Cerro Mitre

Summit panorama

Cerro Mitre is the highpoint of the Magellanes Peninsula, the blob of land extending into Lago Argentino where the Perito Moreno Glacier periodically splits it. I did not find any information on how to reach its summit, but it is mostly gentle and close to a road, the only impediments being fences, an expensive National Park, and dense woody brush. I had not climbed as many peaks as I had hoped on this trip, and there were fewer prospects the farther south I went, so Mitre was one of my last opportunities. I almost skipped it, but am glad I did not, because it was a moderate effort, and had great views to the south, west, and north.

Long east ridge

It was cold in the morning, but not particularly windy, and I got a somewhat late start, leaving my tent and trailer to ride back toward the park entrance. While the road passes closest to the summit directly to its south, that lies within the park, and starting there looked like it would require nasty bushwhacking. However for some reason my phone had retained bits of Peakbagger’s “3D satellite view,” from which I was able to infer that the least brushy route started just past the bridge over the Rio Mitre, climbing an open hillside to the peak’s long southeast ridge. I pulled off on an old side-road, hopped a gate with a “no hunting” sign, rode a bit farther, and stashed my bike in the woods before hopping another fence to start the hike.

Summit from subpeak

This first part goes through what looks like a meadow, but is actually a field of spiny, light-green, knee-high bushes. Fortunately the fence I hopped was built to contain cows, which had created a network of paths through the groundcover, so I was able to wind my way uphill with minimal poking. I efficiently gained elevation on the open slope, passed through a thin band of woods that were far more open than I expected, and found myself on the ridge. The summit was hidden behind a couple of false summits, and I had a long walk across open ground to go, but the wind was surprisingly gentle. I found faint bits of path, and a survey marker on the return, but did not see any clear footprints, so the area clearly sees very little traffic. However there are apparently local peak-baggers, as I found a sizable cairn on a prominent bump where the ridge turns from west to northwest.

Torres del Paine

After being nearly level for several miles, the ridge dipped sharply past this bump, then climbed again to reach the final false summit, passing some layered cliffs of crumbly rock. I managed to find a bit of scrambling on the final climb, but could probably have entirely avoided using my hands. As shown on the satellite view, the southeast side of the peak holds a morainal lake and some buried remnants of ice. To the southwest, I could see the Torres del Paine. To the west was the upper portion of the Glaciar Perito Moreno, its lower portion sadly obscured by a lower peak. To the north and northwest were an array of inaccessible peaks and glaciers along the icefield. It was just warm enough to hang out in my puffy jacket while sheltered from the wind.

Upper Perito Moreno

I retraced my route along the ridge, cutting around the subpeak with the cairn, then was glad to have my track to follow through the woods to the easiest way down the spiny meadows. I returned to my bike, stopped at the Mitre to tank up on water, then rode back to camp, where I was pleased to see a fellow cyclist from Chaltén and no hashtag-vanlife. I was glad to have tagged a summit, even if it was not well-known or challenging, and ready for what I anticipated would be a tough international hike-a-bike the next day.

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