In the 1980's the Argentinean government sponsored people to come and live in El Chalten - which up until that point was no more than 1 small house (yellow) where a mountain hermit dude lived to tend the sheep of the estancia (large Patagonian farm) - as a land grab exercise to get first dibs on the place before the Chileans had a go - a proper remote pioneer mountain spot.
The two peaks are regarded as serious climbing challenges and mountaineers have been coming here for the last 60 years or so to conquer them, or be conquered themselves - the best pizza restaurant in town (Patagonicus) has photos lining the walls of those that have died trying, beautiful photos from the 1950’s onwards but a slightly macabre dining experience.
The town is within the national park and is a tad disappointing; a mess of random buildings of many totally unrecognisable architectural schools of thought, along with being overpriced and under stocked - a real missed opportunity to build something sympathetic to the surroundings being such a recent addition to the Argentinean map.
And for us after the amazing highs of the W tour, the El Chalten landscape and treks were less than jaw droppingly amazing, nice but probably better to have come here before the W as an intro to Patagonian mountain wilderness.
That said, in addition to two days trekking on foot we enjoyed a day on horseback which was fantastic, the full gaucho experience with lazy riding style, steak from the farm for lunch cooked on the open parilla (bbq) - being so remote the animals are not vaccinated in any way and with completely stress free grazing to boot the meat was the best - and magnificent views all day long.And then we set off on our Ruta 40 road trip, 2 days to remember :)