When: 12-Apr-2019

Summary

  • Section: Camp Los Cuernos – Camp Central
  • Distance: 12km
  • Duration: 4.5h, including a small break
  • Steady up and down with little elevation gains and losses.
  • Took a shortcut off the path along the edges of the lake.
  • Camp Central is fully equipped with hot showers, bathrooms, a kitchen shelter. There’s a restaurant at the Las Torres hotel and a shop at the Welcome Center. Both within reach of a few minutes walking from the Central camp.

Difficulty Rating

Below is my personal grading of the track including some key points. Check out the intro page to the SB scale here if you want to know how I do the rating.
The overall difficulty rating for this track is (with 10 being the hardest): 4.2 / 10
This is made up of the following categories:

Category A: General - 4 / 10

Distance: 12km
Duration: 4.5h
Elevation gain/loss: After a slight elevation gain in the beginning it’s a moderate up and down until the camp.

Category B: Terrain - 4 / 10

During the shortcut we took we walked over some nasty sharp rocky underground. Some parts of the path were flooded from the rain and muddy.

Category C: Weather - 6 / 10

My very short notes for this day say “rainy, f**king windy”.
We decided to take a shortcut over a very set out section along the lake.
I was blown off my feet 3 times. When I say blown off I’m not exaggerating. I mean literally blown off my feet.

Category D: Special Conditions - 3 / 10

My backpack still makes up almost half of my body weight.
This is why I lost balance more than once trying to stand against winds constantly changing direction.

Category E: Individual Condition - 4 / 10

I started the day fully motivated and fit. We were ending an experience of a life time and all the energy from that was fueling me.
Then comes the windy section. That part was so exhausting that I arrived at camp completely tired and hurting from the pain landing full horn on above mentioned sharp rocks.
We actually had a quick stop at the Hotel Las Torres before camp so I could inspect and clean some of my wounds.

My Experience

Today is the day we return to the start of the tack. So exciting. The weather is not the best: rain, cold temperatures and, of course, wind.

I start the walk with a big fat smile on my face anyway. My butt has been kicked more than once during the last days. I’ve come to develop a major respect for weather. Gone is my naive and innocent “Let’s just start walking and see what happens” mentality. Well, not gone but I question it more often now.

This part of the track is also quite active with quite a few people passing us all day.

Christian is full of energy today. He has left us behind by a bit when Darryn and I arrive at an intersection of paths. “This looks like a shortcut on the map. Maybe we’ll even catch up with Christian again.” I remember Darryn saying.

Yes, shortcut it is. We will eventually somehow get ahead of Christian. But before this happens, I have another experience of how nasty wind can get. Really nasty.

We walk along the outer edges of Lake Nordernskjöld. For most of the time we follow something that could be a path. It leads across very rough and spiky rock fields. The wind is getting stronger and stronger. Water particles from the surface of the lake are picked up and thrown in the air. It’s an interesting thing to see.

 

 

During this section I don’t have much time to soak in the beautiful landscape. I’m busy keeping my feet on the ground. Trying to not fall or even “fly”. I need all my strength to fight the winds. They constantly change direction. This makes me loose my balance more than once.

Wind is coming from one side to start with. I slightly lean my body towards it because if I don’t, I fall with the wind. Within seconds the wind changes direction. I am either strong enough to keep my balance. Or I fall towards the direction I pushed my body to. The tricky wind coming from just anywhere now picks me up, my backpack acting like a kind of sail, and throws me for a couple meters. I fly, one could say. Not kidding. I loose complete control and concentrate on falling somewhat without being hurt. Out of the 3 times I can recount this happening, my attempts never work.

It’s just not possible to land without being hurt on the spiky rocks. I land on my knees, hips, arms, elbows, some parts bleeding. My backpack is clearly taking the side of the wind. The weight of it on me while falling to the ground is just another treat. After this happens for the third time, I’m so exhausted and tired that I just stay on the ground. My hands and knees to keep me where I am. I get angry and start screaming at the wind. Just when I thought I couldn't be anymore humbled...

For a second I don’t know how to continue. It took me a lot just to get as far as a couple hundred meters, at the most. I’m bleeding. Every inch of my body seems to hurt. I watch Darryn, who’s about a hundred meters ahead of me, also fighting it. He keeps on pushing it, every now and then doing a lunge to keep balance. If it wasn't for my own troubles, I'd probably smile at the sight.

I get up and use the bit of anger to push through.

We find something that serves as a shelter, enough to get some rest for the rest of the way to camp. Once we return from the fabulous shortcut back to the marked path, we see Christian. Behind us.

We have a stop at the Las Torres hotel, so I can clean up my wounds. And to have a snack. I’m still exhausted. We're finishing close to how we started, I guess. Why not, everybody can do easy.

 

 

The closer we get to the campground the more nervous I get about Murphy, my car. I remember how it was rocking back and forth during the night before we started the O-Circuit. My head is spinning around all kinds of scenarios about it being crashed into the fence and alike. The wind really got to me. Of course, everything is fine when I arrive at the parking lot later, Murphy still at the same spot where I left it.

The start of the O-Circuit is right next to the Camp Central where we are staying for our last night. A comfortable and warm feeling hits me when we arrive at the campground. I’m not fully aware in that moment yet of how much I’ve learned, especially about myself, during the past few days. But it’ll hit me in the upcoming rest days.

We go to bed early this night because our plan is to be at the viewpoint at Base de Las Torres by sunrise the next morning. In theory...

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