Thursday, January 31, 2013

Traveling to travel: Chatlen, Ruta40, Los Antiquos, Chile Chico, Puerto Ibanez, Coyhaique

After the big climb, all of my acquired friendbase eventually trickled out of Chalten.  I decided it would be a good time to do a bit of solo backpacking around the Chalten Massif to capture the beauty of the area in photos and also to think about my next move.  As is often the case when traveling, a new set of friends fell into my lap and I was enjoying some fun days swimming in alpine lakes and cooking big group meals.  A mutual friend of some climbers I met from Boulder and I whimsically decided to take the road less travel (ruta40) all the way north to Coyhaique, Chile.  We took a 12 hour bus which consisted only of driving on (mostly closed, we drove right past the "calle cerrado" signs) dirt roads and eventually found ourselves in sleepy Los Antiquos, where we spent a couple of nights sleeping in some guys backyard among-st orchards and beautiful high desert, Southern Italy-esque scenery.  We took another bus across the border to Chile Chico, Chile and then a ferry to (VERY) sleepy Puerto Ibanez, where slept in some random woman's backyard and awoke hastily to figure out the difficult local shuttle bus system (which I don't we really fully understand, even after several rides).

Jayme, my new travel companion knew of a lesser-known trek through the Cerro Castillo mountain range in the area, so the last few days we set out to tackle the 64km trek through some of the most pristine and untouched wildland I have ever seen.  Unlike the extreme crowds found in Chalten and Torres del Paine, we were mostly alone for the 4 days we were trekking, occasionally surprised by one or two other parties we encountered during our trek.  Tomorrow we head North to explore Puerto Mont and the surrounding area.  We will probably rent a vehicle and hopefully see some volcanoes, hot springs, and lesser traveled beaches in the area.  All is well...

Self portrait of me in front of the Fitz-roy Massif.  You can see Guillaumet (which I climbed) on the right, which is 500meter prominent from the glacier (to give an idea how large this formation really is).

Cerro Torre:  The alpinist's testpiece, a future objective of mine.

The FitzRoy Massif from afar.

Old truck in Los Antiquos, a small town where we were forced to spend a couple of days.  In South America, it it's impossible to travel quickly:  Sometimes there are several days between buses to the place to you need to be and you are easily stranded.  Patience is key.

Park in Los Antiquos

Sick 4x4 bus we took North direct from El Chalten to Los Antiquos.  We were on pavement for less than an hour of the total 12 hour bus ride.  

Capturing Jayme capturing the sunset on the beach of Lago Buenos Aires

Self titled city graffiti 
The 3 hr ferry from Chile Chico to Puerto Ibanez

Jayme and I tearing through the country side in the back of some guys passenger van.  I was sitting with a huge pile of tomatoes.  We had no idea if they knew our intentions to go to las horquetas to start the amazing 64km Cerro Castillo trek, but it all turned out for the best.

Cerro Castillo and it's glacial laguna.  

Jayme and I on the hike.  Day 2 or 3, who knows?  Beautiful glaciers everywhere and not a person in sight.  A sigh of relief after being in one of the most heavily tourist populated places in all of South America.

1 comment:

  1. wow, you're making me dream dude. that countryside looks incredible. fitzroy massif is.. :o