Guided W Trek With Overnights in Refugios
Day 1. Into Torres del Paine Park.
We’ll pick you up from your hotel in Puerto Natales at 1:00 pm. We will drive (150 km/94 miles) in direction north on a beautiful route, across the typical Magellanic Estancias (ranches) of endless land and abundant sheep, within the immensity of the Patagonian pampas, molded by ancient glaciers. After an hour we will pass by Cerro Castillo, a small town rich in gaucho culture, where we can make a short stop if you would like. From there we have another one-hour drive heading west until we reach the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park. Along the way we are very likely to spot some Patagonian wildlife such as guanacos, foxes, rheas, flamingos, caracaras and condors if we are lucky. As we approach the Park, the road will gradually introduce us to mountainous landscape. We may stop at various viewpoints to admire incredible sceneries and take photographs. At last into the Park, we will have the option of making a short walk along a path between the Park entrances Sarmiento and Laguna Amarga, to preview some of the area’s wonders and to observe fauna from up close. Finally the vehicle will take us to Refugio Las Torres, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Hiking distance:5 km/3 miles
Elevation*:100 m/\ (320 feet)
Day 2. Base of the Towers.
After breakfast, at around 9:00 am, we will begin our hike to the viewpoint for the Torres del Paine by a trail up the Ascencio River valley. Along the hike through dense beech forests (Nothofagus pumilio), we will stop to admire several waterfalls and hanging glaciers. After around three hours we will start to ascend a steep moraine towards the highest viewpoint for the Towers at 900 m.a.s.l. (2,950ft). There, we’ll be rewarded with a close-up view of the massive granite towers (2.850m/9,350ft) and the milky green lake at their base. We will have lunch and relax in one of the most unforgettable settings in the world. Then we will return along the same path to the vehicle and drive a short distance to the Refugio Las Torres to sleep and have dinner.
Hiking distance:7-8 hours Rt, 19 km / 11.8 miles
Elevation*:950 m/\ (3,040 feet)
Day 3.Los Cuernos (the Horns).
After breakfast we start our trek to Refugio Cuernos. We will hike on undulating terrain surrounding Mount Almirante Nieto (2.860m/8,790ft), along the north shore of Lake Nordenskjöld, one of the largest lakes in the Park. We will stop to enjoy our lunch and regain energy as we wait for possible low flying condors over the windy lake. Then we will continue with our journey; as we get closer to our destination we will be surprised by the impressive sight of the Cuernos del Paine (horn-like granite peaks), composed by granite and sedimentary rock, with some features that make them unique in the world. In the shadow of these towering giant horns stands the Refugio Cuernos, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Hiking distance:5 hours, 11,5 km / 7.2 miles
Elevation*:150 m/\ (480 feet)
Day 4.Valley “del Francés”.
Early in the morning we will head west in direction to the Valle del Francés (Frenchman’s Valley), one of the most beautiful places in the Park. We will surround the Cuernos walking by Lake Nordenskjöld’s shore, and then we will climb to our first amazing lookout to admire an ample view of the whole valley, the lake, and the enormous Mount Paine Grande (3.050m/10,000ft), the highest in the Park. We will arrive at Camp Italiano, from which we will start our one-hour ascent up the valley above the Glacier “del Francés” (Frenchman’s valley). On our way up the moraine, the lenga and coigüe (N. pumilio and N. betuloides) forest around us is shaped by the wind to resemble a Japanese garden. Once at the lookout the views are amazing with a range of 360 degrees: panoramic views of the lakes below, surrounding granite peaks, and the hanging glaciers of Paine Grande in front of us. There we will enjoy our lunch watching avalanches cascade and condors soar. We might have the chance to keep going up to the furthest viewpoint past Camp Británico, to arrive into the middle of a breathtaking amphitheatre of granite spires. After a brief stop we will return along the same path to Camp Italiano and then continue walking west along the south face of Mount Paine Grande, passing by deep blue Lake Skottsberg. Once we see Lake Pehoé, of intense turquoise waters, we will be really close to our final stop, the Lodge Paine Grande, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Hiking distance:(partly optional) 8-10 hours, 26 km / 16 miles
Elevation*:500 m/\ (1,600 feet)
Day 5. Glacier Grey.Early morning after breakfast we will start hiking north toward Glacier Grey, taking a beautiful trail along the western face on Mount Paine Grande. After an hour we will start to see the countless snowy peaks of the Andes which hold the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and the many glaciers that flow down from it. Then the trail will lead us to open terrain that overlooks Lake Grey, allowing us views of its greenish grey waters in contrast with deep blue, floating icebergs. In another hour we will arrive at “the half-way viewpoint”, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the glacier and the snow-capped mountains around us. Then we continue going in and out of the forest, until reaching our last stop in front of the eastern arm of the glacier, where we will have lunch and, if we are lucky, observe blocks of ice calving off the front face of the glacier. Around 1:00 pm we will board the “Grey II” boat, to sail along the glacier’s front wall only some meters away from it, so we can be delighted with the marvellous shapes and colours of this impressive ice wall. After 2 hours sailing we will arrive at the south beach of Lake Grey where our private vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Puerto Natales (2 hrs). We will drop you off at your accommodation and wish you a warm goodbye.
Hiking distance:4 hours, 11,5 km / 7.2 miles
Elevation*:300 m/\ (960 feet)
2016-2017 Prices Per Person (estimated in US$):
2 people = US$1995
3-5 people = US$1695
6-8 people = US$1595
Can start on any available date during season (September to May)
Patagonia summer offers warm, sunny days and cool nights. Patagonia days are long, the sun rises at about 4:30 a.m. and sets near 10:30 p.m. Typically temperatures are around 18ºC during the day, dropping to about 7 ºC at night. Higher elevations will be experience a slightly cooler climate, and frosts have been know to occur at night, even during the summer. During April, daytime temperatures are usually in the 15 ºC, and drop to the 2ºC at night. There are important climatic variations at the Region, influenced mostly by the relief, the sea and the wind.
The average rainfall registers 425 millimeters annual, mostly in spring-summer and in winter as snow. This is an area of wind, more intense at spring-summer, time at which it reaches an average speed of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour, fading almost at all in winter.
What to bring