Torres del Paine - W circuit in 5 days
We arrived to Patagonia mainly to visit Torres del Paine National Park. It is distant cca 150 km from Puerto Natales. Open return ticket cost us 12.000 CLP (cca 19 USD) per person. We used the company JBA.
We wandered the park for about 5 days. And these days were quite demanding. As the real tramps we slept outside in the tent and carried all our travel gear with us. But you can either rent everything in the so called Refugios. If you are not into sleeping outside there is an option of staying inside but it is markedly more expensive and it is necessary to book it in advance.
Day 1: Administracion – Paine Grande
As many of the least people we decided not take a catamaran from Lago Pehoe and set out from the more distant station Administracion. The reward for us was a spectacular view on surrounding mountains. Sun was shining all day but there was an unbelievably strong wind blowing. So the journey that takes normally 5 hours we did in 7 hours. It was pretty challenging walking against such a wind with heavy bagpacks. We envied everyone walking towards us because they had the wind in their back. Who wants a shortcut needs to get off at Pudeto and take a catamaran across the lake Lago Pehoe.
Soon we found out that Paine Grande campsite is exposed to the wind within the W circuit. Campsite has all facilities. There are toilettes, bathrooms with showers and hot water and also a cooking room. The cooking room is full most of the time as it is very tiny. Price for a night with an own equipment for 2 persons was 10.400 CLP (cca 16 USD).
Day 2: Paine Grande – Glacier Grey – Paine Grande
The second morning we had an amazing view from our tent on surrounding mountains and the sunset. After our breakfast we journeyed to the Glacier Grey. We took only small backpacks so it was a very pleasant trek that day. Sun was shining so taking pictures was easy. The trail was diverse and every stepped kilometer opened different sceneries. After our look down at the Glacier Grey from a decent distance we decided not to follow the trail to station Refugio Grey. This glacier seemed to be very small comparing to Perito Moreno that was really grandiose.
Day 3: Paine Grande – Italiano – Los Cuernos
The aim of this day expedition was reaching free campsite Italiano. But! It was raining since we woke up and when we reached Italiano and looked up at the Valle de Francés that leads to the Britanico lookout we saw it was snowing up there. So we simply decided to keep walking directly to Refugio Los Cuernos and spent a night there. This refugio is located in a private part of the park. How come that part of the national park may be owned privately is still a mystery for us. But in Chile everything is possible. This hike was truly diverse. We walked through the woods, barren landscape but also along the lake Lago Nordernskjöld. The wind reached unbelievable speed at certain places.
Campamento Los Cuernos is situated in the forest so your tent cannot so simply fly away like in Paine Grande. You can easily attach it to the trees around. The social room where you can cook is very small here but you can dry up your clothes when needed. We were lucky to stay dry all the time but we saw people drying their trekking shoes, mattresses, sleeping bags, towels and clothing. Terrible experience we thought. A night in this campsite cost us 15.000 CLP (cca 24 USD).
Day 4: Los Cuernos – Chileno
This day was the most exacting for us and also it was the longest day of all during our hike. However the advantage was beautiful and calm weather. We originally planned to come into free campsite Campamento Torres but we ran out of energy. If you plan to go to the Campamento Torres do not forget to make a reservation in advance. The camping is free but their capacity is limited unless everyone wants to stay there because of a short distance to Torres del Paine. The reservation can be made at the park entrance at Laguna Amarga or inside the park in Campamento Italiano. Without a proper reservation they will send you back to Chileno.
We were lucky to see the most beauties of the park that day. We saw a huge glacier lake, stones size of a van, waterfalls, mountain rivers, big rocks and nice fauna and flora.
Chileno is also private campsite. Comparing to Los Cuernos this place is a real mess. But you cannot do anything and have to sleep there. The night cost 15.000 CLP (cca 24 USD). We recommend you to attach your tent to the trees in the woods. The campsite is located along the river in the mountain valley so in case it gets windy it is really big.
The last day of our hiking trip started nicely. Sun was shining so it felt like the best day to go and see Torres del Paine in person. But this is Patagonia and the weather changes literally every hour. During our most difficult part of the W circuit we saw a storm in the distance. And yes it was exactly at the place where we were heading. When we arrived in Campamento Torres, we had a glimmer of hope. The local guard told us that it could get better at the noon. And if not the weather was gonna suck for the rest of the day. Fortune finally smiled on us and we could go up.
The journey was difficult. We went through the riverbed over huge boulders, markings were few and strength waned quickly. After less than an hour we finally climbed to the top where we saw a beautiful lake and had a perfect lookout at the mountain range of Torres del Paine. Everyone told us that it is worth going all the way up and certainly they were right. We also tried to support people who went up not to give up. Once you are in the Torres del Paine national park you should not miss the best. It is a reward for hard work we have been undergoing for a few days.
In euphoria we returned back to the campsite. Pack our stuff and went to hotel Las Torres where we took a shuttle to Laguna Amarga for 2.800 CLP (cca 5 USD). Here we jumped on a bus heading back to Puerto Natales.
And one small curiosity. Within those 5 days each of us walked more than 136.000 steps. 😉
Tento příspěvek je také k dispozici v jazyce: Czech