Why Mount Fitz Roy Should Be on Every Climber’s Bucket List

Mount Fitz Roy, also known by its original name, Cerro Chaltén, which translates to “smoking mountain” in the Tehuelche language, rises to 3,405 meters (11,171 feet).

Its formidable granite faces and sharp spires mirror the difficulty of its ascent and the awe it inspires in equal measure. The mountain’s severe weather, which can shift from tranquil to treacherous within moments, adds an extra layer of thrill to the climb.

Yet, despite—or perhaps because of—its challenges, Fitz Roy has captured the imaginations of adventurous souls since its first recorded ascent in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone.

What to Expect

What to Expect At Mount Fitz Roy

The journey to the base of Fitz Roy is an adventure in itself. Most climbers start from the small town of El Chaltén, Argentina, founded in 1985 partly to help establish territorial claims over the mountain. From here, several trails lead into the wilderness, culminating in base camps like Rio Blanco or Poincenot.

Aspect Recommendations and Tips
Physical Preparation Engage in cardiovascular and strength training focusing on legs, back, and core. Practice hiking with a weighted backpack.
Acclimatization Spend a few days in El Chaltén or similar altitudes before your climb to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
Gear and Equipment Use high-quality gear suitable for extreme conditions, including robust tents, sub-zero rated sleeping bags, and reliable GPS.
Weather Awareness Regularly check local weather forecasts; be ready to adjust plans based on sudden changes.
Route Selection Select routes that match your climbing experience and prepare for specific conditions. Research routes thoroughly.
Local Guides Hiring a local guide can enhance safety and provide valuable insights.
Environmental Respect Adhere to Leave No Trace principles to minimize environmental impact. Pack out all trash and avoid disturbing wildlife.
Mental Preparation Develop mental stamina and the ability to make sound decisions under pressure.
Travel Insurance Obtain travel and rescue insurance that covers high-altitude climbing and emergency evacuation.
Community Connect with other climbers through forums or groups for support and shared experiences.

Dual Danger Routes

Mount Fitz Roy, with its iconic status and challenging routes, offers a variety of climbing experiences, each with its own set of demands and scenic payoffs.

Among the routes, the Franco-Argentina route and the Supercanaleta are particularly popular and noted for their difficulty.


Franco-Argentina Route Mount Fitz Roy

This route is celebrated for its challenging climb, combining steep snow and ice pitches with rock climbing sections. This route is typically accessed via Paso Superior, a common advanced base camp, from which climbers navigate through a mix of terrain including rock, ice, and snow.

The climb includes sections of up to 60 degrees in steepness, requiring climbers to be well-prepared with the appropriate gear for ice and rock protection. Climbers often choose this route for its historical significance and the technical challenge it offers.


Supercanaleta Route Mount Fitz Roy

This route is another formidable path up Mount Fitz Roy, known for its extreme conditions and high technical demands. It starts with a steep approach through mixed terrain including rock, ice, and snow.

This route is graded 5.9 with a WI4 and M5-6 difficulty, reflecting its mixed and ice climbing challenges. Climbers opting for this route must navigate a 5000-foot ascent, involving long stretches of ice and mixed climbing, making it one of the most challenging routes on the mountain.