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Cerro Chalten

Cerro Chalten, also known as Cerro Fitz Roy or Monte Fitz Roy, is a mountain ('cerro') located near the El Chalten village, in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile. It has been agreed by the two countries that the international border detours eastwards to pass over the main summit, but a large part of the border to the south of the summit, as far as Cerro Murallon remains undefined .

The name Chalten comes from a Tehuelche (Aonikenk) word meaning "smoking mountain," due to a cloud that usually forms in the top of the mountain, and it was considered sacred by them. The alternate name 'Fitz Roy' comes from Robert FitzRoy who explored some of the area in 1834. The mountain is the symbol of the Argentinian Santa Cruz Province, which includes its representation on its coat of arms.

Perito Francisco Moreno named it Fitzroy in 1877, after the Beagle's captain Robert FitzRoy. It was first climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone.

The mountain has a reputation of being "ultimate," despite its average height (although being the highest peak in the Los Glaciares park, it is less than half the Himalayan giants), because the sheer granite faces present long stretches of arduous technical climbing. In addition, the weather in the area is exceptionally inclement and treacherous. It also attracts many photographers thanks to its otherworldly shape.

The area, while still fairly inaccessible, was even more isolated until the recent development of El Chalten village and El Calafate International Airport. The mountain climb, however, remains extremely difficult and is the preserve of very experienced climbers. Today, when a hundred people may summit Mount Everest in a single day, Cerro Chalten may only be successfully ascended once a year.


  • Kearney, Alan, 1993. Mountaineering in Patagonia. Seattle USA: Cloudcap.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cerro_Chalten

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