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On the border between Argentina and Chile is Mount Fitz Roy, a mountain that reaches 3,405mts, located east of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, near the small, quaint town of El Chaltén. This massif is part of a mountainous group, which is considered one of the greatest nunataks of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.  The term “nunatak” is an Inuit expression used in Western European languages since the 80’s, and it refers to mountain peaks that are entirely surrounded by ice. 


The immense mountain hovers over the beautiful town of El Chaltén, which is the starting point for many breathtaking hikes in the area. The trek to Fitz Roy is considered the most popular, with a route of approximately 21kms. The hike begins as you enter a thick forest of beech trees, bordering the White River. Depending on the season you’re visiting, you can see how the trees show off their yellow and red tones as they move with the wind. As you approach the final viewpoint, you’ll be left in awe staring at the Fitz Roy summit, a magical display of a slick, granite peak playing peek-a-boo between the quick-moving clouds! 


The name Fitz Roy is debated throughout its history. The indigenous people of the area, the “Tehuelches,” identified it with the name “smoky mountain,” since in their eyes the clouds that crown its top were smoke that came out of it, like an ancestral denomination. It was also associated in mythology with its cultural hero, Elal, who was considered sacred.


However, in 1877, Dr. Francisco Pascasio Moreno named it Fitz Roy in honor of the captain of the HMS Beagle, Robert Fitz Roy, a British explorer, who in 1834 explore and mapped the area during his expedition along the Santa Cruz River. 


To reach Mt. Fitz Roy and El Chaltén, the best way to get there is through El Calafate, home to the Perrito Moreno Glacier. El Calafate is filled with excellent restaurants and attractions and is a perfect place to stop when combining the hiking trails of Torres del Paine with El Chaltén. 


Explore the beauty and history of a massif surrounded by ice at: