The biggest lake around El Chalten is Lago Viedma, which is fed by the huge Viedma Glacier from the Patagonian ice field. El Chalten lies a few kilometres from the north western edge of the lake.
On the journey in to El Chalten there are good views of the lake, but we missed these as we arrived at night. Hence, our first view of the lake was during the hike to Laguna de los Tres. It looked spectacular in the distance, and we have even better views of it a few days later when leaving El Chalten.
Amidst all the development in El Chalten, there is one simple building that offers a poignant reminder of the history of climbing in this area. Capella Egger was built in memory of Toni Egger, who died during an attempted climb of Cerro Torre.
Egger and his climbing partner Cesare Maestri were attempting to become the first to summit the "impossible" Cerro Torre in 1959, when Egger was suddenly swept to his death after an avalanche. Accoding to Maestri, Egger had taken pictures of Maestri on the summit but his camera fell with him and Maestri had no other evidence to support his claim. Many climbers doubted Maestri's version of events, and the controversy has endured to this day.
Egger's body was found in 1975 on one of the glaciers...but there was no sign of his camera. Friends of Egger from Austria built this church, using materials carried over from his home country. In the porch there is a memorial board with a list of those who have died whilst climbing Torre or Fitz Roy. The chapel is at the eastern end of Rio de las Vueltas street, close to the river.
There are a lot off-the-beaten-tracks in and around El Chaltén. So make sure, you get at least some ideas what is possible except Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
For example, there is a nice long walk along the Rio de las Vueltas. You can even walk to Laguna del Desierto, however, this takes some hours.
But also smaller walks are possible, e.g. Chorillo del Salto, a little waterfall just 5 km north of El Chaltén.
The picture has been taken on the way up to Fitz Roy campgrounds, overlooking Rio de las Vueltas