We were very keen to see the view over the Southern Patagonian Icecap so hoped the weather would hold for a few more days. We had also hoped for a rest day but the forecast was for 2 more good days before things deteriorated in a big way so we just had the one night in El Chalten and headed off first thing.
Cutting the 7hr hike to the camp down to 4hrs we decided to keep going up valley and getting the infamouse river crossing done if we could. We had heard many stories of raging glacial torrents, waist deep and floating iceblocks, and bracing against fierce down river winds. along with the need to cross at 4am in the morning. Well we crossed at 1pm, maybe knee deep and with NZ river crossing skills managed to just get our knees wet. Pays not to listen too much to stories. Having said that, the crossing does take a few people down thru bad timing and crossing in the wrong place on their own.
We decided to make a dash (slowly) for the pass and try and camp up there. By 5.30 we had made the interesting journey up the valley, over the glacier snout, thru steep bluffy terrain and up the final steep scree slope. The journey was possible reminiscent of travel thru the larger glaciated NZ valleys in Victorian times -with glacier snouts to cross as you made your way up valley.Glacial recession is certainly evident here but with degrees of latitude south to slow it down.
The pass was very special – the views over the ice fields fantastic and as you will see in the photos the sunrise sublime. We suspect it is a rare day that you can get the reflections we did at Paseo Del Viento – Pass of the wind.
We backtracked the next day and had a high camp on the walk out. The freight trains of wind hit us at 5am so we opted for an early start rather than the possible need for new tent poles. Finally we get to see some real Patagonian weather!