This mountain goes by many names but is one of the most difficult climbs in the world, and certainly one of the most treacherous in the western hemisphere. Officially, they call it Cerro Chalten, but it is more commonly known as Mount Fitz Roy. It soars to a formidable 6,401 feet, made almost entirely of granite, and Mount Fitz Roy was once a very active volcano.
The most treacherous aspect of Mount Fitz Roy is its sheer granite face, which presents significant problems for inexperienced climbers and experts alike. Finding the appropriate route to the summit can be difficult, particularly when ascending the east side. Although rock fall isn’t as common on Mount Fitz Roy as other peaks in the Los Glaciares park, many people have been severely injured from falls without the right safety equipment.
Mount Fitz Roy is located directly on the Argentina-Chile border in Patagonia. The area was largely undeveloped until recent years, presenting difficulties actually getting to the base of the mountain – never mind climbing it. Now, however, several hundred people visit Mount Fitz Roy every year to climb it, and the trail heads are far more defined.
The weather is also a problem when trying to climb Mount Fitz Roy. Its official name translates as “smoking mountain,” because the peak is constantly surrounded by a dense layer of clouds. Fog roils throughout the area, obscuring vision and making the climb even more difficult, and this area also sees a fair amount of rain each year.
If you’re going to climb Mount Fitz Roy, make sure you pay careful attention to the weather forecast, as climbing in the rain is never a pleasant experience. You should also make sure to bring a pair of goggles with you just in case and plenty of ropes for each climber.
If you prefer not to climb Mount Fitz Roy, you can take the easier route and trek around the base of the mountain. A pair of quality hiking boots, such as the Cliff Walkers from Propet, is all you’ll need for this type of hiking.