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Torres Del Paine Circuit


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A classic trek around the dramatic Towers of Paine


Join Puerto Natales

Join Puerto Natales* by your own means and make your way to Hotel Aquaterra or similar. An arrival briefing will be held in the hotel this evening. Dinner not included. The rest of the day is for rest and personal exploration of this town. Overnight: Hotel Vendaval or similar.* Puerto Natales has an airport with direct flights from Santiago four times per week during high season. Alternatively, flights to Punta Arenas and El Calafate operate daily and a bus can be taken from there to Puerto Natales (additional cost applies). Please ask us for more details.

Boat to Torres del Paine National Park via the Balmaceda Glacier

A spectacular day cruising to the head of the Fiord to see glaciers tumbling down from the mountains, seals and abundant bird life. We continue on to the National Park by Zodiac. We skirt glacial blue lakes and pass herds of guanaco and rhea as we approach the towering peaks. The Horns of Paine are right before us, as is Paine Grande, the largest of this range. On arrival we transfer to our campsite for this evening. The experience of trekking in Patagonia will spoil you for most other trekking areas the scenery is truly awe-inspiring. Blue glacial and ice-berg strewn lakes combine with dramatic granite peaks and snow covered mountains which lead to the Patagonian ice-cap. Overnight: Camp.What you carry: Day pack

Commence Torres del Paine Circuit Trek (5hrs – 10kms)

Transfer to the beginning of the Trek from Las Torres Refuge area to Camp Seron. Trek with your main pack – assisted with porters. Today’s walk is a great introduction to Torres del Paine as we follow the Rio Paine. The trails are well defined and not overly undulating. The mountain views, the nice perspective of the Towers and the surrounding mountains, coupled with meadows of daisies, clear running streams and woods that smell of fresh beech, make it a great day. Overnight: Camp Seron.What you carry: Trek with main pack – assisted with porters (7.5 kg/client). 1 Porter every 2 passengers will accompany us as far as Refuge Pehoe (Porters are to split our charge. They are not private personal porters).

Trek to Lago Dickson (6hrs – 19kms)

We continue around Paine by heading north and then west towards Lago Dickson. Each stage of the trek provides a different perspective of the Towers as we head out into the most isolated section of the circuit. Photographers should be ready for the dramatic sunsets and sunrises at Lago Dickson. It is possible to buy cold drinks at reasonable prices on your arrival at the campsite; there are flushing toilets and showers available. Overnight: Camp Dickson.What you carry: Porters will carry a portion of your gear (maximum 7.5 kg per person). You will need to carry your main pack, with the reduced weight. You may wish to put your day pack into the main pack or consider a pack with a zip off day pack.

Trek to Los Perros (5hrs – 9.5kms)

A short ascent brings us to a natural viewing platform where we obtain more comprehensive views of the mountains and glacier beyond Lago Dickson, and towards our evening campsite near Glacier Los Perros. We walk through dense forests for most of the day, over fallen trees. The Magellanic Woodpecker can be heard although it is sometimes difficult to spot the actual bird. The key is to keep still when you hear them and look for the male which is black with a striking red head. The trail meanders through the forest, over many streams and past waterfalls on the Rio de los Perros. We cross the river again and come to the base of the Glacier Los Perros, where a crater surrounds the lake in which it spills. Here we will be out of the forest and again exposed to the wind. Fortunately our camp nearby is sheltered by the elements, surrounded by beech forest. Overnight: Camp Los Perros.What you carry: Porters will carry a portion of your gear (maximum 7.5 kg per person). You will need to carry your main pack, with the reduced weight. You may wish to put your day pack into the main pack or consider a pack with a zip off day pack.

Trek over John Garner to Camp Grey (10hrs – 22kms)

Today is the hardest day on the circuit. The first hour is a gradual uphill trek through the forest. Then we hit the mud, and in some places it will be hard to avoid getting your foot stuck in it. This section lasts about an hour, before we come to a large stream which we cross using a rope as a support. Another hour is spent ascending to the pass, over rocks and over snow drifts. The route is marked clearly by fluorescent orange markers on rocks and posts. On reaching the saddle of the pass we come to the view for which this circuit is famous, and more often than not the strong westerly winds will prevent you from lingering too long on the pass. Looking behind us the view is mainly of forest and in the distance the glacial lake we passed earlier is strewn with ice-bergs. However, ahead the view is of the Grey Glacier and it is truly stupendous. The Patagonian ice cap is visible in the distance and the mountains and glaciers below are even more spectacular. In good weather conditions, we can stay on the pass enjoying the view for up to one hour.Our descent is almost as spectacular as the view from the pass. It is precarious due to its steep gradient and concentration is required. We descend more than 700m in about one hour to Campamento Paso. This camp site is not popular due to little level land and water being available. We continue on down, and the terrain is difficult to negotiate with many fallen trees blocking our path which we need to climb over or walk around. The track ascends and descends the contours of the valley leading out to a natural rock viewing platform, from which a stream cuts through cascading to the Glacier below. This is a great place to have a well-earned rest and perhaps a picnic lunch (if we haven’t succumbed to our stomachs before this). Whilst we may believe that the hardest part of the day is over, we are soon enlightened by the most exhausting section. Here the trees we must climb over seem larger and the ascents and descents more frequent. We may be tempted to stop for the night at Campamentos Guardas, however it is just one hour (mostly downhill) further to Camp Grey, where the idyllic bay setting will remind you of a tropical beach, except there are icebergs floating in the water! Cold drinks and a hot meal will never have tasted so good. Overnight: Camp Grey.What you carry: Porters will carry a portion of your gear (maximum 7.5 kg per person). You will need to carry your main pack, with the reduced weight. You may wish to put your day pack into the main pack or consider a pack with a zip off day pack.

Trek to Refugio Lago Pehoe (5hrs – 13kms)

Today is the last day we will count on porters to help us with our gear. Early in the morning (9 AM), we will depart for a 2.5 hour kayaking excursion on Lake Grey. We will get suited up and start our excursion which will involve paddling around the large floating icebergs until we are close to the east side of the glacier. Return to Camp Grey in time for lunch and then trek down to Paine Grande. The first part of the trek is gradual uphill with some steep sections. The views down to the glacier are spectacular and the flowers along the trail interspersed with mountain lakes make this a scenic walk. The second half of today's trek is gradual downhill and we soon reach the campsite by the iridescent waters of Lake Pehoe. The camp site rivals camp Dickson in its beauty, incorporating all that Patagonia is - wind, snow covered mountains, dramatic skies, emerald lakes, flowers and birdlife. This will be our base for one night. Overnight: Camp Paine Grande.What you carry: Porters will carry a portion of your gear (maximum 7.5 kg per person). You will need to carry your main pack, with the reduced weight. You may wish to put your day pack into the main pack or consider a pack with a zip off day pack.

Walk via French Valley to Refuge Cuernos (8-10hrs - 30kms)

The highlight of the first two hours of todays walk is the lovely lake we pass and the improving views of Cerro Paine Grande. We cross a new suspension bridge to reach Italiano Camp where we can rest by the thundering river of Rio del Francés. Continuing up the French Valley towards British camp, the scenery becomes even more dramatic. On one side of the valley is Cuernos del Paine and on the other side the aptly named Frances Glacier with Rio del Francés flowing from it. The whole area is quite unstable, being a glacial valley and certain sections of the path are quite treacherous and steep. The occasional ice falls from the French Glacier cause thunderous crashes onto the rocks below which reverberates off the valley walls. Within an hour the trail brings us to a wide valley from where we have excellent views of the Torres and down to the emerald lakes below. The path ascends more gradually to British camp over waterlogged terrain and through alpine lenga forest to the view of the ice-formed horns of Cuernos del Paine. The Paine Grande reaches 3,248m and is a point of interest for climbers from around the world. As an option, you may continue up to two mountain lakes close to the tree line at the head of the valley, an hour and a half return journey. We return down the valley the same way we ascended, then continue on to Refuge Cuernos (2 hours), pausing to appreciate the waterfalls and to witness the river sculptured valley before us. Overnight: Refugio Cuernos or at busy times we will be camping in the grounds of this refugio or nearby refugios.What you carry: No porters. You will need to carry your main pack and day pack.Note: If you would like to trek without your full packs for days 8 & 9, your main luggage can be stored at Refugio Pehoe and will be transferred to Torres on day 9. Please request this with your guide (no additional cost). You will still need to carry enough personal equipment for the next two days and one night. We will provide a sleeping bag free of charge on day 8 only, so that you don't need to carry it for two days.

Trekking along Lake Nordenskjold, to Camp Torres (4hrs - 11kms)

Today we are trekking along the beautiful Lake Nordenskjoeld to reach Torres ranch. Before reaching the Torres refuge and along the trail we’ll be leaving behind the Cordillera Paine (where the mass of granite peaks are centred) towards the Ascencio Valley for the next day walk to the base of the towers. This will be fairly easy walking, in a flat terrain and short distance. Overnight: Camp Torres or similar.What you carry: No porters. You will need to carry your main pack and day pack.

Ascend to base of Towers of Paine (8-10hrs - 19kms)

Today is a big walk, although free from the weight of our packs. We plan to hike to the base of the Torres del Paine (or towers). An early start is recommended in order to view the towers with the sun directly on them, transforming the granite all shades of red and pink. Those with some puff left may forge on to the Japanese camp, about an hour further up the valley. On our descent we may encounter the strong winds for which this area is renown. We return to Camp Torres and transfer to Tercera Barranca, a typical Magellan Estancia. This is the perfect place to end the trek with a traditional farewell dinner and reflect on mountains you have just trekked around.Overnight: Hotel 3 Pasos or similar.What you carry: Day pack

Trip concludes Puerto Natales

After breakfast transfer to Puerto Natales where the trip concludes. If you are planning to visit Los Glaciares, Perito Moreno and/or El Calafate, then please ask our staff for details of tourist buses that cross the border directly from Torres del Paine Park or from Puerto Natales.PLEASE NOTE: All trekking times and distances are approximate.

Additional Information

This is an outstanding circuit for the trekker looking to complete a spectacular foray around the high peaks of Torres del Paine (also called O-Trek) . On the initial stages porters carry some of our gear (and we carry some of our own gear) as we follow remote trails through undulating grasslands and woodlands to the least visited part of the national park. Hiking above the forests we enter a world of granite peaks, hanging glaciers and glacial lakes as we forge a route over the John Garner Pass. From the pass we are rewarded with magnificent views of the Grey Glacier and as far as the Patagonian Ice Cap before completing a rugged descent to the shores of Lago Grey. We continue our circuit to the south for a different perspective of the 'towers' from the 'W' trek. We enjoy forays up the French Valley and the Ascensio Valley before we finally ascend to the base of Torres del Paine for one of the most unforgettable mountain views in the world.

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