March 6, 2010

Cerro Fitz Roy

March 4. We were so enthused by the sunset last night, that we all resolved to see the sun rise on Fitz Roy, the gorgeous and dramatic peak looming over our camp. The morning dawned clear, with only a little high cloud to the south and east (perfect for the sun rise) and we shoot a couple of hundred photos.

After another good breakfast, we headed out on an easy, undulating trail, through a trough running parallel to the range to the edge of the slope. Our route from there took us up and over a ridge in front of the lake and glacier at the base of Fitz Roy. I was warm going, steep and dry, over very good trail, to an amazing view of Fitz Roy and its companions. Srunning.

\We had lunch at the lake at the base of the glacier, staring at the peak a good part of the time, and then we walked up a hump to the south, from which we could see another glacier, carving the southern neighbors of Fitz Roy and pouring into a deep cirque, with a big river running out.

If nothing else comes of this trip, it has been worth it.

We extended the trip to the north, once we returned to the level trough, in which our Laguna Capri sits, to a couple of viewpoints that show off the Piedras Blanca glacier that carves the northern slopes of the Fitz Roy massif. It's a big, broken glacier, spilling hundreds of feet down a cliff into a lake. The lake itself is enclosed by moraines hundreds of feet high. Originally, the glacier filled the valley and formed a huge terminal moraine. As the glacier receded, a lake filled the space behind the moraine. At some point, the gravelly dam failed and unleashed the lake and washed out a channel through the moraine.

One highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of the llamas with our dinner and a dozen or more beers. Another was a nice, cooling dip of the feet into the laguna. And the last was the changing of the weather. That high overcast that made the sunset work gradually increased through the day, so that the peaks have some clouds over them – Fitz Roty's summit was obscured a few minutes ago. No one seems too worried, and it's still quite warm, but we might miss out on views of Cerro Torre tomorrow. We'll see.

The group solidified today, our first real test. Everyone did well, no real laggarts, no real problems.

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