Torres del Paine photo journal

18 Feb

First of all if anybody is reading this and is heading to Puerto Natales to do the Torres del Paine hike then make sure you go to the Erractic Rock Hostel information seminar that they hold at their base camp everyday at 3pm. And also they are the only place in Patagonia (the southern region of Chile and Argentina) that recycles your gas canisters – so take em along and join the “rucksack revolution”.

OK, in this post I’m going to give a day by day photo tour of my Torres del Paine 8 day hike, which didn’t go quite to plan let’s say, but I will explain the “didn’t go quite to plan” in my coming two posts that will make some entertaining reading for you guys, although it was very UNentertaining for me.

If you don’t know, Torres del Paine is a famous eight day hike that circles three phenomenal rock towers (Torres del Paine). If you read some hiking websites they rate it as one of the best hikes etc, obviously that’s a pretty big claim, but yep it is pretty darn cool.

The circuit is split up into the 4-5 day “W” section which is popular for people with less time and people not wanting to carry 8 days worth of stuff for the entire circuit. It is the busier part of the hike where you are constantly passing hikers going both ways along the track (I was here in the peak of high season). The “W” also has many facilities, there are Refugio’s which are basically hostels in the park that charge ridiculous prices for bunk beds and meals for hikers not wanting to camp.

Then there is the 3-4 day back section of the circuit which is more isolated with less facilities but home to some different landscapes and a bit more tranquillity and not to mention some crazy winds.

The total circuit comprising of the “W” and the back section is an 8 day (can be less or more depending how fast/slow you want to go) loop covering 93 km of varied terrain. But anyway, I will let the photos do the talking for me.

Day 1 – Paine Grande up to Mirador Grey then to onto Campamento Italiano to camp the night (6 hours)

 

It looks like I’m quite enjoying getting blown. Strong winds with Glacier Grey in the background.

 

My virgin smile on my first day, little did I know Mother Nature was going to slap that off my face and violate my happiness in the last couple of days.

 

Lucas my Dutch violin playing Astronomer hiking buddy. One of many instant macaroni cheese dinners.

 

Day 2 – Up Valle del Frances then onto Campamento Cuernos (6 hours)

Looks to me like a river and Rocky Mountains

 

A backpacker in a hiker’s world.

 

I call this photo, “dead trees and a big rock”

 

Lucas and I literally “chilling out” at the top of Valle Frances.

 

Not a bad spot for lunch.

 

Is it just me or do I actually look buff in this photo? Oh yeah, Lucas and I went swimming, and for the record lakes that are fed by Glacier melt are rather cold.

 

Day 3 – Cuernos up to Campamento Torres which is the jumping off point to see the famous Torres del Paine sunrise (7 hours)

A video of my early morning tranquil settings.

 

A lake

 

I really enjoyed this part of the hike, I was up early and only had to share the track with these horses.

 

My campsite at Las Torres camping ground. Hanging out my pack and towel to dry off.

 

The “W” crew, cooking dinner (the UK contingent were cooking crackers sautéed in beef stock and tuna oil as they had run out of food) on our last night together.

 

Day 4 – Up early to catch the sunrise (more on my sunrise experience in the following post), then down to Hosteria Las Torres where I said good bye to “w” hiking buddies and then carried onto Campamento Seron, the first camping ground on the back circuit. (7 hours)

Patagonia is known for its unpredictable extreme weather. We enjoyed the summer snow!

 

A diverse landscape, rocky mountains to fields of daisies.

 

Talk about 4 seasons in one day, I started the day with snow, I walked through rain, hail and relentless winds and ended the day with glorious blue skies!

 

Camping ground Seron, the first stop on the back circuit. A surprising amount of tents. The sunshine gave me a great opportunity to dry my gear out.

 

 

Day 5 – Met kiwi couple Craig and Roz. We did a big 10 hour day, pushing through to Campamento Los Perros which is the jumping off point for “The Pass” (Paso John Gardner).

A video with lots of wind noise I say it’s rather windy (I say it’s day 4 but it’s actually day 5)

 

My first real chance to get my feet wet. Little did I know there were plenty more opportunities to come.

 

After 5-6 hours hike to Refugio Dickson on the backside and 4 more hours to go up to Los Perros I thought a photo of the soccer field was a better idea than a game. Not a bad setting for a kick around though.

 

The Chilean flag and the Chilean Patagonian flag blowing in the wind.

 

Craig and Roz blazing the trail through the forest on our way up to Los Perros camping ground.

 

A lot of times during the hike I thought I could of been back home in New Zealand, very similar landscape. Oh yeah, this photo is of a river!

 

You can’t see but the wind was pretty darn strong. At one point the wind was blowing the waterfalls in the back ground back up the cliff.

 

Kiwi hiking buddies Craig (how kiwi is Craig in his shorts – classic) and Roz enjoying another instant macaroni cheese meal in the drizzle at Los Perros camping ground.

 

Day 6 – Ummmm lets just say the coming days are going to require a post of their own!

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4 Responses to “Torres del Paine photo journal”

  1. crystal February 18, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Bro,
    You DO look a tad bit buff in the photo down by the lake. Also, your pack appears to weigh as much as you do…maybe there is a correlation?

    • Hap February 19, 2010 at 4:26 am #

      haha,
      yeah watch out Mens Health magazine! You could say i’m “packing” some weight.

      NBL Hap

  2. Geof February 19, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Hap Bro
    Gotcha post card from Ukranian Science base at Akademik Vernadsky Station, Galdindez, Antarctic Peninsula today! You didnt put a date on it but its beaten u back to NZ.
    Weather on ya tramp is interesting. We can all learn from the weather……it pays no attention to criticism!
    catch ya
    G

    • Hap February 21, 2010 at 1:40 am #

      Sup G

      Nice little piece of wisdom there Geoffrey. Good to hear the post card made it back, I think i posted that start of January, so it did pretty well to get back.

      You will enjoy the next couple of posts i have lined up on my Torres Del Paine trip.

      Currently in Mendoza, rahter hungover from the wine bike tour yesterday, but catching 26 hour bus tonight to Paraguay boarder, will stay the night, get my visa and enter into Paraguay on Monday. Mandy arrives on Tuesday.

      Hope all good back in NZ.

      Nuthin but love Hap

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