It was so cold ...
We visited Puerto Natales during late spring (early December) and still it can be ‘winter’. Specially when visiting Torres del Paine or making a boat trip on Seno Ultima Esperanza it can be (very) cold. Besides the weather can change very quickly; during our visit we had rather sunny weather in the morning in Puerto Natales and in the afternoon near the glaciers it was cloudy, windy and very cold.
What to pack for Puerto Natales (and Patagonia)
Clothes: best to wear in layers
Wind- and waterproof jacket
Good shoes (specially if you intend to do some walking or hiking in Torres del Paine)
Hat/cap and gloves UV filter sun glasses
Sunscreen lotion, 30+ (the sun is very intensive, even if there are clouds) Enough space on your memory card.
Trail up to the Base of los Torres del Paine
The hike is pretty tough. The hike to the base of the Torres is the basic start to the W hike. From Hosteria Las Torres you ascend to Refugio and Camping Chileno, it takes about 1.5 hours if I can remember right. Then you continue to Campamiento Torres, which is a free, unserviced campsite. From Campamiento Torres you head up a valley to the base of the Torres. This part of the hike is pretty tough because its all uphill and on rocks. The base of the Torres is beautiful if you have a nice day, if it is cloudy and rainy it is crappy.
It took me about 7 hours roundtrip from the Hosteria Las Torres, that is with stopping for lunch and some time at the base.
The Glacier was born in the South ice field; it forms a mass of 4 km wide and 30 mts of height. You can take a boat in the Hosteria Grey that makes a navigation of the lake and the glacier lasts 3 hours and cost of 60$. Also there are other excursions where you can walk on the glacier the tour it is 8 hours walk.
Morena lagoon grey: it is where finishes the lake of the glacier, in the border concentrates icebergs that it gives off
The glacier and you can observe the glacier if you have good weather.
Nacido en el campo de hielo sur, forma una masa de 4 km de ancho y mas 30 mts de altura. Puedes tomar una lancha en la Hosteria Grey que realiza una navegación del lago y el glaciar dura 3 horas y con un costo de 60$. También hay otras excursiones donde puedes caminar sobre el glaciar 8 horas de caminata.
Morena del lago Grey: Una playa donde termina el lago del glaciar Grey, en la orilla se concentran témpanos de hielo que se desprende de el y puedes observar si tienes buen tiempo el glaciar.
The paine Horns
According to local myth, an evil serpent called Cai Cai caused a massive flood to kill the warrior tribe that lived in Torres del Paine. When the flood waters receded, Cai Cai took the bodies of the two largest warriors and turned them to stone -- thereby creating the twin horns that crown the mountaintop of Cuernos del Paine
Gateway to Torres del Paine NP
There was no way we were going to do the full circuit. I could pretend that time restrictions were getting tight and a variety of other excuses, Some partly true and some no so much. However, The "W" fitted the bill. We were doing it left to right, apparently more traditional way is teh other but, I prefer to walk towards "home". Better reason is that there is beer available at campimiento Torres, night 3!!!
We kitted ourselves out at the sister hostel to the one were staying in. Reasonable enough, Kit was good condition and my favourite Trangia stove was available, deal done. Bus ticket into park, Shopping for pasta, soup, dried fruits, chocolate. Take Plastic bags (and sac liner) as when it rains its getts everywhere. Ball of string and can opener seems to be the most useful items.
"Day One & Two"
Up early and off.
It was windy, very windy. Shale was horizontal, scratches on the glases and a cut on teh forehead to prove it. Whilst waiting for the boat saw waterfall and Carolyn was blown sideways.
Loaded onto boat nice hot cup of chocolate lovely.
Arrived and started the walk. Still windy but a little more shady.
3 hour walk to the refugo (grey) campsite. Hell I'll pay its an hour further to the free camp. Shared a carton on wine with Doug and Jess, freinds from the Inka trail. It was the thing to do. Doug had carried the thing round the circuit and it was thanks giving.
Weather crap. Misty and wet. the type of rain that guarantees ever part of you will be soaked through and cold.
Back down to where the boat landed, lunch of soup. Off to Italiano. This bit seemed to drag on. cold and wet.......
Great views up the valley towards Frances and Britanica.
Camping was free and i slept well. Rain and mist cleared late afternoon.
"Day Three & Four"
Weather Fantastic. Sunny and hot.
A Great days walking and drying out.
Condors circling the Massive beautiful day.
Couldn't get much more different from yesterday.
Great to rest feet in the Glacial melt.
Arrived at Campimento Torres, and then walked for another age to the campsite. Its out the other side of the hotel complex on the road out towards the park entrance. The refugio is further down the same road. Pay for this camping and keep the ticket, its the bus out to the coaches......
Carolyn returned from the shop with two large cold beers.....lovely girl.
Weather was ok, nothing either way.
The first part of the walk towards the torres is nasty. Seemed to go up at 45 degrees and take a long long time. Watch out for the smug hotel tourists on the horses. Rest of the days walk is nice.
Refill water bottles at the refugios.
Clouded over when we arrived at the campsite, sat out until it cleared so climbed to the Torres. Its a long way up over those boulders and even further down. Clouds were coming and going, day hikers had gone as it was late afternoon. Shared the view with two others. Spectacular and the view changed as teh clouds swirled all around.
Hiked out, met Doug and Jess on their way in. Waited for bus at the Campsite. Met Amy, another Inka trailer, as she trudged by with the "where the bloody hell is the refugio" look.
Back to hotel and restaurant......