Torres del Paine Trek

8 Days in Patagonia / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$3,850.00

About this trip

Experience glaciers, mountains, glacier 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.

      • Head

      • Kaenon Klay 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 recommended (Chums or Croakies).

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      • Patagonia Lined Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that your beanie fits under a helmet. We also recommend the Marmot Summit Hat.

        Buy at Backcountry.com
      • Marmot PreCip Baseball Hat

        A great hat to help keep the sun out of your eyes and keep you cool on warm days.

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      • Hands

      • Marmot Windstopper glove

        You will rarely take these gloves off.  They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.

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      • Feet

      • LaSportiva Bushido hiking shoe

        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. High top hiking boots are heavy and unnecessary.

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      • Darn Tough 1/4 cushion hiking sock

        These are your every day sock, good for day hikes, trekking and town days.

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      • Upper Body

      • Icebreaker long sleeve Top

        A merino or poly-pro base layer that you will wear often. Fitted, light-weight and quick drying.

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      • Marmot Minimalist 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. PacLite® is preferred for lightweight.

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      • Marmot ROM softshell jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation.

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      • Patagonia Nanopuff jacket

        Warmer than your expedition weight top, but not as extreme as your big puffy jacket. Full zip is recommended.

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      • Patagonia R1 hoody

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will wear often. Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation.

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      • Patagonia tropic comfort hoody

        This lite weight hoody has become a guide favorite for almost every day spent in the mountains. This layer can be worn on hot or cold days, and shields you from the sun during long hours spent outside.

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      • Icebreaker Tech Lite shirt

        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.  We have found that merino wool is the superior material for base layers, as they regulate body temperature very well, and are extremely odor resistant.

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      • Lower Body

      • Marmot Minimalist Pant

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets.

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      • Marmot Scree Pant

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot.

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      • Patagonia expedition weight bottoms

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures.

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      • Icebreaker long underwear

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. This base-layer will get you through a wide range of temperatures. NO COTTON.

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      • Patagonia 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.

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      • Equipment

      • Nalgene 1 liter water bottle

        Two Lexan 1 liter, wide mouth bottles.

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      • Black Diamond Trekking Poles

        Must be collapsible poles. Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. You must have at least one, but we recommend 2.

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      • Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required.. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp.

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      • Marmot Col sleeping bag

        Rated to -20º 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: Granite Gear Compression Sack.

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      • Therm-a-rest NeoAir Therm sleeping pad

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

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      • Marmot Long Hauler Duffel

        These bags should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big! 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.

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      • Black Diamond Speed 50 pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. This pack should be comfortable, lightweight and fitted to your body.

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    • 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!

Meet your guides

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is a fully certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Torres del Paine Trek