It was our lust for adventure that convinced us we were capable of tackling Loma del Pliegue Tumbado. Even though the guide book warned the trail was an eight hour hike return and the summit peaked more than 1400 meters above sea level, we were women obsessed. It was our first day in El Chalten, a small trekking village three hours from El Calafate, and we were going to hike the longest trail in the valley.

The beginning of our 24 km hike. The weather was clear. We were pumped.

From the beginning of the trek, the view was stunning

Just another boring single rainbow

Just after 10 o’clock in the morning, we set out on what promised to be an adventurous hike up to a peak that is boasted in the village as a “marvelous panoramic view when clear sky.” We huffed and puffed ourselves up a zigzagging path, stopping only briefly for a peach break. We reached what the visitor’s center called the half way mark ahead of schedule. Beaming with trekking pride, we soldiered on even though the sky was beginning to turn a miserable grayish color and the once bright sun was now tucked behind some very worrisome looking clouds.

Leah being the adventurous woman that she is

The last spectacular view we were able to see before the weather set in

Up higher we went, adventure women with an unquenchable thirst for more trekking. Finally after a solid two and a half hours of forested trails, we broke the tree line and came face to face with less than ideal visibility. When we had started out on the trail, about 10 km back, the sky was bright and blue and lovely. Now, more than three quarters of the way to the top of one of the most “marvelous panoramic views of the valley,” we were in a soupy mess of clouds and pelting rain.
And inevitably we were forced to ask ourselves, should we retreat with our tails between our legs, back to our warm tent and the promise of a hot chocolate? Absolutely not.

We marched the remaining two km in silence and when we did finally summit Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, we spent a few minutes trying to make out what we were looking at, snap a photo and quickly head back to the sheltered trail just beyond the tree line.

Gillian having a victorious fist pump at 1400 m

In total, we trekked 24 km, five and a half hours and 1000 meters into the sky. Not a bad start to our week of trekking.