A lovely trek through a lenga forest, passing by Piedra del Fraile – the basecamp for the Italian missionary de Agostini who explored and photographed Patagonia – and then the trail comes out into the raw wilderness descending directly from the Continental Ice Field.
Be winded by the wind itself and then be awestruck by the location of Pollone glacier – the sheer rock faces and Mt FitzRoy in the background are fantastic!
The day begins with a 40-minute transfer from El Chaltén to the Electrico River Bridge.
From there we start hiking through an enchanting lenga forest, sometimes alongside the Electrico river where there may be a torrent duck to spot swimming and diving for food.
After a couple of hours we arrive at Piedra del Fraile Refuge; an important place in history as Padre de Agostini used this spot, protected from the relentless winds from the ice field, while he worked on exploring the area, mapping it, naming some mountains and photographing the area.
He is known as one of the first photographers of Patagonia in the 1930s and 1940s.
After a short break we continue walking through the Electrico Valley towards the Pollone Lagoon and Glacier.
We walk against the prevailing winds and there is no respite unless you hide behind a fallen granite block.
We leave vegetation behind. We now appreciate raw nature at its best; pure rock, water and ice.
After another 90 minutes of walking, we arrive at the Pollone lagoon and glacier.
Another hidden gem of Patagonia.
From here we can admire a different angle of Mt Fitz Roy; its Northern Face and the vertical metamorphic rock faces of beautiful shades of orange, ochre and red – you feel like you are in an enormous amphitheater. At the lagoon, wind dependent, we’ll enjoy a well deserved lunch before starting our return.
The return trek is along the same trail, with the wind behind us, so there is extra help now! At the Electrico River Bridge there will be the transfer to take us back to town.