date of departure: sunday, February 17, 2019
travel days - february 17-18, 2019
USA to Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas to Punta Natales
Day 1- february 20
Coming from Puerto Natales (7:30am departure, 2-hour bus trip), you’ll arrive at the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park. At the entrance, you’ll wait in line to fill out a form, pay your entrance fee to the park and wait for a shuttle bus to take you to the Las Torres Hotel, where we’ll begin the trek to Seron Camp. This 5-hour, 13km hike begins around 11:30 and will take us through some small canyons and open fields in between snow covered peaks, as we make our way to Seron, where we will camp for the night. The views continue to be great, as we work our way around glacier fed rivers and streams.
DAY 2 - february 21
Seron Camp to Dickson Camp (Refugio). Today is the longest day - a 19km hike - and every bit spectacular. You’ll head out from the camp through some meadows and small hills before arriving at a fairly steep incline that ascends 100m in elevation. Continue hiking down a narrow path on the side of the mountain. Winds can be strong here, so careful attention is required! You’ll trek past a beautiful lake and waterfall before arriving at the Coiron Ranger Station, which is our halfway point for the day.
We’ll check in here by signing the ranger book. There are some picnic tables and a bathroom, making it a great stop for lunch. For Coiron, it’s fairly flat before one final ascent, and then a descent to Dickson Camp. Depending on weather, today’s trek can range from relatively easy (typically 6-hours) to fairly difficult (roughly 8-hours). Arriving at Dickson, you’ll be greeted with amazing views of the mountains. Make sure to head to the trail behind the camp to visit the lake and glacier.
DAY 3 - february 22
Dickson to Los Perros Camp (camping). Today offers a 6-hour, 11km hike. This day is a very picturesque one. Heading out of camp, you’ll make an immediate ascent. Make sure to look behind you to glimpse at fantastic, sweeping views of Dickson Lake and the Escondido Valley, with glaciers!
Continuing on, you’ll arrive in a forest where we’ll trek for quite a while. Keep your eyes peeled for woodpeckers. After another ascent, you’ll come to a clearing with beautiful views of the backside of the Tower Mountains. From here, you’ll trek for awhile along views of the Valle de los Perros.
We’ll head back into the trees and alongside a river, before eventually making another ascent and arriving at the Los Perros glacier and lake. This site arrives just before Los Perros campground, which lies in the shadows of the John Gardner Pass and some spectacular mountains.
DAY 4 - February 23
Los Perros to Paso Camp (camping). We’ll start trekking at about 7am at 600 meters and pass over the John Gardner pass at 1,200 meters. We’ll head through a forest for awhile before emerging into a gravelly area filled with large and small boulders. From here, you begin climbing even higher to reach the saddle of the pass. We’re hopeful that weather is on our side so we can bask in the views at the top. On a sunny day, you’ll be greeted with the vast Glacier Grey, which is dominated by numerous snow-capped mountains. If it’s not windy, snowing or raining, we’ll stick around awhile to admire the views.
We end today’s trek with a steep descent, which can be rather slow moving. Be careful of cheeky foxes here; they’re cute, but they steal food and shoes!
DAY 5 - february 24
Paso Camp to Paine Grande (Refugio). Today’s 18km hike will take us about 9.5 hours including the Glacier Grey Mirador, lunch and ample lookout points.
Leaving Paso Camp, we’ll experience amazing views of Grey Glacier and the mountains. There is a lot of incline in today’s hike before descending down into the forest. A new suspension bridge is currently being built, but in the meantime we’ll cross a river using boulders and rocks. We’ll ascend out of the river valley using a ladder.
After hiking through the forest, we’ll arrive at a sign for a Mirador of Glacier Grey. Drop your backpack here at the sign and head up through the little path about 5 minutes (bring something warm to wear) for awesome views of the glacier.
Continuing on, we’ll arrive at two suspension bridges. The highest and longest bridge is 80m high and 50m long. Hiking continues through the forest. We’ll emerge at another Mirador of Glacier Grey and Grey Camp. Several look out points are available here, and serves as a great place to have lunch. If we sit long enough, we may even see slivers of ice crack off of the glacier into the water.
The trail here gains many new trekkers as part of a regularly-traveled “W” segment. Several steep ascents and views of Lake Grey, waterfalls and snow-capped peaks happen throughout the afternoon before we reach Paine Grande to set up our tents. There are foxes here as well, so be mindful of your belongings.
Day 6 - february 25
Today’s hike from Paine Grande Camp to Italiano Camp is short and easy, at just 7.5km and 2.5 hours in length. When we arrive at Italiano Camp, we’ll check in with the ranger and set up camp before heading out to Frances Lookout and Britanico Lookout. An experience to behold here at the Italiano Camp - acquiring drinking water right from the main rushing river, just outside of camp.
Day 7 - february 26
Italiano Camp to Torres Ranger Station. This 19km day is a long and arduous one, but perhaps one of the most rewarding days of the trip. Depending on the conditions, it can take between 8 and 13 hours to complete. We will set off from Italiano Camp between 6-7am and enjoy moon beams shining against the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Sunrise over Nordenskjold Lake will be incredible! From Italiano, we’ll wander through an easy, flat path before descending towards the lake. We’ll walk along the rocky beach, cross the river and continue on. Today' offers a few ascents and loads of lookout points. The Trail to Chileno Camp is quite narrow and steep, and once we reach the gorge, the sweeping views can be dizzying! From Chileno Camp to the Torres Ranger Station is lots of incline, but filled with beautiful views.
Day 8 - february 27
Today will take us from the Torres Ranger Station to Base de las Torres (1.5km, 1 hour) to Las Torres Hotel (8km, 2 hours and 45 minutes).
Today’s the final day! We’ll wake up bright and early to start our ascent to the Base de las Torres lookout for sunrise views (headlamp required!). We’ll be climbing throughout our short morning hike without our backpack, as well be returning to camp before heading to Las Torres Hotel. Post-sunrise, we’ll head back toward the Ranger Station to pack up our camp before continuing on to Las Torres hotel. From there, we’ll take a shuttle bus to Puerto Natales.