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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chasing Winter

By the time the ski season ended this year I was, unsurprisingly, ready for winter to start. So it was with high spirits that I shipped off to the southern hemisphere, arriving at the beginning of their fall. I packed flannel, warm pants, and even some ski gear in anticipation of cold weather running. I did not, however, check the weather before I left for Buenos Aires. Suffice it to say I was not prepared for the 90 degree heat that greeted me when I walked off the plane. A month and a half later, temperatures dropped to more reasonable temperatures in the 80's, but I was suffering due to the fact that I didn't bring any shorts . It only made sense, then, to go searching for Winter in a place I was sure would have snow, Patagonia.
I set off on my trip with high expectations of solo hiking, and the chance to spend some quality time with myself. After two days alone, I learned, shockingly, that I am not a solitary creature. It was very lucky, then, that I met up with ski team alum Sarah Tory for a couple of days of hiking around Mount Fitz Roy. Almost all the hiking was accessible right from El Chalten, so Sarah, her partner Alex, and I ended up pitching our tents at "la casa de Jesus", where a local resident reenacts the Stone Soup story every night.
Mount Fitz Roy and some surrounding peaks

The hiking was spectacular, but we quickly learned that Patagonian weather is fickle, and cycles through a two hour sequence of sun, snow, sleet, and rain, with high winds throughout. The glacial lakes and jagged peaks, though, made the weather all worth it.
After three days, I decided to leave El Chalten, and head over to Chile to do a longer hike, the "W" in Torres del Paine. I felt a little sad about doing my first big run/hike without Phil, but since he had other plans, I had no option but to attempt it alone. I'll spare everyone all the details of the hiking, but here are some of the more impressive sights.

The beginning, right off of the catamaran.
Glaciar Grey
Paine Grande

It snowed 30 centimeters the second night

On the last morning, I got up before the sunrise and hiked to the base of Las Torres, arguably the most famous view in Patagonia. Thanks to some incredible luck, we had blue skies for the whole sunrise.

Some of the world's hardest climbing

I also got an unbelievable view of the sun rising through the valley. Sequentially:


1 comment:

  1. Those are some outrageous picks! Not gonna lie, little jealous... Glad you're having a blast over there