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Patagonia, Chile

Two Week Trip

Dec 5 - Dec 16, 2020 -- $2400 ★★★

Patagonia: Iconic, incredible and waiting for you. The Patagonia region of Chile is the home of some of the most beautiful and amazing natural terrain in the world. Our 10 day trip will traverse the internationally famous Torres Del Paine National Park (Parque Nacion al Torres del Paine). We will be backpacking one the world's classic treks, the so-called "O Circuit". Whether it's Grey Glacier, Gardener Pass or the Towers themselves, the route is a continual visual treat.


Our journey will begin in Punta Arenas, Chile where we'll stay in a trekker friendly lodge/hostel (TBD) and spend the night. The next day, we'll leave early and take 2 different shuttle coaches to the park at Laguna Amarga where we'll begin our hike. We'll hike a loop around the entire park (The so-called "O" Circuit) ending up back at Las Torres 9 days later. On our last day, we'll day-hike to the eponymous Las Torres themselves to cap off this wonderful expediation.


Highlights of the trip include the immense Grey Glacier (Glaciar Grey), Lago (lake) Paine, Lago Dickson, Lago Grey, and the picturesque towers (Torres) themselves. The trek will be difficult at times with some long days of hiking, lots of elevation change and unpredictably powerful winds ' and weather.


The views will be unmatched and one night will be spent at a “Refugio” that offers beds, dinner, breakfast, showers and flush toilets (luxuries that are not unavailable on many Fatpacking trips). Expect to meet trekkers from all over the world. This trip will have a truly international flair. Patagonia is a life list destination for most everyone. Is this the year you finally go?



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. IMPORTANT: BE PREPARED FOR INTENSE WIND! The wind in Patagonia can be strong and unpredictable and will lower the effective temperatures markedly. Make sure you have some kind of durable wind-stopping outer layer, plus warm inner layers.


That said, it's late Spring in Chile, so expect daytime hiking temperatures in the low 60s (18-C) and nighttime temperatures in the upper 40s (7-C). However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures into the 80s (> 25-C) and nighttime temperatures below freezing (< 0-C). Also be prepared for rain, which may happen all day long or not at all. Here is the historical weather.



Trip Leaders

Dan Shafto
Don Johnson


Cost

$2400 per person. You will be sharing a room with at least one and maybe several participants (or possibly strangers) during the hostel and refugio nights. Although we will attempt to keep the group together in various lodging arrangements, you may find yourself in a dormitory style room with trekkers from another country. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ), personal equipment and any restaurant meals (except for Refugio Grey and Refugio Los Cuernow).


Covered expenses include 2 hostel nights, 1 refugio night, 2 refugio meals, campground fees, 10 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, and 2 awesome guides.



Important Notes

This trip requires a minimum of 3 participants to run


Patagonia is extremely far South and our trip is near the Summer Solstice, so expect it to be light out for 20 or more hours per day.



Difficulty

The trails through Patagonia are well defined and often of moderate elevation but are sometimes steep, muddy or snowy. Most days are under 10 miles which is fairly moderate, so this trek might normally be rated at 3 star difficulty. However because of weather, specifically the threat of up to 100MPH winds, it can be a real challenge. However make no mistake that the Paine Circuit is an immensely rewarding trek with an international flair.


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Packing List
Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
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Itinerary


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Fly into Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ). Note: The time zone is 1 hour later than Eastern Time (New York) and 4 hours later than the Pacific Time Zone (Los Angeles). Expect the flights to take 24 hours from the USA.


The best time to arrive in Punta Arena is around Noon so we can shake down your pack and make sure you are outfitted properly for a safe and comfortable trip. In order to do this, you may want to fly into Chile a day early just to make sure everything arrives successfully. However, if you been on a Fatpacking trip before or are in close contact with us as the trip approaches, you can show up later in the day.


Please note that flights are limited and likely expensive. To save money, you may want to piece together your trip via Sky Airline through Santiago Chile, Lima Peru, La Paz Bolivia or even Colombia since you have to go through customs and re-check your baggage anyway. Otherwise, you would probably use LAN Chile


Take a shuttle from the airport-- Public Bus 3000 CLP ($4+), shared shuttle 4000 CLP (< $6) or taxi 7000 ($10) -- to our local trekker friendly hostel TBD


Equipment shakedown to make sure no vital piece of equipment is missing.


Go to Tienda Grado Zero, outfitter store in Zona Franca Tax Free Zone, Punta Arenas, Av. Bulnes Km. 3.5 Norte Errazuriz 880 - Punta Arenas to rent or purchase last minute equipment.


Alternate: Go to outfitter store in Zona Franca Tax Free Zone, Punta Arenas, Av. Bulnes Km. 3.5 Norte (6200000) Punta Arenas, Tel: +56 61 21-6666 / 21-3311 to rent or purchase last minute equipment. There may be closer options than Zona Franca.


Trail mix distribution


"Before" measurements taken


Kickoff dinner (not included in trip cost)




Sunday, December 6, 2020

Second set of "before" measurements taken


Free breakfast in Hostel


Board a motor coach to Puerto Natales, either Buses Fernandez at 7AM or 8AM (arrives 10AM or 11AM) or Bus-Sur at 7AM (arrives 10:15AM).


Bus cost is included in trip cost


When we arrive in Puerto Natales, head over to The Singing Lamb Hostel ARAUCO 779, Puerto Natales, Chile, Ph: 0056 61 410958 to drop off your gear for storage until we come off the trail.


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and placed in storage. Although we have never had a problem, please do not bring anything too valuable as the hostel does not guarantee full security of our things.


We will provide lunch on the bus

Board a motor coach headed to Torres Del Paine at 12:00PM (included in trip cost): Bus-Sur to the park entrance at Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lake) that arrives at 2:00PM (14:00).


Start hiking on the dirt road at Laguna Amarga Guard Station, elevation 140 m. (460')


Hike a relatively flat 12 km to Campamento Seron, the scenery is mostly broad plains and streams, with the occasional glimpse of the Rio Paine.


Camp at Campamento Seron, which has flush toilets, elevation 375 m. (1230')


Total Elevation gained/lost 215 m. (705') [No, this doesn't add up correctly]


Distance Today: 12 Km (7.2 mi). Total: 12 Km (7.2 mi)


Possible bailout: Laguna Amarga


Monday, December 7, 2020

Hike 18.2 km (11.3 mi) to Camping Lago Dickson (our longest day distance-wise).


The path skirts broad, possibly waterlogged river flats before a gradual climb up to a panoramic view of Lago Paine.


Gradually descend to views of glacier-crowned Cerro Paine Chico to the West.


Camp at Camping Lago Dickson, hot coin-op showers and flush toilets available to hikers, elevation 200 m. (660')


Total Elevation gained/lost 185 m. (610')


Distance Today: 18.2 Km (11.3 mi). Total: 30.2 Km (18.5 mi)


Possible bailout: Over one day away from Hoster?a Las Torres


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Hike 9.2 Km to Campamento Los Perros


The hike begins in low forest along the steep embankment of “the river of dogs” (Rio de los Perros).


Long flat stretches may offer a photo opportunity of wild orchids and views of glaciers calving into the Laguna de los Perros.


Camp at the forested Campamento los Perros, with a store, cold showers and toilets, elevation 600 m. (1970')


Total Elevation gained/lost 440 m. (1440')


Distance Today: 9.2 Km (5.7 mi). Total: 39.4 Km (24.2 mi)


Possible bailout: No good options. A zero day (no travel) is possible here if necessary


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Hike 12 Km to Campamento Paso


Leave early to allow as much daylight as possible to climb up and over the Gardner Pass


Today’s terrain is very exposed and many sections may be snowy, muddy or both and could be difficult.


Your reward for this arduous trek is sweeping vistas of the Grey glacier at the top of John Gardner, 1220m.(4000').


Hike down the steep backside of Gardner Pass through snow fields to the Campamento Paso.


Camp at the forested Campamento Paso with squat toilets and a 3 sided-shelter, elevation 600 m. (1970')


Total Elevation gained/lost 750 m. (2460')


Distance Today: 12 Km (7.5 mi). Total: 51.4 Km (31.7 mi)


Possible bailout: Boats at Refugio Grey.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Hike 9.2 Km to Refugio Grey


Leave early to avoid the high water that can result from glacier melt during the day.


Several water crossings today and many views of Glacier Grey.


Hike to Refugio Grey & enjoy amazing vistas of the glacier from a small lake, several opportunities to explore the glacier are available.


Refugio night at Refugio Grey, that some consider the nicest lodging on the Paine Circuit, elevation 90 m. (300')


We will be staying in dorm-style rooms inside the refugio and be served an included lodge dinner. We will provide our own breakfast however.


Total Elevation gained/lost 440 m. (1430')


Distance Today: 9.2 Km (5.7 mi). Total: 60.6 Km (37.4 mi)


Possible bailout: Boats at Refugio Grey.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Hike 10.8 Km to Paine Grande


Today's trek is one of the most popular (and maybe the most picturesque) sections of the park


Cross over the top of a large waterfall and hike along a muddy and very scenic landscape to The Paine Mountain Lodge


The lodge offers daily catamaran trips over to Pudeto, depending on our timing we may get the chance to take this trip. (Not included in trip cost).


Camp at Camping Paine Grande, internet, bar and expensive cafeteria available, elevation 50 m. (160')


Total Elevation gained/lost 430 m. (1410')


Distance Today: 10.8 Km (6.7 mi). Total: 71.4 Km (44.1 mi)


Possible bailout: Boats at Paine Mountain Lodge.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Hike 7.7 km to Campamento Italiano


Optional Day-Hike about 3km to French Valley Viewpoint, an enormous glacier


Hike 4.7 km to Refugio Los Cuernos


Platform camp at Camping Los Cuernos, with 24 hour hot water, shared bathrooms and a tiny store, elevation 65 m. (210')


Full Sit-Down Refugio Dinner Included


Total Elevation gained/lost 300 m. (980')


Distance Today: 12.4 Km (7.7 mi). Total: 83.8 Km (51.8 mi)


Possible bailout: Hoster?a Las Torres.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Hike 15 Km to Campamento Chileno


Camp at Campamento Chileno, elevation 418 m. (1370')


Total Elevation gained 340 m. (1100')


Distance Today: 15 Km (9.3 mi). Total: 95.8 Km (61.1 mi)


Possible bailout: Hoster?a Las Torres


Monday, December 14, 2020

Day-Hike 11.0 Km round trip to Base Las Torres for iconic views of the towers


Distance Today: 11 Km (6.8 mi). Total: 106.8 Km (67.9 mi)


Total Elevation gained/lost 1520 m. (4990')


Camp at Campamento Chileno, elevation 418 m. (1370')


Possible bailout: Hoster?a Las Torres


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Backpack 4.0 km back to Camping Las Torres, elevation 140 m. (460')


Distance Today: 4.0 Km (2.5 mi). Total: 110.8 Km (68.8 mi)


Possible bailout: Hoster?a Las Torres


End of Hiking


Take Hosteria Las Torres minibus to Laguna Amarga


Take 14:30 (2:30PM) Buses Gomez bus to Puerto Natales. There is most likely an earlier bus (10AM or 12Noon) that runs from Laguna Amarga. Our group boarded a similar unlisted bus in 2012


Check into The Singing Lamb Hostel ARAUCO 779, Puerto Natales, Chile, Ph: 0056 61 410958


After measurements taken


Go out to dinner (not included in trip cost) and awards Ceremony



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Check out of the Singing Lamb


Take an early bus to Punta Arenas


Shuttle to Airport. We will have detailed information about how to do this.


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This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.