Photographer's Note

First, let?s set things, straight, when I was a teenage and until I was in my twenties, I used to go trekking quite often in the Alps and the Pyrenees. But it was about fifteens year since I climb a mountain for the last time. Also, my physical condition was not at its best not having done any sport activities for few years (I have an exemption note from my doctor ;-D). All this plus the packet and the half of the cigarettes I smoke everyday (I?m an ex-smoker since April) one might asked what the hell I was doing up there in the Andeans Mountains.

In fact, the first parts of the trekking were not very difficult; there were few steep climbs but soon compensated by flat portion in the valleys of ancient glaciers where I could get my breath back. I didn?t have much problem to get to Lago Torre and then the base camps Poincenot and Rio Blanco (this last one is reserved for climbers and separated from the first camps by the Blanco?s river). I walk all those trails without pushing myself too much but under the recommended time by the Club Andino. I?ve thought that they over evaluated the difficulties.

As I was walking through, the first base camp, a man sitting on a fallen tree near a tent addressed me. He has hirsute hair and beard and was talking with an Australian accent:
- ?Hey mate! What?s the time??
- ?It is around one pm? I replied.
He looked at me a bit embarrassed and says:
- ?Sorry mate. I wanted to know what day we are??
- ?Friday? Friday the 31st? I replied a bit surprised.
His face was filled with interrogation mimics and he got even more embarrassed to ask me:
- ?Huh yeah? Friday the 31st? ahem? yes but from which month??
It was my turn to be filled with interrogations and concerns now:
- ?Ahem? January? 31st of January. Tomorrow is the 1st of February.? I reply.
He gets all dreamy and says to me: ?Thanks mate!?. He turns away from me to his tent, open it and says to who?s inside ?Hey guys, tomorrow it?s February, how long have we been here??. I didn?t hear the reply.

From the base camps, start the trail to the Lago de Los Tres that is at the foot of the Fitz Roy. The signs from the Club Andino and my maps indicate that climbing to the lake will take about an hour and five minutes. I?ve told myself that, for some reason I didn?t know, the Club Andino had probably exagerated the difficulties and I started walking up without taking a break, just stopping to refill my small bottle of water in the Rio Blanco.

What a mistake! The trail is going straight on the very steeply slope of the enormous moraine of an ancient glacier of the Fitz Roy. It is a 450 meters (1 500 feet) slope in a stair like shape where all the steps were loose (a moraine, even formed thousand years ago, is made of rocks that gets smaller and looser as one goes up). It took me three hours to go up there, encouraged by other trekkers that were going down or up and were promising me the best sight ever when I?ll get up there. And god, they were right. As I got up there, I couldn?t help myself letting out a big WAAAAOOOOW even though I was totally out of breath. But in front of this amazing sight, I had forgotten all the pain I went through to climb up there.

I took this picture from the top of the moraine. The problems were that the sun was already in its North West first quarter that put the Fitz Roy a bit against the light and it?s top was covered with clouds all the time. I understood why Indians and the first Explorers in the region thought it was volcano.

All those efforts to get there were absolutely worth it and I don?t regret anything not even the descent that was even worse than the climbing. Total nightmare, my legs couldn?t carry me anymore, I had to stop every 10 meters (11 yards) few hundreds meters from the village?s entrance. As got into the village, I just went to the first open restaurant, it was the Rancho Grande Hostel, a youth hostel that has a huge hang out/bar/restaurant room were backpackers and exhausted trekkers meets. I sit at a table and had two large beers to wash down a large dish of Cannelloni in the company of two fellows travellers; an Irish and a German. I slept very well that night and the following nights as well.

Another thing, before going for a tek in altitude, even for an easy one, one needs to get a minimum of preparations.

For post processing, I?ve reduced the noise with NeatImage. I?ve adjusted tones and the contrast with levels. I?ve removed blue cast with the curves and slightly saturated RGBs.

Tomernayer, hispic, pburraco, MyriamVillert, mightyweed has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Romain Donadio (green) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 235 W: 222 N: 121] (1014)
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