Torres Del Paine
In Late July TotalAdventure was invited to take part in AdventureNEXT Patagonia by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and SERNATUR – the marketing section of the Chile Ministry of Tourism. 32 Adventure Travel marketers were invited from all over the world to experience far-off, far South Chilean Patagonia.
12 of us were chosen to participate on the rugged World Famous – “W Trek” an extensive 4 day hike through Torres del Paine National Park. The trip was with Chile Nativo.
The adventure began the night of Labor Day . 8 hours on the LATAM flight bought us from a humid 90 ( 32C) degree night in Miami to a bright late winter morning in Santiago. There, it was 38 (3C) degrees.
4 hours more on Sky Air bought us to Puerto Natales. Latitude 52 South . As we go off the plane it was snowing, with fresh snow on the ground and 0 C 32F. After a night relaxing and dining at Hotel Lago Grey , we we boarded a ferry to take us about 15 km to Grey Glacier at the other end of the lake.
Grey Glacier is a tongue of the Patagonian Ice Sheet – the world’s third largest after nearby Antarctica and Greenland.
The lake it melts and calves into is a constant 2 C – a person will die in just a few minutes if they fall in – losing consciousness after 2 minutes.
After we left the ferry ( see video) our Group dropped off our things at camp. The tents were already set up. It was super-cold – note the frost signifying subfreezing temperatures at mid day.
Above us and about 20 km distant, are the Torres del Paine. 9800 feet 3015m high, formed by magma ejecting upwards from under the Earth. Many think these mountains and rock formations are the end of the Andes. They are not ! This is the Paine Mountain Range, formed just 1 million years ago, not 64 million like the Andes.
A glacial tongue/
We ate our excellent lunch, packed by Hotel Lago Grey on top of a rock escarpment overlooking the glacier.
After lunch it was time to kayak. Everyone got suited up and went off exploring the icebergs. Big Foot Patagonia runs the excursions with all equipment. Credit:
We endured a very chilly night in the tents. Even with down sleeping bags it was cold. We had a hearty breakfast in the morning inside the camp shelter. The sun does not rise until almost 9 AM in September , so it was still like night.
Thursday, September 9th, began with a 5 hour trek across Glaciar Grey. Followed afterwards by a 12 km hike to the next camp.
Under the guidance of Big Foot Patagonia. Credit:
It is a long rocky uphill hike just to get to the glacier. Credit :
Across the crevasse . Credit :
After getting off the ice, it was time to hike to the next camp. The group did not arrive till evening and then it was off to sleep.
The third day was truly magnificent. The skies were mostly clear, with warmer temperatures.
At The Foot Of Cuernos del Paine. Credit :
Onwards & Upwards ! Credit :
Los Torres From Lago Pehoe.
Los Torres From The Lookout Point, after an 18 km hike.
Imagine Skiing Through The Chute – could be done with a hang glider for the cliff down below. The tallest of the Cuernos del Paine was only recently climbed for the first time ever. The rock is soft and chalky – making it very dangerous to hammer in pitons.
Te final day led to a luxurious hotel – welcome after camping out.
Sunset In Puerto Natales. There For A Night Before Exploring The Fjords.