Torres del Paine Trek

8 Days in Patagonia / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$3,850.00

About this trip

Experience glaciers, mountains, glacial lakes, and flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on earth. Alpenglow uses an extensive lodge and camp system, allowing for a true mountain experience. Spend a day on the glacier, learning the basics of walking in crampons and using an ice axe.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    8 Days

Patagonia is an area of the world that defies description. Sitting at the southern tip of South America, it is a land of extremes, where massive storms whip off the Pacific and create huge glaciers, sculpted mountains, deep glacier lakes, and flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on earth. The Torres del Paine national park is the jewel of Patagonia, and one of the most incredible parks in the world.

Our Torres del Paine trekking trip visits this impressive region of Patagonia, and combines travel by private vans with supported trekking. Walking is the only way to really experience Patagonia. While we are able to explore areas of the national park far from roads and tour buses, an extensive lodge and camp system means we do not need to carry heavy packs. Each night we will have meals in the lodges (and then sleep outside in quiet and clean permanent tents) that are scattered throughout the park, where we finish long days of walking and exploring in front of roaring fireplaces.

Our 10-day expedition takes full advantage of all that the region has to offer. We begin in Punta Arenas, a town famed as a starting point for countless Antarctic expeditions. From there we head into the national park, trekking for 3 days to the base of and then around the Torres del Paine, jagged granite towers that have become the icon of Patagonia. Three days gives us time to see these incredible mountains from all sides, and to explore the different ecological zones that exist on each. The towers are a photographer’s dream!

Leaving the towers, we explore two of the region’s largest lakes, Lake Grey and Lake Pehoe. Each have glaciers that come off of the mountains all the way into the lakes, where pieces regularly break off to become floating icebergs. And since Alpenglow is a mountaineering guide service, those interested will have the unusual opportunity to spend a day on the glacier, learning the basics of walking in crampons and using an ice axe. Exploring a huge Patagonian glacier will give you a view into the icy world that covers much of Patagonia. And two trips across the lake by boat will give us another unique view of the park, and a way to explore the huge floating icebergs. Finally we return to civilization, by boat and then van, to Punta Natales, a small town on Last Hope Sound.

Our Patagonia adventure is designed for anyone interested in exploring this incredible place on foot. No backpacking, mountaineering, or hiking experience is required. Participants should be in good physical condition, and able to walk on rugged trails. Our longest day might include up to eight hours of walking. We would be happy to provide you with recommendations on how best to get ready for your expedition.

Trekking in Patagonia is extremely remote. Choosing to travel with an experienced guide and guide service will increase both your safety and your enjoyment of this mountainous region. We combine our North American guides’ experience with the local expertise of one of Patagonia’s best logistics operators. This ensures we have the best in private transportation, food, and lodging and that your experience will be one you will never forget!

Preparation

  • Fitness

    Being in top physical shape not only gets you through each day of trekking, but makes it fun!

    • Day 1 — Arrival

      Arrive into Punta Arenas, where we meet you at the airport. Punta Arenas is one of the southernmost ports in the world, and a starting point for Antarctic expeditions. We spend the afternoon exploring this historic town, and spend the evening in one of Punta Arenas’ nicer hotels.

    • Day 2 — Drive to Puerto Natales

      We leave Punta Arenas, driving by private van to the Seno Otway Penguin Colony Reserve. After lunch and time exploring the penguin colony, we continue our drive through semi-arid plains to Puerto Natales, just outside Torres del Paine National Park.

    • Day 3 — Trek to Torres del Paine

      Today we enter the park and trek seven hours round-trip to the base of the Torres del Paine. These are some of the largest granite spires in the world, and we enjoy stunning views from our trek. Tonight is spent at the Chileno Lodge, inside the park.

    • Day 4 — Trek to Los Cuernos Lodge

      Our 5 hour trek takes us around the towers to the banks of Lake Nordenskjold and the Los Cuernos Lodge. From here, we have views of the towers behind the lake.

    • Day 5 — Trek through France Valley

      Today we trek through the France Valley, deep into the National Park. This area sees far fewer visitors than the more easily accessible trails, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful valley in Patagonia. Six hours of walking takes us to our lodge on the shores of Lake Pehoe.

    • Day 6 — Trek to Grey Lake

      In the morning we take a short trek to our lodge on Grey Lake. After an early lunch we take a Zodiac boat to the tongue of the Grey Glacier. We don crampons and spend the afternoon exploring the ice, crossing a small section of the glacier, and, for the adventurous, trying some steeper ice climbing on the glacier’s seracs. This is a unique opportunity that few visitors to Patagonia will experience!

    • Day 7 — Move to Puerto Natales

      This morning we take a larger boat to the southern end of Grey Lake, spending time wandering among the floating icebergs that have separated from the hanging glaciers. On the south side of the lake, our van meets us and transfers us to Puerto Natales on the shores of Last Hope Sound. Here we have a celebration dinner and spend our last night in a hotel on the Sound.

    • Day 8 — Departure

      After breakfast we transfer to Punta Arenas to catch our flights home. Flights to the USA generally leave in the afternoon and fly via Santiago.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Beanie

      • Neck Gaiter (Buff)

        A multi purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Buff

      • Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours. Recommended: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Revoi Guide II

      • Hands and Feet

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON. Recommended: Ice Breaker Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. Recommended: La Sportiva Bushido Hiking Shoes

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution IR 1/4 Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Quick Dry Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Short

      • Trekking Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose a breathable and water resistant pant. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayer Pants

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Insulated Pants (optional)

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is required. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Duffle Bags

        2 Duffle Bags - At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big - between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don't recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It's common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Sleeping Bag (0°)

        Rated to 0º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • Inflatable Sleeping Pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad. Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Backpack 35-45 Liters

        Internal frame pack that is between 35 and 45 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Alchemist 40 Pack, or Black Diamond Mission 35 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

      • Trekking Pole(s)

        Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. Recommended: Black Diamond Trail Explorer 3 Trekking Poles

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Plastic Bowl, Mug and Spoon

        A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You'll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon. Recommended Kit: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit

      • Coffee

        While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains! Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        -Passport (with visa, if necessary

        -2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)

        -Non-cotton underwear

        -Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace

        -Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4)

        -Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear

        -Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)

        -Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)

        -Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)

        -Toiletries

        -3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)

        -Hand Warmers

      • In Town Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Packing Note

        For your international flights we recommend that you pack all of your equipment in your two duffle bags. Do not simply pack your backpack (since its straps can be damaged by baggage handling machines). It is important to lock these bags for their trip. Depending on airport, you may be able to put your travel locks on after they have been searched. If not, lock the bag with zip ties. If the TSA cuts off the zip tie to search your bag, they will replace it. You will still need travel locks to lock your bags in the hotel and in Basecamp. Generally, you will take one duffle to Basecamp, and leave one in the hotel with your belongings for town.

    • Would you consider putting together a custom Patagonian Trek?

      We always love putting together custom expeditions. This creates more flexibility in your schedule and also provides for the best experience. Call or email to get the conversation started!

    • Do I really need to purchase trip and rescue insurance?

      We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance, and we require rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance .

Jaime Avila

Jaime is Alpenglow Expeditions’ senior lead guide. A native Ecuadorian, Jaime has been guiding and climbing throughout South America and the world for twenty years. He has successfully led groups on challenging routes like the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam (Nepal), the Shield Route of Huascaran (Peru), the Polish Direct on Aconcagua (Argentina), and El Altar (Ecuador). We have been guiding, climbing, and traveling with Jaime since 1998 and the feedback from members is always the same: there is no better teammate. Whether climbing a tough ice route, humping a huge pack, or stuck in a storm, Jaime will keep you laughing, learning, and glad to be in the mountains. He is an ASEGUIM / IFMGA certified mountain guide.

 

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Gaspar Navarrete

Gaspar hails from Ecuador, and has been guiding for over 18 years, and climbing since he was 12. He has extensive experience in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, Aconcagua, the Himalaya, the Cascades, the Alps and the Pyrenees. Gaspar has established new routes in both Ecuador and Bolivia. As an active instructor with the Ecuadorian School for Mountain Guides, he has trained in Ecuador, Bolivia and France. He is a Wilderness First Responder, and has spent a great deal of time working at high altitude.

Gaspar joined one of Quito’s oldest climbing clubs at a young age, which gave him the opportunity to mentor under very experienced climbers. He considers the Andes, including Patagonia, his home, and he love to share his enthusiasm for the mountains, the Andean traditions, food and culture with his guests.

Gaspar is an ASEGUIM/IFMGA mountain guide

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Ignacio “Nacho” Espinosa Andrade

Nacho was born in Ecuador and started to climb at the age of 12. After that Nacho climbed continuously in Ecuador leading expeditions and people to the summit of the Ecuadorian Andes for the last 15 years. He is a very active guide in the Cordillera Blanca range of the Peruvian Andes where he has been an active guide for the past 10 years.

He started his formal mountain guide training with the Ecuadorian Mountain Guide Association where he received the ASEGUIM certification. After that he continued his process in Bolivia where, with the support of the alpinism French school ENSA,  he received the UIAGM/IFMGA certification. He is also a WFR certified guide and for 5 years has been an instructor for the ESGUIM, the local mountain guide school.

Among his long list of climbs the biggest highlights are ascents in Peru like the South Face of Piramide de Garcilazo, South Face of Caraz I, West Face of Cayesh, and the South Face of Chacraraju Este. He also has notable climbs in  Bolivia like the West Face of Huayna Potosi in 4 hours and 30 minutes and the British Route of Hallomen in the Condoriri Masiff.

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Torres del Paine Trek

Torres del Paine Trek

Experience glaciers, mountains, glacial lakes, and flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on earth. Alpenglow uses an extensive lodge and camp system, allowing for a true mountain experience. Spend a day on the glacier, learning the basics of walking in crampons and using an ice axe.