El Chalten, Argentina Report: Surreal Skiing Above an Aquamarine Lake w/ Views of 11,171′ Mt. Fitzroy

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from November 20, 2022

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.

I spent the entire day simply awestruck.

Just the 1-hour drive north from the town of El Chalten was otherworldly with a winding turquoise river, views of the majestic Fitzroy Towers, waterfalls, and enchanted forests.

Note:  This was day #3 of our 2,500 road trip from Ushuaia, Argentina to Torres Del Paine, Chile to El Chalten, Argentina and back.

This is what we’ve decided to do to kill the time between our 2 Antarctica trips this month 🙂


Once I finally started hiking, I truly appreciated how special these forests are here with their babbling brooks and vertical trails.

The trail was so straight up that it had ropes with knots hanging from tree to tree for about 100 meters at one point.

Once the trees started to thin, I emerged unto a sparkling azure lake.

Blue and Fitz. image: snowbrains

The lake possessed an aquamarine color I hadn’t quite seen before.

It almost felt tropical at times.

Here the trail ended and a ‘mountaineer’s trail’ began.

11,171′ Mt. Fitzroy, El Chalten, Argentina. image: snowbrains

I followed the rugged trail up a knife-edge moraine to treeline.

At treeline, it was moss footholds on a slick granite slope until the snow.

At snowline, I dropped my shoes and switched to skins, skis, and boots. 

Mt. Fitzroy and lenticular clouds. image: snowbrains

Gabe, my road trip partner and fellow guide was ill this day and couldn’t join.

As I looked up at the glacier-covered mountain, my blood boiled with desire.

Had Gabe joined me, we could have roped up and gone for the summit up the glacier.

Where we skied in El Chalten. image: snowbrains

Alone, there was no way to safely traverse the glacier.

I skinned up the non-glaciated piece of the mountain and began getting buffeted by the wind.

The buffets became gusts.

Looking up or down? image: snowbrains

The gusts became hurricane-force winds.

I was nearly knocked down a handful of times.

Catabatic winds were swirling, blasting, and throwing snow down the 3,000-vertical-feet of glacier above me then slamming into the subpeak I was climbing.

Miles airing it out over a glide crack. image: snowbrains

On top, it was wild at times.

I’d stuck my skis into the snow firmly and turned around to check out the view when one ski came flying through the air, hit me in the leg, and nearly flew off an irretrievable cliff…

I was lucky…

Ripping wind and blue lake. image: snowbrains

I was scared.

The wind was vicious.

Had Gabe been with me, I still wouldn’t have continued up.

Fitz and blue. image: snowbrains

Just thinking of the wind at hand increasing as the elevation and stakes augment gave me shivers…

Down I went.

The blowing snow and corn snow mix skied terrifically.

Waterfall of the road. image: snowbrains

As I descended, the snow turned to all corn and was rippable.

On my way up, I’d noticed an open glide crack that I mentally marked to avoid.

I accidentally ended up skiing right over it but a quick ollie got me clear of it without issue.

Colors. image: snowbrains

Back at my shoes, I was singing.

I was elated.

I changed back into my shoes gaping at the view of the Fitzroy and the aquamarine lake below.

The views of the lake & Mt. Fitzroy lasted another hour during my descent before I was engulfed by forest and stream.

One of the coolest days of my life.

Thanks, El Chalten.



Tierra Del Fuego


En route to ski. image: snowbrains
Magical forest on the way down. image: snowbrains
Mt. Fitzroy and the Torro River. image: snowbrains
Fitzroy. image: snowbrains
Miles stoked on blue. image: snowbrains
Fitz and blue. image: snowbrains
Stoked. image: snowbrains
Unreal blue. image: snowbrains
Artsy blues. image: snowbrains

Skin track and blue. image: snowbrains
My ski almost blew away… image: snowbrains
Glide crack party. image: snowbrains
Miles skiing down with Mt. Fitzroy views. image: snowbrains
Mt. Fitzroy. image: snowbrains
Art. image: snowbrains
Colors. image: snowbrains
Wow. image: snowbrains
Blues. image: snowbrains
Blue! image: snowbrains
Sky or lake? image: snowbrains
Moody Mt. Fitzroy. image: snowbrains
Contrasts. image: snowbrains
Aquamarine lake and Fitzroy. image: snowbrains
Mt. Fitzroy. image: snowbrains

Apres ski dinner salad at Maffia in El Chalten, Argentina. image: snowbrains
Ossobucco raviolis… Maffia. image: snowbrains

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