Patagonia, Torres de Paine

Again the adventure was provided by Tierra De Patagonia a world class hotel with all the fine benefits one would expect and all the attributes exceeded our expecations . This sections includes 5 distinct hikes/climbs and they are numbered below:  from: (1. hotel),  (2. Base of Towers),  (3. French Valley),  (4. Cornices) and  (5. hunters ) 

 

For all hikes here : Make sure you dress properly, take rain pants and waterproof jacket, hat, gloves, fleece (or any warm jacket), synthetic and breathable top, light hiking pants, hiking boots. Avoid wearing cotton, jeans and new boots. 

A few of our hikes 

1. Hike from the hotel:   This walk from the hotel (Tierra Patagonia) is perfect after arriving just to stretch your legs and refresh your mind. So we headed toward the lake shore and the boundary of the Torres del Paine National Park. It was beautiful as we passed through areas of low bush, all the time enjoying panoramic views of Lake Sarmiento and the mountains.

The hotel as viewed from the lake shore, it melted into the surrounding pampa

while the dramatic skyline of the mountains behind it can be seen – they separate Chile from Argentina and at times we were on the boarder. The element that most stands out during this walk are the thrombolytes on the shores of the lake. These formations, which are several million years old, were created by some of the oldest living organisms on the earth. They form caves on the lakeshore, some of which hide the most important predator in the park, the puma. This is in the hotel’s “back yard” and it is common to see wildlife such as eagles, condors, guanaco, sheep, foxes and ñandú (a type of ostrich) and we saw them all. Also we were blessed with amazing views of the Torres del Paine mountain range. It is incredible

 

2.Base of the towers  This was done by Katie and Taylor while Ron and I fished:  This world famous hike demands stamina, but the rewards are the impressive views of the three granite towers.

The first part is uphill for about an hour along the Rio Ascencio until we reach the “Paso de los Vientos” from where it takes 30 minutes to reach the Campamento Chileno where we rested.

 

The walk continues to ascend through the forest for 1,5 hours, gaining altitude very quickly and with amazing views of the geological formations in the area including folds, fractures and granite intrusions. The last hour is the most challenging and difficult. The trail winds up thorough a moraine section of loose rock, there is exposure to the wind and the weather here is unpredictable. Arriving at the top we enjoyed the classic view of the Torres del Paine and we had lunch there provided by the guides with this fantastic landscape in front of us.

We descended along the same trail and it took about four (4) hours to reach the starting point, so it is important to have good knees and to be in good physical shape. Make sure you dress properly, take rain pants and waterproof jacket, hat, gloves, fleece (or any warm jacket), synthetic and breathable top, light hiking pants, hiking boots. Avoid wearing cotton, jeans and new boots. This excursion is hard and strenuous if you are not used to long distance hikes.

 

3. French Valley. This excursion starts with a 30 minute boat ride across Pehoé Lake. We were out from the hotel from about 8 AM to 6 PM an all day hike and I was smoked 


We started by walking along a winding trail

 

that passes the slopes of Paine Grande and the shores of Lago Skottsberg where we disrobed to cool off we got hot.

WE had huge winds that created a whirl wind on the lake

There are great views of the Cuernos del Paine on the way. Upon reaching the Italian Camp, we crossed a bridge over the French River

and headed up the French Valley to the view point that sits below the French Glacier.

We saw a huge avalanche and had extreme winds like upto 70 MPH. 

We returned along the same trail

and we took the boat for the last 30 minutes to the point where the van took us back to the hotel

 

4. Cornices. Leaving the Hotel we drove 30 minutes towards the area of the estancias – estancia being  minimum of like 20,000 acres. This hike climbs progressively along a prominent rock buttress on a cliff.

where we were rewarded with stunning views of the Torres del Paine, Sierra Contreras, Sierra del Toro and also the hotel, all from a 360° viewpoint.  

We had some strong winds and it knocked me over once – like 60 MPH. Along the way I found dead sheep caarcases that the puma had eaten.

At the end the descent is down a hill and the van is waiting to return us to the hotel. This hike was ideal as it was away from the crowds.

 

5. Hunters Trail  I did this by myself after mountain biking. So After a 30 minute drive to the Porteria Lago Sarmiento we started the trek.  It is an easy peaceful trek,

 

 

winding its way northwards, with the Paine Massif as a constant companion. Halfway through we visited a rocky area where there are cave paintings from the Aonikenk,

hunter-gatherer native Indians that occupied this area some 6,000 years ago. We passed these cool flowering pods

It is also one of the best areas to see wildlife such as guanacos, foxes and condors and we saw them all. At the end of the half day hike, the van is waiting to drive us back to the hotel