Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patagonia

A forum that'll feed your need for exploring the limitless adventure possibilities found in "other" places. Post trip reports or ask questions about outdoor adventures beyond the Sierra Nevada here.
User avatar
jartelt
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:52 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patagonia

Post by jartelt » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:19 pm

My wife and I traveled down to Patagonia in the second half of December and did a 9 day backpacking trip in Torres del Paine National Park. We hiked what is known as the Circuit Trek. It circumnavigates around the park and provides some really amazing views. I wrote up a full trip report with all my pictures and everything I learned, which can be accessed here: https://backpackers-review.com/trip-rep ... e-circuit/

The trek is 80 miles in length and has about 16,500 feet of elevation gain. We did at a fairly leisure pace and really enjoyed ourselves. Here are some of the highlights!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by jartelt on Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.








User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10609
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by maverick » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:03 pm

Thank you for posting the very informative TR with the wonderful pictures. Really enjoyed the shots with the wildflower fields and the peaks in the background, and the one taken at the lake near the base of Torres del Paine with the rainbow. :nod:
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1918
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by balzaccom » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:57 pm

Great report! We were on the Argentina side of Patagonia in February and loved it.

Looks like you had reasonably good weather----as we know people who had seven days of solid rain on that trip!
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
jartelt
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:52 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by jartelt » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Thanks for the kind comments! Yes, we were overall lucky with weather. We only got rained once or twice while hiking and got snowed on once (but the snow was kind of fun!). For the rest of the trek, it conveniently started raining after we arrived at one of the refugios or after we had set up our tent. This allowed us to be sheltered when it did the typical Patagonia sideways rain/sleet. We met several people who got stuck at the John Gardner Pass because of bad weather and it sounded like they had a terrible time with rain. They only left 2 days before us and had a totally different experience!

User avatar
LMBSGV
Topix Expert
Posts: 748
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:42 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: San Geronimo, CA
Contact:

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by LMBSGV » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:35 pm

A great report of a magnificent place on our planet that few of us will ever get the opportunity to experience. I also liked your website. Thank you.

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 572
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by wildhiker » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:19 am

I read the introductory parts of your complete trip report - I'm saving the rest for later. I'm struck by the difference from our hike just 3 years earlier! We were at Torres del Paine from Dec 26-30, 2014. We hiked the "W" on the south side over 4 days. No reservations were needed for camping. We just headed out and showed up at the campgrounds, whether CONAF (free) or private. I must say that the campgrounds were crowded. Campamento Italiano in particular had about 200 tents in a few acres! Perhaps now that they are on a reservation system, they won't be as crowded?

The other difference between your hike and ours was weather. It truly is extremely variable. We had no wind for our entire trip! And only one day of rain. Lots of clouds swirling around, but they usually parted quickly to reveal the peaks. We had pretty warm weather - warm enough to hike in t-shirt and shorts a couple of days. And none of that fresh snow that we see in your photos. We ran into hikers completing the O circuit like you did who told us that the word they got was that the first three weeks of December 2014 were pretty much continuous wind-driven rain. So, you really take your chances down there in Patagonia. We lucked out. Sounds like you had reasonable weather overall. But nothing like our predictably good Sierra Nevada weather.

I must say I'm glad we did our hike at Torres del Paine. The landscape is truly spectacular, rising up 9,000 feet directly from the big lakes to the tops of the peaks. With glaciers!

-Phil

User avatar
gary c.
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1272
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Lancaster, CA

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by gary c. » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:12 am

Beautiful!!
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

User avatar
The Other Tom
Founding Member
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:06 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Upstate South Carolina

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by The Other Tom » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:27 am

Great report. Thanks!

User avatar
jartelt
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:52 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by jartelt » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:16 am

Yes, it seems as though they have implemented many changes in the last couple years. We heard the campsites had simply gotten too overcrowded, and the park was being damaged as a result. They seem to be enforcing the new rules fairly strictly, though the information that is out there about quotas and reservations is confusing and lacking. The most annoying rule for us was that you can only use your stoves in designated mess tents. I am not sure when they implemented this rule, but it's a bummer when you want to cook outside next to your personal tent and take in the beautiful scenery!

The weather was certainly unpredictable for us. It definitely took some getting used to! Being used to California backpacking, we were anticipating that we would be able to hang out at camp and be comfortable for several hours after dinner. Instead, we ended up going to bed early every night because we were too cold (even with multiple layers and a down jacket on)!
wildhiker wrote:I read the introductory parts of your complete trip report - I'm saving the rest for later. I'm struck by the difference from our hike just 3 years earlier! We were at Torres del Paine from Dec 26-30, 2014. We hiked the "W" on the south side over 4 days. No reservations were needed for camping. We just headed out and showed up at the campgrounds, whether CONAF (free) or private. I must say that the campgrounds were crowded. Campamento Italiano in particular had about 200 tents in a few acres! Perhaps now that they are on a reservation system, they won't be as crowded?

The other difference between your hike and ours was weather. It truly is extremely variable. We had no wind for our entire trip! And only one day of rain. Lots of clouds swirling around, but they usually parted quickly to reveal the peaks. We had pretty warm weather - warm enough to hike in t-shirt and shorts a couple of days. And none of that fresh snow that we see in your photos. We ran into hikers completing the O circuit like you did who told us that the word they got was that the first three weeks of December 2014 were pretty much continuous wind-driven rain. So, you really take your chances down there in Patagonia. We lucked out. Sounds like you had reasonable weather overall. But nothing like our predictably good Sierra Nevada weather.

I must say I'm glad we did our hike at Torres del Paine. The landscape is truly spectacular, rising up 9,000 feet directly from the big lakes to the tops of the peaks. With glaciers!

-Phil

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 572
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Trip report - Circuit trek in Torres del Paine NP, Patag

Post by wildhiker » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:32 am

They had the "cook only in the designated shelter" rule when we were there in 2014, too. I think it was because of the fire danger. Because it is usually so windy, the vegetation dries out quickly after any rain, and any little spark or ember can start a fire. I believe that the big fire in 2012 was caused by a campfire that got away.
-Phil

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests