OverviewCerro Solo is an isolated peak rising in proximity of the village of El Chalten in the Argentinian Southern Patagonia. The mountain is very close to the village, is one of the easiest climb in the area and a magnificient viewpoint on Fitz-Roy and Cerro Torre.
Getting ThereEl Chalten can be reached from El Calafate with a 4 hours long journey by bus (frequent services in summer). El Calafate in the main gateway for the main tourist attractions of Argeninian Southern Patagonia and can be reached with a long journey bus from Buenos Aires (48 hours, change in Rio Gallegos) or by flight (3 hours journey, but this option is very expensive during the tourist season). Once in El Chalten take the trail for the De Agostini camp (ex Jim Bridwell) and get in two hours there (running clean water and a latrine facility available).
The proximity of El Chalten to the camp makes in reality camping not strictly necessary if a party is competent and fast enough.
Red TapeCerro Solo is in a national park so usual rules apply.
Technically it is necessary to ask permission to the local Park Authority to climb but this is not enforced so many do not bother about. The rangers will make some questions, check the equipment and give you a written permit. I personally do not see any ethical and practicle reason to do it because the rangers have no idea of what climbing is and they will try to refrain you from climbing as soon you make the smallest question about the conditions of the route. Also there is limited interest in registering because rescue facilities are limited and there is no mobile phone or radio coverage, unless you do not have a satellite phone.
CampingCamping is allowed only in authorised places as De Agostini camp.
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Managing costsArgentina is cheap compared to Europe and North America. In recent years however costs, expecially in Patagonia, have been increasing. El Chalten is possibly one of the most expensive places. For people climbing with a normal budget it is not going to be a problem but for climbers on a tight budget a few precautions are advised.
Food is expensive and of average quality in the village of El Chalten, it is hence suggested to shop in El Calafate (or better in Buenos Aires) for items as muesli bars, dry food, good quality chocolate, instant puddings.
There are a few places (the best in Hostal Del Lago) where it is possible to camp and use the kitchen, toilet and shower facility. They charge typically 5 USD/day against the 10 USD/day of the cheapest hostel, On the extreme north of the village there is a spot with free camping but with limited water and toilet facilities (not reccomanded for an expedition with specific mountaineering objectives).