Sunset over Mount Fitz Roy - Cerro Fitz Roy and the Towers of Paine. Santa Cruz Province, Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia, Argentina 2011 © Nora de Angelli / www.
Monte Fitz Roy (3,359 m (11,020 ft), also known as Cerro Chaltén, Cerro Fitz Roy, or simply Mount Fitz Roy) is a mountain located near El Chaltén village, in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile.
First climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone, it remains among the most technically challenging mountains on Earth for mountaineers. Monte Fitz Roy is the basis for the Patagonia clothing logo following Yvon Chouinard's ascent and subsequent film in 1968.
Francisco Moreno first saw the mountain on 2 March 1877. He named it Fitz Roy, in honour of Robert FitzRoy, who, as captain of the HMS Beagle had travelled up the Santa Cruz River in 1834 and charted large parts of the Patagonian coast.
Cerro is a Spanish word meaning hill, while Chaltén comes from a Tehuelche (Aonikenk) word meaning "smoking mountain", due to a cloud that usually forms around the mountain's peak. Fitz Roy, however, was only one of a number of peaks the Tehuelche called Chaltén.
It has been agreed by Argentina and Chile that their international border detours eastwards to pass over the main summit, but a large part of the border to the south of the summit, as far as Cerro Murallón, remains undefined. The mountain is the symbol of the Argentine Santa Cruz Province, which includes its representation on its coat of arms.
The mountain has a reputation of being "ultimate", despite its average height (although being the highest peak in the Los Glaciares park, it is less than half the size of the Himalayan giants), because the sheer granite faces present long stretches of arduous technical climbing. In addition, the weather in the area is exceptionally inclement and treacherous. It also attracts many photographers thanks to its otherworldly shape. The area, while still fairly inaccessible, was even more isolated until the recent development of El Chaltén village and El Calafate international airport. The mountain climb, however, remains extremely difficult and is the preserve of very experienced climbers. Today, when a hundred people may reach the summit of Mount Everest in a single day, Monte Fitz Roy may only be successfully ascended once a year.
PARQUE NACIONAL LOS GLACIARES
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Spanish: The Glaciers) is a national park in the Santa Cruz Province, in Argentine Patagonia. It comprises an area of 4459 km². In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The national park, created in 1937, is the second largest in Argentina. Its name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range that feeds 47 large glaciers, of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean. The ice cap is the largest outside of Antarctica and Greenland. In other parts of the world, glaciers start at a height of at least 2,500 meters above mean sea level, but due to the size of the ice cap, these glaciers begin at only 1,500m, sliding down to 200m AMSL, eroding the surface of the mountains that support them.
Los Glaciares, of which 30% is covered by ice, can be divided in two parts, each corresponding with one of the two elongated big lakes partially contained by the Park. Lake Argentino, 1,466 km² and the largest in Argentina, is in the south, while Lake Viedma, 1,100 km², is in the north. Both lakes feed the Santa Cruz River that flows down to Puerto Santa Cruz on the Atlantic. Between the two halves is a non-touristic zone without lakes called Zona Centro.
The northern half consists of part of Viedma Lake, the Viedma Glacier and a few minor glaciers, and a number of mountains very popular among fans of climbing and trekking, including Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
The southern part has, as well as a number of smaller ones, the major glaciers which flow into Lake Argentino: Perito Moreno Glacier, Upsala Glacier, and Spegazzini Glacier. Typical excursion boats travel between icebergs to visit Bahía Onelli, and the otherwise inaccessible Spegazzini and Upsala. The Perito Moreno is reachable by land.