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Distance

22.61 mi

Elevation gain

8,333 ft

Technical difficulty

Moderate

Elevation loss

8,110 ft

Max elevation

5,951 ft

Trailrank

83 5

Min elevation

1,477 ft

Trail type

One Way

Time

2 days 3 hours 29 minutes

Coordinates

4827

Uploaded

November 27, 2016

Recorded

February 2014
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5,951 ft
1,477 ft
22.61 mi

Viewed 8647 times, downloaded 277 times

near El Chaltén, Santa Cruz (Argentina)

The present track covers some of the excursions that can be done in the valley of the Río Electrico, flowing from the Glaciar Marconi into the Rio de las Vueltas.
The base for excursions in this valley is the old Piedra del Fraile, so called because of a huge rock occupying the middle of the valley near the place where the Italian priest and explorer Alberto de Agostini build his shelter. Now the name has changed to Refugio los Troncos. You are expected to visit the Refugio since the whole area is private property of Estancia Ricanor. and you pay the fee for your stay at the Refugio. If you eat and/or camp at the Refugio the fee is automatically included in the price.
The walk to Glaciar Marconi is interesting, neither demanding nor tiresome, except maybe for some rocky stretches that force an uneasy walk. As usual in Patagonia, the serious difficulty may come from the fording of the side rivers, here the one flowing down from Laguna Pollone. I met a guide with his clients coming from the loop on the Hielo Sur, and he readily asked me about the condition of the river, which that day was fine.
Going past the point reached by me on the glacier without a rope and ice gear is not possible or, at least, not recommended. The glacier itself is also known for its huge crevasses.
The side tour to Laguna Pollone is short and very valuable. The site looks truly remote and is very panoramic. Pollone is the name of the village in Piemonte (the Italian region around Torino) where De Agostini was born.
The climb to Paso del Cuadrado lies totally at another level, both for the altitude gain and for the panorama. I had the luck to do it in a memorable perfect day, and from the pass I even climbed, as far as possible, the jagged north ridge, descending then, as far as possible, the scree slopes which occupy a terrace high over Valle Pollone.
The more demanding Cerro Eléctrico, which shares much of its access route with the Paso del Cuadrado, is covered in a separate track, namely N. 15628173

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Bridge

Puente Río Eléctrico

  • Photo of Puente Río Eléctrico
  • Photo of Puente Río Eléctrico
Waypoint

Bicycle parking

  • Photo of Bicycle parking
Intersection

Fork to Piedras Blancas

  • Photo of Fork to Piedras Blancas
Waypoint

Bosque

  • Photo of Bosque
  • Photo of Bosque
A nice spot on the access path.
Panorama

River view

  • Photo of River view
  • Photo of River view
  • Photo of River view
Waypoint

Piedra del Fraile

  • Photo of Piedra del Fraile
  • Photo of Piedra del Fraile
  • Photo of Piedra del Fraile
The hill giving name to the location: "stone of the priest", referring to Alberto De Agostini, who was the first to explore the valley.
Waypoint

Shore of Lago Eléctrico

  • Photo of Shore of Lago Eléctrico
  • Photo of Shore of Lago Eléctrico
Not a comfortable stretch to walk, because of potentially slippery rock.
Panorama

Mirador Lago Eléctrico

  • Photo of Mirador Lago Eléctrico
  • Photo of Mirador Lago Eléctrico
Not an official mirador, but the sight on the lake is nice. The fork to Laguna Pollone follows immediately.
Lake

Laguna Pollone

  • Photo of Laguna Pollone
  • Photo of Laguna Pollone
  • Photo of Laguna Pollone
  • Photo of Laguna Pollone
There is also a little flat spot for camping here.
Campsite

La Playita

  • Photo of La Playita
Endowed with many stone shelters.
River

Glaciar Marconi 1

  • Photo of Glaciar Marconi 1
  • Photo of Glaciar Marconi 1
  • Photo of Glaciar Marconi 1
Marked is the point where Río Eléctrico originates from the glacier. A very hostile spot.
Waypoint

Glaciar Marconi 2

  • Photo of Glaciar Marconi 2
  • Photo of Glaciar Marconi 2
Marked is the highest point that is reached on the glacier - always remaining in its dirty section. Very unpleasant spot.
Lake

Laguna Marconi

  • Photo of Laguna Marconi
  • Photo of Laguna Marconi
  • Photo of Laguna Marconi
I found this lake in rather low conditions.
Waypoint

Start of ascent

Wilderness hut

Huge stone

  • Photo of Huge stone
  • Photo of Huge stone
  • Photo of Huge stone
  • Photo of Huge stone
  • Photo of Huge stone
  • Photo of Huge stone
Can be also used as an emergency shelter, although the comfort is seemingly very limited.
River

Water

  • Photo of Water
  • Photo of Water
  • Photo of Water
  • Photo of Water
Panorama

Scenic stone

  • Photo of Scenic stone
  • Photo of Scenic stone
  • Photo of Scenic stone
  • Photo of Scenic stone
  • Photo of Scenic stone
Lake

Lake

  • Photo of Lake
  • Photo of Lake
This is the bigger lake below the pass, with the glacier flowing into it.
Lake

Little lake

  • Photo of Little lake
  • Photo of Little lake
  • Photo of Little lake
  • Photo of Little lake
Hidden little above the bigger lake.
Waypoint

Glacier below pass

  • Photo of Glacier below pass
  • Photo of Glacier below pass
Mountain pass

Paso del Cuadrado

  • Photo of Paso del Cuadrado
  • Photo of Paso del Cuadrado
  • Photo of Paso del Cuadrado
  • Photo of Paso del Cuadrado
It is a magic moment when the view opens on the Glaciar Fitzroy Norte, framed by the Torre and Pollone groups.
Waypoint

Connecting ridge

Waypoint

Little saddle

Panorama

Fantagonia

  • Photo of Fantagonia
  • Photo of Fantagonia
This is the point where I shot the "Fantagonia" 360° panorama which is given as first photo.
Waypoint

Pollone cairn

  • Photo of Pollone cairn
  • Photo of Pollone cairn
  • Photo of Pollone cairn
  • Photo of Pollone cairn
  • Photo of Pollone cairn
  • Photo of Pollone cairn
This is the name that I gave to this cairn after building it, since it lies in front of the Pollone group and glacier, and at the same time it dominates Laguna Pollone.
Panorama

View on Laguna Pollone

  • Photo of View on Laguna Pollone
  • Photo of View on Laguna Pollone
Waypoint

Stony slopes

  • Photo of Stony slopes
  • Photo of Stony slopes
Coming back from the Pollone cairn I remained on the west flank.
Campsite

Camping spot

  • Photo of Camping spot
  • Photo of Camping spot
Presumably Piedra Negra, although I am not sure if this is the orthodox spot, due to the presence of many shelters.
Mountain hut

Refugio Los Troncos

  • Photo of Refugio Los Troncos
  • Photo of Refugio Los Troncos
  • Photo of Refugio Los Troncos
  • Photo of Refugio Los Troncos
  • Photo of Refugio Los Troncos
It is a pity that the staff of Estancia Ricanor, owners of the valley (yes, I know, this is unbelievable to civilized ears, but this is Argentina...) died not maintain the original name Piedra del Fraile.

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