“The mountains are calling and I must go!” — John Muir
I am drawn to the mountains but live the oxygen-rich life of a flatlander in the State of Minnesota. Mountains have been a part of my heart and soul since my first visit to Whitefish, Montana, as a young girl. Over a year ago I signed up for my third Muench Workshop. The destination - Patagonia! Patagonia is a sparsely populated region at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. It has some of the most breath-taking hiking trails in the world and has been on my list for a long time. My journey to the other side of the equator involved 5 airports (Minneapolis to Houston to Buenos Aires (EZE) to Buenos Aires (AEP) to El Calafate), 3 planes, 2 taxis and 25 hours. El Calafate is 1,700 miles south of Buenos Aires and is considered the jumping off point to the region.
I came to Patagonia for the mountains but now appreciate it for so much more. This post is the first in a series and is dedicated to those majestic peaks.
Mount Fitz Roy (or Cerro Chaltén its original name which means - smoking mountain) has an elevation of 11,171 feet. It’s located near El Chaltén village in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina.
Mount Fitz Roy at sunset. The winds were intense at this time and for sunrise the next day (see previous image). The gusts would knock you off your feet if you weren’t properly braced.
Cerro Torre sits just to the west of Mount Fitz Roy. Jon Krakauer, referres to Cerro Torre in his book Into Thin Air: "Near the southern tip of South America, where the wind sweeps the land like “the broom of God” —”la escoba de Dios,” as the locals say—I'd scaled a frightening, mile-high spike of vertical and overhanging granite called Cerro Torre; buffeted by hundred-knot winds, plastered with frangible atmospheric rime, it was once (though no longer) thought to be the world's hardest mountain".
After several days shooting in and around El Chaltén, we headed south and a little west to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The bar had been set high in El Chaltén but the Chilean side did not disappoint.
These two images (black & white and color versions) are the Cordillera Paine mountain range in Torres del Paine National Park. The highest summit is Cerro Paine Grande to the left. The bridge in the foreground is what remains of the old Weber Bridge. I’m not sure if I like the B&W or color version better. I do like the presence of the moon and the warm glow of the setting sun in the color image. If you feel strongly one way or the other, please let me know in the comment section. I would love to hear from you!
“What a glorious greeting the sun gives the mountains.” — John Muir
And what a magnificent sunrise it was! We arrived in the dark, donned our headlamps, made the short steep hike to the top of the hill and waited for sunrise. Mother Nature put on a spectacular show. It was definitely worth the early wakeup call! My emotions were pure joy and gratitude for being here, with my camera, at this time in this special place.