Huemul Circuit, or Vuelta Huemul, is one of the most challenging treks I have ever done. This wonderful trek, in fact, is marked by some technical passages and weather that could be inclement. Huemul Circuit is a four-day trek, beginning and ending in El Chalten, Argentina.
In its four-day trek, Huemul Circuit offers two passages with a zipline, called tirolesa in Spanish. I must admit that the first crossing was quite frightening to me, as the Rio Tunel flows rushing under the zipline.
The views of the Huemul Circuit are, however, wonderful! Wild trekking, moreover, is an unforgettable experience!
The first day at Huemul Circuit is undoubtedly the easiest. I left, with three other French guys, the town of El Chalten in the direction of El Calafate, and quickly reached the Parque Los Glaciares Visitor Center. From here I officially began the trek. I followed the directions to Laguna Toro and Loma del Pliegue Tumbado (one of the most beautiful treks in El Chalten). The start is immediately uphill, but the slopes are never hard: behind us El Chalten gets smaller and farther away.
After the Laguna Toro – Loma del Pliegue Tumbado junction I entered a forested part. At the end of this I arrived at an altitude of 1,070 meters, ending the day’s climb. The reward is a wonderful view of Lake Viedma! A descent led me to the Rio Tunel valley: wonderful! The walk is never difficult and,
after 17 km and about 800 meters of elevation gain, I arrived at Campamento Toro.
After setting up the tent, I made friends and drank a mate with a couple from Argentina, Agustin and Agustina.
The awakening at Camp Toro was traumatic! In fact, the night was definitely eventful because of the strong wind, and upon opening the tent in the morning, I saw snow falling copiously! I admit that at that time the doubts about whether to continue or not. I, the three Frenchmen and the Argentine couple joined in a group and started the walk.
After two kilometers, walked under a blizzard, we arrived at the first topical moment of the Vuelta Huemul: the crossing of the tirolesa! Fortunately, there were two young men in the group who perfectly explained the use of tirolesa. Although this one was easy to use, I admit that I was especially frightened at the moment of arrival: subconsciously I was afraid of slipping down the steep rock to the river once the carabiner was detached! Here is Agustina’s video on tyrolesa!
Once we passed the zipline, we walked for about two kilometers through moraine terrain: climbs, descents, and stony ground did not make it easy! Having finished this hostile part, I began to admire the beauty of the Huemul Circuit. To my right, in fact, the lower and upper Tunel Lagoon and the immense Tunel Glacier stood out.
From the lower Laguna Tunel begins a climb of about 600 meters to Paso del Viento. The slopes are very arduous and you will reach an altitude of 1450 meters! At the top, as the name of the pass says, I was greeted by a strong wind! The descent, on the other hand, was easy and Campamento Paso del Viento was reached after 14 km and 1,100 meters of elevation gain!
After the very hard previous day, the third day’s walk begins in a pleasant and peaceful way. The first part of the third day is truly fantastic: the Viedma Glacier is truly spectacular!
One of the most beautiful viewpoints of the entire trek is at the height of the eighth kilometer. The Viedma Glacier, in fact, forms a bay here, full of icebergs (VIDEO)!
From here, a climb begins, again very steep in places, leading to Paso Huemul. Once the 400 meters of elevation gain had been overcome and 1,050 meters had been reached, the climb was completed! From the pass the views are simply marvelous: on one side is the Viedma Glacier, on the other is the lake of the same name!
Upon reaching the pass, however, the most difficult part of the day began. In fact, the descent to Campamento Los Tempanos (iceberg, in Spanish), is very steep and very technical. In three sections there is a rope that tries to simplify the difficult pieces. Making this descent with legs now tired from previous days was a feat!
Once I reached Campamento Los Tempanos, I literally fell in love with the place. I met again with Agustin and Agustina and I had a quick swim in the icy lagoon, full of icebergs (VIDEO)!
In front of that incredible spectacle I made friends with many trekkers: we were all enraptured by the beauty of the place!
The cold numbers say the stage was long 16 km with an elevation gain of 600 meters, but fatigue cannot be described by statistics!
From Campamento Los Tempanos the last day began with an easy five-kilometer hike, with Lake Viedma always on the right. An easy 300-meter ascent and subsequent descent lead, at kilometer 13, to the crossing of the Rio Tunel with the tirolesa.
This time the zipline crossing did not put me in great difficulty, thankfully! A final 200-meter climb brought me to a viewpoint over Fitz Roy. El Chalten, by now, was not far away, and was reached after 26 km and 700 meters of elevation gain!