Time  3 days 4 hours 31 minutes

Coordinates 6651

Uploaded October 6, 2015

Recorded February 2014

6,181 ft
1,300 ft
28.89 mi

Viewed 11036 times, downloaded 377 times

near El Chaltén, Santa Cruz (Argentina)

This track connects the extremely classical walk to the Fitzroy viewpoints to the less known Loma de las Pizarras, which is commonly accessed from Valle Torre via its E ridge. Here it is shown how to reach it from the Laguna Sucia, via a nameless little lake that in my travel diaries I called Laguna Olvidada, from where the ascent to the Loma is both short and straightforward.
The way that I followed to reach Laguna Olvidada is arguably not the simplest one, since it unnecessarily reaches the col below the Techado Negro, and then needs to traverse what I called "Little Red Summit", in front of what I suppose to be Cerro Ñire, needing then the unclimbing of steep and not very stable rocks, followed by a steep snow coulouir. With sufficient attention, however, the whole can be achieved.
The next step would be to search a more direct approach to Laguna Olvidada, probably leaving the shore of Laguna Sucia very early after the ford.

Detailed description:

Afternoon start from my hostel in El Chaltén. Walk to Poincenot, taking some photos at the classical spots: Mirador Río de Las Vueltas, Mirador Fitz Roy, Laguna Capri. From Poincenot I make an evening recognition until Rio Blanco, such to have no problems then in following in the darkness.
The day after, I wake up in the night, in order to be at the Miradores for dawn. Long photographic stay, since the weather is moderately cloudy, which accounts for dramatic and spectacular light changes.
When I am satisfied with photos I start to climb Cerro Madsen. I do not understand why such an easy and close summit is not considered a must by the trekkers coming here. I ascent the (moderately) hard way, following the upper stretch of the ridge rising from the Laguna de los Tres. This way I am rewarded by deep views on the turquoise waters. Long photographic stay on the Cerro Madsen, especially on the uncomfortable big summit stone, whose ascent is mandatory if one wants to shoot a 360° panorama. Later, much later, I go on to the last big rock dominating the col in direction Fitzroy. I call this the Cerro Madsen Avanzado.
Next, I descend the mountain traversing obliquely the summit snowfield rather than unclimbing the ridge. Descent to Río Blanco and Poincenot.
The second day I go to the Laguna Sucia, with the intention to attempt a traverse to a little lake that I spotted from Cerro Madsen, little below the Lomo de las Pizarras. I will call this lake Laguna Desconocida, or Olvidada, being not able to locate a name for it anywhere. Consider also that is does not exist either on Google Maps on on any printed map. In the satellite image, however, you see it covered by snow.
After having forded the river at its very exit from the lake, I follow the south shore of Laguna Sucia for approximately 3/4 of its length. I find some cairns on the way. At a certain point I begin to ascend the slope following the steepest gradient. There is scree, but it is not loose since there is also a lot of vegetation and also solid rock. I climb a little step on the side of a likewise little waterfall. Now I cannot continue straight in direction Mojon Rojo, since in short I would enter the glacier. Instead, I turn a bit left, entering a little lonesome valley at the foot of the Techado Negro. Before reaching the watershed where I would be right over the Mirador Maestri, I turn right ascending what I call "Little Red Summit", nothing more than a prominent big block on a ridge which would lead to a steep red rock pyramid, whose ascent seems very dangerous in view of the quality of the rock.
But Little Red for me is enough, since a couloir appears, leading down straight to Laguna Olvidada. The first 50 m to unclimb are both steep and delicate. Maximum caution is needed. Even more caution is needed in the following snow couloir, since I do not have any snow gear. Luckily I can exit very early to the rocks on the East side, and on that terrain it is easy to reach the laguna. I unfold the sleeping bag few metres above its NE corner, since the night seems to be wind-free.
The following morning I witness a spectacular "enrosadira" (to use Dolomitic terms) on the Fitzroy, a memorable experience. I climb some rocks in the vicinity, such to reach a sufficient height to have also the Cerro Torre in sight, but with the intention to return down, in order to take further photos of the perfect reflections in the laguna.
When I have packed enough photos, I climb the short scree slope to the Loma del las Pizarras. The unknowns are now over, since the trekking summit is already in sight, and from there a safe ridge should lead me to El Chaltén.
After a short little scree summit, I reach what I call the angular summit, both theoretically and practically one of the best viewpoints of the region. From there I k=make the mistake to follow integrally the rocky ridge, but some gendarmes would require rappels, so I have to go back a little bit and lean on the W side. From the touristic summit I follow the long, panoramic and extremely pleasant ridge. At a certain point, to avoid a foresummit which looks out unpleasant I lean on the SW slopes. Now I see on the map that that foresummit is marked Mirador...
There is still some way to reach the wood and, immediately after, the well trodden path connecting Valle Torre to the lagunas Madre and Hija. From there on, I simply follow the path all the way to El Chaltén.

View more external


Mirador Vueltas

Classical viewpoint on Río de las Vueltas, not far from the village.

Mirador Fitz Roy

A simple detour from Laguna Capri

Laguna Capri

Madre, Hija and Capri are the three lagunas on the way to Poincenot

Mirador Laguna Sucia

Classical viewpoint

Cerro Madsen, 1795

The most central viewpoint on the Fitzroy

Cerro Madsen Avanzado

This is the way I named the last prominent rock in front of the Fitzroy. it is difficult to judge if panoramically it is better than the main summit. If is surely worth a visit, however. Only beware the unsafe scree in the connecting couloir.

Mirador de los Tres


Campamento Rio Blanco

It is recommended that only climbers stay here.

Campamento Poincenot

Very full of people. Also known for being infested by rats; hanging the food, however, I did not experience any problem.

Rocky spot

A tricky narrow spot on the way to Laguna Sucia. Minimal climbing skills required.

Laguna Sucia

One of the world's most spectacular lakes, I think. No longer "sucia", that is dirty, since the glacier does not reach the water any more.

Little waterfall

A characteristic place of the ascent.

Little Red Summit

Highest point of the track! Here for the first time you see down Laguna Olvidada.


Descent to Laguna Olvidada

Laguna Olvidada

This is the name invented by me for this little lake that is not to be found on maps.

Morning viewpoint

Climb a bit the rocks on the side, and you will see also the Cerro Torre!

Bivac place

Be careful that there is no cave or shelter here. A windless and starry night is needed!

Loma, first summit

Just a few metres of scree above the col which is first reached when coming from the laguna below.

Loma, angular summit

A first-class viewpoint over the whole region.

Loma, touristic summit

What I suppose to be the touristic summit. I met two people here.

Ridge detour

I do not know while I curved rightwards at the point. Probably this way I missed the classical viewpoint for those who does not want to reach the summit.

Junction with path to Madre and Hija

Little below the limit of the wood, which in this stretch is very beautiful.

Junction with path to Laguna Torre

Extremely clear and signposted.

Mirador Torre

The first viewpoint coming from El Chaltén.
Mountain hut

El Chaltén

Back to the village.


  • Photo of arnauorengo

    arnauorengo Oct 15, 2018

    Increíble ruta! Espero hacerla este enero, o almenos subir al Cerro Madsen.
    Llevabas la mochila con todas tus cosas o dejaste algo en El Chaltén? Cuanto te pesaba aproximadamente?

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Oct 16, 2018

    Non mucho!
    Otras cosas estaban en Chaltén, con la bicicleta.

  • gusesain Jan 12, 2019

    Lindo recorrido!! Se necesita equipo de escalda o es todo trekking??

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Jan 12, 2019

    No, no hay escalada!

  • Photo of PeterGabriel

    PeterGabriel Feb 3, 2019

    Hey Alberto, thanks for making this track available, excellent review, thank you so much for the details.I have some questions if you don't mind answering.

    1. Is it possible to do this trekking entirely walking? Im gonna need to use rock climbing technics? do I need ropes or other climbing equipments?

    2. Do you recomend any snow equipment? crampons maybe?

    3. Is it "safe" to let my gear in Poincenot to climb Cerro Madsen? what do you recommend?

    4. Are there other camping spots where I could pitch my tent more hidden? I don't like common camping areas, I prefer to set my tent where there are nobody around.

    5. The place where you bivac, is it possible to set a 2 person tent? My tent is a freestanding model.

    Please e-mail me if you have any other info or tip you wanted to share. petercornetet@gmail.com

  • Tal235 Feb 9, 2019

    Is this trail suitable for beginners?
    Is it a marked trail or something that you walk by your own?


  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Feb 27, 2019

    No, of course the trail is not marked.
    Also not for beginners, I would say.

    Peter Gabriel:
    1) There is only one stretch of rock down what I named "Little red summit". You end in a snowy couloir, perhaps the most tricky spot of the tour. Please look at the photos to judge if you consider the rock suited to you;
    2) indeed, crampons would be necessary in the case of hard snow. I did not have crampons, whence I would have been stopped by hard snow and/or ice. Of course on this kind of terrain you cannot compare one year with the other;
    3) I think that leaving something at Poincenot is considered normal; of course do not leave too precious gear!
    4) camping outside the marked areas is officially forbidden. In case, you need to hide carefully, unless you are not far on the mountain;
    5) If you mean the bivac on the shore of the lake, consider that the space does not lack, although the terrain is everywhere stony: forget a flat, grassy area!

  • Photo of Sandra Elize

    Sandra Elize Mar 25, 2020

    Ótimo relato, bastante desafiador, parece bem exigente mesmo sem trechos de escalda.

    Eu e mais 2 amigos fizemos por outro caminho, por uma bifurcação no bosque que leva à Laguna Hija. Subindo pela crista, um caminho de pedras soltas com bastante totens de orientação. Chega-se a um topo com lascas de pedras pretas, trecho bem instável e como já eram 15 horas, tivemos que voltar pois o cume ainda estava muito longe, ficaria tarde para voltar. estávamos sem GPS.

    Ficará para uma próxima, que seja logo!

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Mar 25, 2020

    OK, per la prossima volta!

  • Photo of mar_celoferreira

    mar_celoferreira Jun 6, 2020

    oi alberto. parabéns pelo track. Um dos melhores. Estou planejando ir pra lá e gostaria de fazer um "ataque" até a laguna sucia, depois voltando para o camping poicenot. Gostaria de saber se o caminho do camping até a laguna é muito difícil? Da para fazer sem equipamento de escalada?

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Jun 6, 2020

    No dificil! OK sem equipamento.

  • dimagician Jan 12, 2021

    Thank you for the info, can you please tell me if you need climbing gear to reach loma de las Pizarras?

  • Photo of gustavo.alejandro

    gustavo.alejandro Jan 12, 2021

    me encantaron tus fotos! tengo pensado hacer loma de las pizarras, es posible llegar a lo mas alto desde el valle del cerro torre (o sea, comenzando la subida desde el sur) muchas gracias!!!

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Jan 15, 2021

    No problems and no gear at all to climb the mountain from the Torre valley!

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