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Trip Report: Torres del Paine, Patagonia (Chile)

Trip Report: Torres del Paine, Patagonia (Chile)

Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:47 AM
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Trip Report: Torres del Paine, Patagonia (Chile)

Hello

This is my story of trekking the Torres del Paine in Patagonia, doing an extended W trek since the O was sadly closed at the time. Hope you like it!

Day 1, Mirador Condor

12/04/2015 Torres del Paine… Everyone who ever thought about going to Patagonia certainly knows about this location. It is utterly breath taking and I saved it for the end of my trip in southern Chile. Making my way from Puerto Natales, I came prepared with enough food for the six day hike around the famous towers. Check out this update to find out what happened during the first day hiking to Mirador Condor and especially about the unexpected visitor in the night, preventing me from getting any sleep.



I was once again in the right spot at the right time, purchasing the round trip bus tickets to the Torres for just 10.000 pesos, rather than the usual 15.000 pesos. The bus left early in the morning and took two hours, dropping me and a few people I met in the bus between the first and second of overall three stops. From there, we hiked up to a viewpoint called “Mirador Condor” after paying the 18.000 entry fee earlier. We also received our badges, which stated all the (partly ridiculous) rules about the park as well as the closing times of each camp site. Being in off season, we should not have too many troubles with rangers though and I would even try to do the complete O-trek rather than the standard W-trek even though the maps indicated that it would be closed. Let’s see…






Day 1 Statistics:
Distance hiked: 22,5km
Time spent: 5h 25m


>> Rest & All Pictures
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:49 AM
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Ahh its not possible to add pictures here.. I forgot! Can some of the admins please swap the above post with this one? THanks

Hello

This is my story of trekking the Torres del Paine in Patagonia, doing an extended W trek since the O was sadly closed at the time. Hope you like it!

Day 1, Mirador Condor: http://www.chrisontour84.de/2016/01/...a-chile-day-1/

12/04/2015 Torres del Paine… Everyone who ever thought about going to Patagonia certainly knows about this location. It is utterly breath taking and I saved it for the end of my trip in southern Chile. Making my way from Puerto Natales, I came prepared with enough food for the six day hike around the famous towers. Check out this update to find out what happened during the first day hiking to Mirador Condor and especially about the unexpected visitor in the night, preventing me from getting any sleep.

I was once again in the right spot at the right time, purchasing the round trip bus tickets to the Torres for just 10.000 pesos, rather than the usual 15.000 pesos. The bus left early in the morning and took two hours, dropping me and a few people I met in the bus between the first and second of overall three stops. From there, we hiked up to a viewpoint called “Mirador Condor” after paying the 18.000 entry fee earlier. We also received our badges, which stated all the (partly ridiculous) rules about the park as well as the closing times of each camp site. Being in off season, we should not have too many troubles with rangers though and I would even try to do the complete O-trek rather than the standard W-trek even though the maps indicated that it would be closed. Let’s see…

After some rain in the morning, we hiked up to the Mirador in perfect weather conditions. Making a little loop through the grass, we eventually reached the viewpoint and were stunned with the beauty of the landscape. The water, the mountains, the blue sky – everything was just so perfect and I was really curious if the remaining days could get any better than this! Heading down on the official path, we picked up our backpacks again and had lunch while some Caracara birds tried to snatch some of it.

The next part of the hike was along a long road for about 8km. Usually, you could try to hitch hike here, but we were five people and obviously not picked up by the few cars that passed. We stopped at Salto Chico, a small but very powerful waterfall close to a hotel with a nice view of the Mountains in the background. It actually turned out to be pretty amazing there! Heading back on the road, we reached the Administration soon after and split up when the two couples continued to the camp spot while I was having a bigger break to have a second lunch

Giving them a half an hour head start, I actually made it to the camp site at the same time. The hike was really pleasant along with the slowly setting sun, putting the fields in beautiful golden colours. A lot of clouds came up once I reached the camp site and it got dark pretty fast. Setting up the tent was the first priority now; and it was actually the very first time to use my new tent, purchased just two days ago. I gathered some hay below, hoping to provide some more comfort during the night after losing my inflatable sleeping matt.

The campsite was called campamento las carretas, but during the course of the first night I would have loved to rename it to campamento las ratas! Despite the fact that I was already hiding all my food in extra bags high up in the trees, I was still being harassed by one or two annoying little rats. The camp site was really dirty and we already anticipated them, but apparently having no food at all inside the tent was not enough to prevent any visits and it seemed like they were attracted to the smell of my brand new tent.

As if the annoying sound of the rat crawling around and even on top of the tent was not enough, it also tried to get inside and I ended up with 4 little holes in the tent, big enough for the rat to stick her nose through. Sleeping was, unfortunately, not an option for the first night…

Day 1 Statistics:
Distance hiked: 22,5km
Time spent: 5h 25m

>> All Pictures: http://www.chrisontour84.de/2016/01/...a-chile-day-1/
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 12:25 PM
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Thank you for posting. We are going to Argentina and Chile in 3 weeks, but with a group. We spend about 10 days in Patagonia (other days in B.A. and Santiago.) No tent sleeping for us! Your pix are gorgeous.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 10:40 AM
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Thank you Here is the next part:

Day 2, Grey Glacier

13/04/2015 I was happy to leave the rat-infested camp of the first night behind and fixed the holes in my new tent. Happy for the sun to provide warmth after a cold morning, I soon got to see the first splendid views on Glaciar Grey in the distance. My plan was to hike up to Paso John Gardner, but I knew that the circuit was officially closed and when two french hikers passed me on the way down after being sent back from a ranger, I had to come up with a damn good first impression in order to convince him to let me pass…



I was not particularity pleased with the first night. Rats were attracted to my new tent, trying desperately to give me some company inside and they would even climb up the trees and then jump on top of my little home!! I did not get a lot of sleep since I was either annoyed by the noise they made or busy hitting their little noses poking through the tent. After fixing it with duct tape in the morning, I started to hike at 09:30 while everyone else was still having their breakfast. The sun showcased the grass in a beautiful golden color on the ground while the horizon was filled by blue sky and the majestic mountains – such a delight for the eye!







I reached a good spot with a view on the lake and unwrapped all my wet equipment from the morning temperatures while having lunch and waited for the others to arrive. They turned up about 90 minutes later, just when I was about to leave. We walked together for a bit along the picture perfect lake, reflecting mirror images from the peaks inside of it. The couples needed another break and I was heading towards Camp Grey on my own again. Walking up a gentle slope, I could finally see the ice cap of the Grey Glacier for the first time. The view was just incredible and I could not wait to get closer to it!

Approaching Camp Grey, I was not sure if anybody would try to stop me to move forward toward Paso John Gardner, which I knew was closed off. I just walked right through the camp and nobody tried to stop me, so my hopes were high to actually make it to a smaller camp called Las Guardas up the hills for the night before heading to the pass the next morning. The path led me close to the glacier for some great views before entering a forest again, containing a lot of hard-working woodpeckers that were not disturbed at all by my presence.







Further along the trek, I met two french hikers that were just sent down by a ranger patrolling high up to the entry of the John Gardner pass. I was not happy to hear the news and hoping to make friends and convince with him to let me pass. Crossing a huge hanging bridge over a big gorge, I actually ran into the ranger just 20 minutes after. My plan to leave a good first impression worked out perfectly and I could actually continue my trek!

He judged me as an experienced hiker and allowed me to continue my trek up until the pass, even telling me about hidden food supplies near the old camp. I promised him to report back the next day at his ranger house close to the lake and set up my tent on top of a thick layer of moss, making sure I would have a much more comfortable night compared to the first! I even had time to trek through the forest for about five minutes to get a good view on the glacier and the last minutes of sunshine, before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. No rats should be around in this altitude either, so I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep finally…







Day 2 Statistics:
Distance hiked: 24km
Time spent: 6h 20m

>> All Pictures
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