On my first full day in El Chalten, I took a look out of my hotel room window at 5:30 in the morning and saw stars. My heart leapt and I gathered my gear for a pre-dawn hike up to an overlook to catch my first glimpse of Fitz Roy.
The hike was no easy task. The route to the overlook I was thinking of was only two miles, but the first mile-and-a-half shot up nearly 1,200 feet. Doing this in the pitch black darkness only lit by my headlamp and the bouncing head lamps of the other hikers made for an amazing feeling of intimacy with the landscape. Only being aware of the landscape to the fringes of the beam of my headlamp made me excited for the hike back down when I would see it in the daylight. A few breaks in the forest allow me some broken views of the surrounding mountains as the sky began to glow before dawn.
As I grew close to the overlook around 8:00 I caught my first glimpse of Fitz Roy. It stopped my in my tracks. After my brief moment of joy that the mountain wasn’t shrouded in clouds and that I had a shot at catching alpenglow lighting up the face of the dramatic peak, I immediately got to work searching for a composition. It was more difficult than I thought, but I was able to find the image above and catch it just as the light began to strike the clouds above the peak.