Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

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Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 11:49 am

Hubby and I are planing for a few weeks trekking the W circuit (3 valleys) and full circuit and some other glacial areas in Torres del Paine, in Chile for January 2014. After a bit of reasearch we're using the services of Luke Errington, of Swoop Patagonia, who seems to be really informed and has good contacts. It's a small Bristol based team that only organises travel in this part of the country. We're even planning on getting a bit of flyfishing with a guide, and one leg kayaking (hopefully). It's a long way off I know, but I'm getting a bit excited. We're organising flights etc independently to and from Santiago (Chile) and Puerto Natales, but debating if we want to depart via Buenos Aires (Argentina) - does anyone have any experience travelling back via Buenos Aires and can comment if the additional expense and time is worthwhile?

http://www.swoop-patagonia.co.uk/about-us/
http://www.swoop-patagonia.co.uk/torres-del-paine/
http://www.swoop-patagonia.co.uk/full-c ... del-paine/

A good time lapse video to whet our appetite
http://vimeo.com/61389497
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Azza » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 12:33 pm

Patagonia is an awesome place you'll have a ball..
I was there in March 2011 for a month and did the Circuit. Its a very easy place to get around and organise stuff.
I can't get past these guys rates - ouch! seriously they charge 720+ pounds for you to self guide on the Circuit??

My wife and I flew into Punta Arenas, caught the bus up to Puerto Natales, bought some food at the super market and then charged off to do the Circuit.
Logistically very easy and virtually no planning required. The big factor is the weather, you want to be fairly flexible - there are some views you don't want to miss.
We adjusted our route to take advantage of weather window and got lucky. Probably the most enjoyable walk I've done.
Likewise in El Chalten - we waited days and never got a clear view of Fitzroy.

I didn't make it up to Buenos Aires, if I had the time I would have - but all I know is that Aerolineas Argentinas is best avoided from all reports.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Azza » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 12:47 pm

Azza wrote:I can't get past these guys rates - ouch! seriously they charge 720+ pounds for you to self guide on the Circuit??


Okay.. includes food, camp sites and refugio so its not so bad with that in mind...

Fantastico Sur - runs a few of the Refugio's and Camp Site on the W and Circuit - this is effectively what your booking when going through these guys.

http://www.fantasticosur.com/en/rates/
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby andrewp » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 1:45 pm

I'm with Azza. Do it all yourselves. Did it around 2005. Flew into BA (with LAN) and then flew to El Calafate. There's some good walking around El Chalten (local bus), including Fitzroy. From Calafate we took local bus to Puerto Natales. Can't remember how long - 4 or 5 hours? Bought all the food locally, which is great entertainment if you don't speak Spanish - trying to work out if what you're about to buy is sweet or savoury and how long it's going to take to cook.

We used tents everywhere - mostly free camping areas and once camped at a refugio. It was quite busy around the W. We organised all the transport (except for domestic flights) when we arrived. We organised domestic flights through a local travel agent, as I seem to remember the cost of flights was 3 x for foreigners from the AA website.

We thought it was well worth going through BA and we also flew up to Iguazu Falls for a few days.

It's a great place.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby deadwood » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 11:40 pm

We're not long back from a lap around the circuit. We had 10 nights in the park and had a perfect sunrise at las torres, but valle frances was wet with low cloud, so you can't win them all. There is no need for a guide unless you can't carry a pack yourself. You can even rent tents at most campgrounds and eat in refugios for half the nights, so it isn't really hard (weather permitting) to do the circuit without paying heaps for someone to guide you.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby weetbix456 » Tue 23 Apr, 2013 3:24 am

i was there around xmas time last year...you really do not need a guide in the slightest unless you want some extra info on certain parts of the park or like what the others said that you cant carry a pack, but the refugios in the W section arnt all that expensive and will even cook you dinner. taking a tent and going at your own pace really gives you the satisfaction of being able to choose where you stay each night (weather may have you stopping early or walking longer), and also some of the campsites and huts on the W section are super crowded when there are some great alternative (ex official??) spots eg, up french valley, and the second spot down past the pass. regarding buenos aires, it was one of my favourite cities in SA, much nicer than Santiago IMHO, but its a lonngggggg way between Torres and BA if you are busing...took me 60+ hours from Ushuaia from memory, and one last comment, get to Fitzroy and the surrounds if you can make time!! torres is beautiful but recent fires have tainted a lot of the magic you can tell was once there, plus you can walk on day trips right out of town!! andddd the camping is free!! and jawdropping xxxxx love for patagonia!!!
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Thu 30 May, 2013 11:22 pm

Booked our flights (despite horrible Christmas prices) So it's definite -we're going!
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby andrewbish » Fri 31 May, 2013 6:54 am

Excited for you. That area is on my hit list.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby ofuros » Fri 31 May, 2013 8:19 am

For those who love to travel....it's a endless list. 8-)
Enjoy your adventure onestepmore.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
https://ofuros.exposure.co/
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Fri 31 May, 2013 8:01 pm

After walking the Full Circuit I've organised some guided fly fishing .... :D on the Rio Serrano, and a cabana, then off for a few more days walking in the Pingo Valley area, west of the national park, and a bit more remote.
Hubby piked at kayaking though (I arranged a day of sea kayaking in NZ - I loved it - the rest of the family hated it)
I wanted to include horseriding for a few days, but that entails a completely different set of gear to lug around :(

Nativo Chile has a lot of variations to suit all travel styles
http://www.chilenativo.travel/ing/activities.asp
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sun 21 Jul, 2013 8:28 pm

All set! We're walking the full circuit, staying at refugios for half the tme, camping the other half. Then a decent hotel (hot water, bed will be bliss after 10 nights out!) in the park for a couple of nights, and guided flyfishing in between. We're leaving excess gear at Puerto Natales for this section. Then we're walking to a private estancia (working sheep ranch) where we're celebrating New Year's Eve with a big carnivorous BBQ. Our luggage is via 4WD so only day packs to carry while we enjoy the view. After that we ride on horse back to civilisation. i'm an experienced rider but I bet I'll be sore. Then the next day we're on a zodiac on the water, getting a different perspective of the glaciers, before we join a catamaran back to our connections home. Hopefully the weather will be kind and I'll get some great pics. I'm already getting excited and thinking about gear lists and packing. I've upped my fitness program at the gym and aim to shed another 10 kg in weight (lost 12 kg so far this year) I want to be sub 60 kg
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby bigkev » Sat 27 Jul, 2013 9:58 am

Hey, should be an awesome trip. I did something very similar last November. Camped all but one night on the circuit, I was still able to access the hot showers in the refuge's. Pray for good weather on the day you cross John Garner Pass, my limited vocabulary can't even begin to describe how spectacular it is! I've written up a bit of a trip report at http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/Torresdelpaine if your interested. I did the zodiac on the way in, fun, but really cold, make sure you have some gloves handy.
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The view of Glacier Grey from just over John Garner Pass
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 27 Jul, 2013 8:43 pm

Thanks for the tips Bigkev. Ive had a look at max/min temps etc and I have read it can be very windy in Dec Jan and that the mozzies can be ferocious at some camps in summer, but still at a bit at a loss about what clothes to take.....
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 27 Jul, 2013 8:51 pm

Grr can't edit previous posts. We don't have to carry tent or cook gear, just sleeping pad and sleeping bag, clothes and personals. I've had a guideline that bag should be -5 rated or more. We've both got several bags and mats to choose from, so not sure if i'll need a warmer rated one than this (I'm a cold sleeper), with a high R rated mat. Thermarest Neoairxlite vs neoair xtherm (it's a shortie tho, so need a zrest pad under feet) vs Exped UL Down7
I'm thinking just light shell, down midlayer for stops and night, light fleece and normal merino baselayers. Don't think I'll need down pants for night etc. Maybe light windpants rather than goretex overpants - or best to take these? Dilemmas re shoes too - low cuts, full high leather ones or can u go shortie light trail runners? Do I need mud/ice spikes?
So much stil to research :)
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 27 Jul, 2013 9:02 pm

Excellent trp report Kev - thanks! Really helpful
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby deadwood » Sun 28 Jul, 2013 11:10 am

Most of the track is easy walking , there is only one section where you need to navigate some typical Patagonian bog and that is between los Perros and Paso John Gardner. The pass is quite rocky/shaley as well, so personally I wouldn't go with the trail runners, but then there was a crazy Frenchman running the full circuit in 3/4 days while we were there that didn't seem to have an issue with the trail runners. As for the goretex pants, I took some good RAB eVent pants and was quite happy to have the wind protection apart from the rain protection. We had snow over the pass and the nights were quite cold (in early March), so don't forget to pack some warm gloves.
I see you mentioned having heard about mosquitos over summer - there was plenty of them even in March at Dickson but we didn't see too many bugs anywhere else. Make sure you go for a wander along the lake at Dickson, it is a pretty nice spot on a nice day (apart from the bugs).
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Don R » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 1:12 am

It is a great trip, may I suggest you do it in the opposite direction to the standard back packer version ? Lots of people start by going to Seron and Lago Dickson and then cross the pass to Lago Grey. This is very flat except for the section passing the lakes before Lago Dickson.It is better, in my opinion, if you do it the other way. Go to the Valley of the Frenchman and Lago Pehoe first. If you have good weather maximise it by going to the best couple of days worth. The Mirador at the top of the Valley of the Frenchman is magnificent in good weather. You can walk all the way to Lago Dickson from the trail head in one day if you are strong and keen ( done it in 2001) and the terrain is mostly flat. Beyond Lago Dickson the forest is literally awe inspiring. as regards crossing the Garner Pass, it has permanent snow / ice, don't try on an cloudy or overcast day.There is a fine little camp site on the other side next to a small creek, with one of the most spectacular views you will ever see. Getting to the Pass from Los Perros involves bog walking for a couple of hours and then following up the snowy sides of the pass. Regarding insects we had no problems with them in November but later in the season they appear, apparently, as it warms up.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby weetbix456 » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 11:28 am

another trip report (kind of) if you're still looking for more info!! did this over xmas time last summer!! amazing end to my AndesEpicSlog!! while you could easily get away with doing this track in runners, I know wet feet aren't too much fun over the course of a week long period. there will most likely be some bog and snow along some stretches, but nothing drastic i'm predicting. all I can say is take your time and soak it up...i'd love to be back there.

http://lingoofagringo.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/jewel-in-crown-torres-del-paine-np.html
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 19 Oct, 2013 2:26 pm

Definitely getting enthused by this. Thanks for all the suggestions guys. We're doing a bit if a 'glamping' way with guides and refugios, but hubby only has one holiday away a year, and time is tight, so we do a lot of preplanning and organizing. We're also in our 40's, not 20's, (but pretty fit) otherwise we'd just wing it. Still spending a day on horseback, but our company Chile Nativo is storing our riding boots and clothes etc for us. Guided fly fishing so no need to bring separate gear (tho I am considering taking my own light Tenkara rod as well. Anyone know if I can fish along the circuit and the W itself?)
Again, short Oboze boots, or am I better off with full ankle Zamberlans?
Still debating Aarn Natural Balance vs Gossamer Gear Mariposa. I guess I won't know until I pack it up! Second bag coming with nicer hotel, travel riding and NYE clothes etc ( can store)
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby gang-gang » Tue 29 Oct, 2013 8:54 pm

Onestepmore wrote:Definitely getting enthused by this.


A change from the Canberra Trail, but my wife and I walked Torres del Paine a few years back and that too is written up in our Photodiary, so if you manage to download it from the South American part of our website, Viaje en Los Andes, the n scroll down the index (its near the bottom). I am sure it will whet your appetite as it was remains one of our favourite walks. Enjoy it!
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby deadwood » Thu 31 Oct, 2013 9:31 pm

There are a few times when it's worth getting up before sunrise. Las Torres is one of them. These photos are about 10 minutes apart.
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Red

gold.jpg
Gold
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby byrnesy8 » Thu 31 Oct, 2013 9:52 pm

Fantastic photos. I will be there in early December. Hopefully we can get a similar view.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 02 Nov, 2013 9:31 am

Amazing photos!
And Gang Gang, thanks I'll have a look next week when we get back from this weekend's trip
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby roysta » Tue 12 Nov, 2013 7:10 pm

Onestepmore wrote:short Oboze boots, or am I better off with full ankle Zamberlans?


What are you used to walking in?
If the answer is low cuts then I would go with them. Unless you're getting into mountain boot/crampon territory then I'd stick to a familiar shoe.
The moraine/scree in South America can be tough on your feet but if the soles of the Oboze are robust stick with them.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Tue 12 Nov, 2013 9:12 pm

I walk the most in my short Oboze, I have been doing a few daywalks in my Zamberlans because I know I'll need them for my Feb tassie OLT walk (cry)
I keep looking at my new La Sportiva Wildcats - so light so nice......
Pretty much decided on shorties for Chile

Gaiters? I mainly wear them for snakes here in Oz (not had experience with the scary man eating waist deep disappearing stuff I keep getting warned about for Tassie!)
Even just a tame half day walk in my local area I'll generally come across at least a couple of snakes. I know they can bite through, makes feel slightly more protected though. So undecided wether gaiters will come or not.

I'll set out our gear list soon, lay it down here for the masses to pick apart :)
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby roysta » Mon 02 Dec, 2013 10:36 am

Onestepmore wrote: So undecided wether gaiters will come or not.


I would take the cloth ones that weigh nothing but keep the grit & stuff out of your shoes.
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Onestepmore » Sat 18 Jan, 2014 12:48 pm

Hubby and I returned last week from Chile , and it was an incredible experience. Over the next few weeks (months? lol) I'll sort and edit my photos and link something here to them
Here's a brief outline of the circuit
The walk ended up being much more difficult than I had anticipated, but that was mainly due to weather conditions.

We flew to Santiago and then directly to Punta Arenas all on the one day - 26 hours with no real sleep. Then bus the next day to Puerto Natales, which has some great eateries. We met up with our guide, Chino, and the next mornig had our stored luggage sorted and hiking packs organised for the start of of our walk, and drove into the Torres del Paine national park itself.

Day 1 of the circuit walk
We had a fine (ish) start for our first day walking up to the Torres themselves, after leaving our main packs in Refrugio las Torres lockers. We stopped for a hot drink and a snack at Refugio El Chileno, but it was snowing at Campamento Torres, and pretty cold, and only got about a 30 sec break in the clouds for some pics of the spires themselves. The W section of the walk (southern area) has a lot of hikers, from all over the world. You can tell the French and the Germans - they all seem to be beautifully dressed! I met a cool US artist/photographer who is spending several months in Chile. He's a brave man - minimalistic camping under a GoLite tarp, no poles, wears sneakers, and his camera gear takes up more than half of the weight he's carrying. We kept bumping into him on our travels. Website abegoodale.com

Day 2
Next day walking to Seron was really really windy, but fine. I managed to get a pole stuck in a creek crossing rock hopping, fell akwardly, and ended up in the icy water up to my waist, which was not fun I can tell you, and hurt my knee and got pretty bruised and wrenched. I was pretty cold walking in the wind wet, but once I dried off I was OK. Good thng for prescription strength codeine and paracetamol tablets. A hot shower at the end would have been bliss, but it was camping, and only a cold shower, and by the time we got to camp it was drizzly and very cold. This was the start of 5 days of completely sodden feet, non-stop lol. We had a Chilean Christmas Eve party al fresco with a group of 5 English walkers, a mum and daughter from Perth and all their guides and porters. So much meat!! Seron is an old sheepherders hut, and they get their wood and supplies delivered by packhorse.

Day 3
Next day was our walk to Dickson refugio, which was my favourite place. Atmosphere a bit like an old style ski lodge. There is an incredible swamp you have to go through - a boardwalk was started in 2009 but never finished. It starts off 4 boards wide, dwindles down to 3, then 2 just laid on top of the mud, then 1, then it's as if someone just stood there and randomly threw logs and sticks about. The mud was pole handle deep in some section just next to the 'track' - I really did not want to repeat my stunt of falling like yesterday! It rained non stop all day, and the place was full of rowdy campers of all nationalities, and the floor in front of the fire was a mass of muddy boots. Gato red wine in a box was very welcome, rough as it was! Rain was incredible, and the lodge ran out of wood that night. The roads would be too muddy to get some for a few days. The final delivery to Dickson is across a lake by boat. The staff were concerned they were going to run out of food as so many people were delaying moving on to the next camp due to the weather. There were also people arriving from the other direction who had been unable to cross the pass, who had also run out of food and were forced to turn back. Christmas Day was spent here - I had my little fairy lights laid out on the table, and I had brought mini packets of Vegemite for people to try. I had a marzipan bar in my pack that I gave to a very homesick German guy.

Day 4
We delayed leaving Dickson for as long as possible (horizontal rain) and because the next camp, Campamento los Perros, has minimal facilities. We passed almost 30 walkers who had turned back - they all looked a bit dispirited. Not sure how Dickson was going to cope that night. The walk was hard in the rain, and I was stumbling the last bit through the moraine field. The camp might be better in a kinder light, but basically it was a frozen, sleety muddy dark hole, lol. Hubby further added to the deterioration of the tarp covered shelter door by getting stuck in the broken frame and falling A over T with it in the muddy puddles in the floor.

Day 5
We left Perros pretty early, spirits brighter as the weather had broken and it was overcast but with breaks in the cloud. We gave some extra food to a Belgian family there who had none left, and who were walking back that day. We knew there would be a lot of snow over Paso John Gardner, but Chino our guide has been portering and working here for 15 years and has crossed the pass literally hundreds of times (six times this season alone), so we trusted his advice. The group of English people had gone before us, and got over OK. This is the hardest day I have ever experienced. Hubby and he took some of my gear so I had no front packs on my Aarn pack (very steep in sections and they were interfering with visibility). I'm glad I had crampons, but it was slippery and slow going, having to punch a foot hold into snow with your toe for every step going up the zig zag ridges, guide pole to pole. Some 'flatter' (comparatively!) sections were almost thigh deep - pretty tiring going from one footstep hole to the next one, and your poles are no use as they sink to the handle. People before me all have longer legs too, so each step was a big effort! There were flowing streams under some of the snow. I found it mentally dificult and scary and had a cry and a sook somewhere near the top third. Aparrently this is not uncommon lol. One American girl the day before had demanded a helicopter (their group had to turn back). Anyway, once you finally get to the pass, the view over Grey Glacier is incredible, as is the wind! There is no snow, only scree, and you look over onto this amazing glacier field. It would have been great to have been able to spend more time there, but the freezing wind is just too much. The descent to the tree line was difficult and very slippery, as it had been melting all day, and the going was muddy, snowy and treacherous. It started to sleet and drizzle. In some places it was safer to go on your backside and glissade (is it still called glissading when it's on a mud slope??) The track here isn't well maintained. We had planned to be at Grey refugio that night, but there was no way we'd make it. Instead of a six hour crossing, it'd taken us 10 hours. Spent the night at Paso camp, with it's delightful concrete loo with the rope and broom (if you've been there you know what I'm talking about). A tree had fallen on a tent that day, no-one was hurt.
Frozen socks again in the morning - thaw them out in your bag before you get dressed - then at least they are warm, wet and muddy - not stiff.

Day 6
We were gone from Campamento Paso before seven am that morning, as our guide Chino was concerned at the levels of the streams we would have to cross, due to all the recent rain and the melting snow. Once again incredible mud, very steep slippery bits. There are two canyons you have to cross, with horrible slippery icy ladders to go down. I'm not good with heights, and worse with ladders it seems! The first stream was really up, and the water was waist high, the force was incredible as you felt it hit. Chino was amazing, he took my pack up and down the ladders for me, and helped to reduce the force of the water by standing upstream. He crossed that dangerous section several times. The next stream was also really flooded, but a bit easier as there are some ropes to hang onto. I literally wanted to hug the rock on other side. A bit further down the track we met a couple of rangers who were checking 'to see if the ladders were still there!' Every few years there are landslides and washaways. This section of the track was then closed, and no-one else allowed to leave Paso due to the dangerous conditions. We didn't see a group of four Germans again who were leaving afer us, and I think they may have turned back at the canyon and waited back at Paso for another day or so for the water to go down. There is a well made suspension bridge over a canyon where the previous ladders and crossing got washed away - built by an American and his wife who donated their design and time. We had a late lunch (and a beer) at Grey refugio , where we'd missed our booking for the night before, which looks lovely, and then headed off for a few hours more to spend the night at Refugio Paine Grande. That hot shower was bliss. I'd lost a toenail (rotted off, lol) and had a pretty impressive smelly fungal infection between my toes. I love dry socks :)

Day 7
I decided to have a rest day, while Chino and hubby took day packs and walked up French valley. They didn't go right to the top as once again the weather closed in. I do regret not going, but my knee was troubling me and I erred on the side of caution. It's funny, both my ankles and feet swelled up, and I thought it best to wear my airline compression socks. I guess like showjumpers who 'stock up' when they have a day not being ridden and they just stand around in the stable. I've not had it happen to me before. It's funny, I head people who were just walking the W section compaining about the mud, and the condition of the track. I just smiled to myself.

Day 8 and the rest
Catamaran back to 'civilisation', and where we were reunited with our luggage for the rest of our Patagonian trip - a luxurious hotel with incredible views, yummy dinners, fly fishing on the Rio Serrano (I caught and lost my first chinook salmon), another day walk to an estancia (cattle ranch) for New Years Eve and horseriding back. There was a search that night for one of the staff who'd had a fight with her gaucho boyriend and gone off walking out into the freezing night in the middle of no-where - they found her the next morning, cold but OK. Dramas. The riding was amazing, incredibly good horses that are like Range Rovers, down steep scree slopes that were scary enough when we walked up them. Mine was called Pirhana, hubby's was called Melon. Once dgain the weather was not the kindest. It was really cold fishing - I even had down pants under my waders. When we were rding it was raining and then snowing! I couldn't feel my lower legs when we finished. We finished our trip with a zodiac trip that took us to the base of a glacier - we had a glass of scotch with glacial ice in it, and a huge BBQ lunch at another estancia. Puerto Natales is a pretty cool little town, with funky cafes. It was odd to be back in Santiago - same country, worlds apart, and there it was humid and about 30 deg.

It'll take me a while to digest all I've seen and done.
Our guide Francisco (Chino) was amazing, and I know we wouldn't have been able to cross that pass without his help and knowledge. Nico was a great cook under some trying circumstances - he carried the tents and food for a few of thr middle days over the 'top' section of the circuit. Chile Nativo was excellent in all their organisation and luggage transfers between our varied activities. Chile Nativo organised all our accommodation and refugio bookings. Swoop Patagonia (a UK companty) was great in being able to put us in touch with the right people to help us
We'll plan to return here again in the future to explore more of Chile and bring our kids next time. We have discussed some great places to go with Chino, and I'm trying to convince him to come and stay and walk in Aust - he's keen. He's a mounatineer and climber, and worked in Colarado etc, but would love to spend some time here.

I have lots of pics of the huge variety of flowers and plants, incredible scenery. I'm going to order a book or two to help me identify some of them. The history and indiginous culture of Patagonia is really interestng too, and I've definitely got some good researching and reading to do. I bought some nice local silver and lapislazuli jewellery for myself and as Christmas gifts for my family back home, and a great wool cape like the ones the gauchos wear.

Where we stayed - all were great value, great atmosphere and decor and helpful staff
Punta Arenas - Hotel Carpa Manzano
Puerto Natales - Hostel Amerindia (it's a cool cafe too)
Hotel Rio Serrano (expensive, international type hotel, fabulous view, amazing meals)
Estancia Lazo
Santiago - Sur Petit Hotel - in the Providencia area

Guided fishing via Magellenes Flyfishing

I'm very glad I brought gaiters as I wore them constantly, we wore gortex overpants the whole time except the first and last day, and buffs, gloves, balaclavas etc. Just thin drip dry stretchy walking pants. I wore my usual short leather Oboze boots - longer boots would not have helped keep feet dry I can assure you! Brimmed caps needed under your hood as it was raining a lot and this helps to stop water getting on your glasses or sunnies. Polaroids (prescription ones for us), lip balm and sunscreen all needed. I wore merino thermals at night plus down pants and sweater. During the day we just walked in one layer (mine a long sleeved quarter zip Macpac top) under a hardshell, but put on a fleece if we stopped for snack. You need a down puffy once you stop walking, in camp, especially after it begins to gets dark - which is not until agfter 10 pm. I brought my Zpacks 20F sleeping bag and down balaclava, and hubby used a Western Mountaineering Summerlite, which was fine for the temps at night - just below freezing. We both used Thermrest Neoair Xlites with a reflective insulated foil layer on top of the tent floor to protect them. The tent was a 3P Mountain Hardware Trango which was Chile Nativo's (our porter Nico carried this for the days we spent in the northern section). I used my Aarn Natural Balance pack but found the front packs a hindrance in the steep snowy sections, and the twisty muddy tracks, so removed them for better visibility. I've not had this problem with it before in Aussie bush. Hubby used a 70L Osprey pack which was fine. Water doesn't need to be carried beyond a 600 ml plastic water bottle, as the glacial meltwater is great to drink. I take a Canon Powershot Zoom SX50 HS digital camera, which was great for the sort of pics I take.

Now just to get my knee sorted out....
We can learn a lot from crayons. They come in different shapes and colours, but they all have to live in the same box
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Giddy_up » Sat 18 Jan, 2014 2:24 pm

Great brief report SBS and welcome home, can't wait for the pictures and some more detail of the terrain and plant and animal life. The whole circuit sound like an epic adventure but what a bummer about the knee, I hope its not serious. Very interesting to read about some of your gear and its suitability or lack there of for this pursuit, just shows that no one piece of equipment can do it all I guess.

I checked out Abe's web site and he has some cracking good photos there and some other interesting stuff about his current and previous journeys and he looks pretty hard core. Not sure I could do a tarp in those conditions you described.

R.I.C.E that joint and post some of those pics you have.

G_U
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby wayno » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 5:05 am

whawt a great experience and post...
i think it might be what Andrew Skurka calls type 2 fun?
not so much fun to do but fun to remember and recount afterwards...
as long as it's not type three fun, not fun to do and not fun to remember....
from the land of the long white clouds...
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Re: Torres del Paine (Patagonia) trip planning

Postby Lizzy » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 12:01 pm

Looking forward to the photos. Pity about the knee and shame he weather wasn't a bit more considerate....
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