seats left; there's no room in the hostel either so we're camping in the free campsite up the road and have to get up at 5am for the bus tomorrow. We've decided a useful use of the rest of the afternoon is to sit and drink fantastic dark, cloudy beer at the local microbrewery!

Sunday 5th December 2004, 2:30pm, Moreno Hostel, El Calafate

Well we managed to spend all of the money we saved by staying in the free campsite, on beer in the microbrewery! That and the bottle of wine with dinner made for a twinge of a hangover at 5am this morning when we got up to get the bus. Back in El Calafate now in a bit of a scummy hostel because the nice places are full; its only for one night as we fly out tomorrow.

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