Enormous Objects

Monte Fitz Roy panorama, Patagonia

This photo shows one of the best summit views I’ve ever experienced, from atop Cerro Madsen, with a front-and-center view of Monte Fitz Roy, near El Chaltén, Argentina. This photo requires a bit of contemplation to begin to comprehend the enormous scale here. Consider that I took this photo standing on a 1800m (~6,000ft.) summit, with glaciers flowing around and below me. Monte Fitz Roy is 3400m (~11,200ft.) tall. This means that I’m looking directly up at a rock monolith towering a vertical mile above me, when I’m already standing on a lofty summit!

I feel like whenever I talk about Patagonian mountains I always end up babbling numbers of vertical feet. I think that’s because these kinds of mountains do not fit inside our minds; our brains simply cannot grasp the enormity, even when we’re standing there seeing it with our own eyes. The only way to make sense of it is to assign numbers and compare with mountains we’re used to. For instance, for those of you familiar with Colorado, consider that if you were standing at Maroon Lake near Aspen, looking up at the famous Maroon Bells, it would be roughly equivalent of just the rock face here on Fitz Roy. That begins to explain the enormity of the Patagonian landscape.

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