When: 13-Apr-2019

Summary

  • Distance: 20km
  • Duration: 9h, including a very long break of at least 2h at the Chileno Lodge
  • 750m of elevation gain from Camp Central Sur to the Base de las Torres lookout. This stretches over a distance of 10km one way.
  • The trip up to the Torres mirador was a round trip for us.
  • From Central to Chileno it is 5.5km with an elevation gain of 360m.
  • This section is well-marked.

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): 4.8 / 10
This is made up of the following categories:

Category A: General - 8 / 10

Distance: 20km, round trip
Duration: 9h
Elevation gain/loss: 750m from Camp Central Sur to the Base de las Torres lookout over a distance of 10km.

Category B: Terrain - 6 / 10

Gravel, nice pathways, very muddy bits, forest ground, small river crossings, steep and big rocks to climb over. The rocky parts had to be taken with extra care due to being covered in snow.
It looked like a winter wonderland.

Category C: Weather - 6 / 10

We started at 5am with rain and cold.
The closer we came to the top rain turned into snow.
Temperatures were dropping the higher we were.
Windy at the top.

Category D: Special Conditions - 3 / 10

Walked today's hike with day bag.

Category E: Individual Condition - 1 / 10

Except for the weather and being completely soaked most of the time this walk seemed fairly easy due to only having a day bag.
I'm psyched and driven by the last days and finishing of this experience.

My Experience

It takes more effort to get up and ready this morning. My whole body aches from the involuntary flying lessons yesterday. The early morning and the pitch black night don’t help either. It’s raining and cold. But we’re aiming for a nice sunrise at the Torres del Paine towers. So we put on our headlights and get going.

Despite the nasty weather we arrive at the Chileno Lodge within the estimated time plan. The three of us are soaked from the rain. We decide to take a break, have a coffee and dry our clothes for a bit.

 

 

Being cold we decide to stretch the break and have a maté to warm up. As we talk and look at the weather outside, we start doubting the possibility of any views at the top. It gets brighter outside. For a brief moment we consider to skip going up to the top entirely given there may not be any views.

I don’t want to miss out on the last day’s hike. Who knows if I ever get the chance to come here again? Darryn agrees. Christian is contemplating but decides to wait at the lodge for our return.

Still waiting for the clothes to get drier, we’re having another maté session. Christian eventually decides to give it a go and come with us. He will be more than happy about his decision later on.

We won’t have any views of the three torres when we arrive at the top. Still, we agree this is one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve had. Just before the tree line everything turns white. Big fluffy snowflakes are coming from the sky. We walk through a winter wonderland all the way to the top. I have a big fat smile on my face but this time it stays.

We brought ourselves some “summit” beers that we enjoy at the top. We see a little bit of the famous laguna and a tiny bit of the bottom of the mountain range, no Torres in sight. We don’t care. We keep joking about the awesome sunrise we’re witnessing. I use our empty beer cans to build some towers, so we can have our own Torres del Paine viewpoint picture.

Views or not, I wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s millions and millions of pictures having been taken from this viewpoint. If I want to look at something pretty, I can give it a quick google But none of the pictures will give me the experience that I went through.

 

 

When I look at some of the beautiful pictures I’ve taken throughout the entire hike, I think to myself “Nice, beautiful shot.”

Yet, it’s videos and images like the ones from crossing John Gardner Pass or this final day that bring back all the emotions. When it’s not only “Nice shot” but “Wow, that was tough!” The memory of that experience floating through the entire body. I still feel how cold my hands were the first day. How much it hurt to fall on those sharp rocks on day 8. Even the bruises I’ve had from it for weeks after the track.

I also feel how much easier everything became after these experiences. How appreciation and gratitude for simple things has grown much stronger.

On our way back down we’re so psyched that we run for most parts, racing each other like kids.

The O-Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park still holds a special place in my heart.

It’s April 13th, 2019 when we pack our stuff into Murphy and head back to Puerto Natales. Christian will leave South America in a couple days. This track was one of the last experiences with each other for a while. Darryn and I eventually end up traveling together.

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