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W CIRCUIT IN TORRES DEL PAINE
The 'W' is the circuit of the most important trails of the Torres del Paine National Park from the Base of Las Torres and the fantastic treks along the Valle del Francés and the Valle del Lago Grey.
10 days - 9 nights

The Park forms part of the Chilean National System of Wild Protected Areas created on the 13th May 1959 and declared by UNESCO as a Biospheric Reserve in 1978. The 'W' of Las Torres is the most famous circuit. Las Torres del Paine are huge blocks of granite originated by the laccolithic outcropping of fiery rock that with the passing of time have suffered erosion from glaciers, wind and water. It is made up of three towers, La Torre Central of 2,600 metres, La Torre Norte of 2,600 metres and La Torre del Sur the highest of 2,850 metres.

The 'W' route is formed by the three most important sections of the Park:

Base de Las Torres
This is the most well known trek and hence the most walked. We go by the River Ascensio Valley crossing the river by an old hanging bridge. Further on the trail splits where to the left the trail goes to the Base de Las Torres and to the right to Los Cuernos. We take the left trail that entails a steep climb before we descend into the valley. We later go through a forest of lengas that is on a more gentle slope and passes a number of springs. When we arrive at a second turn off the slope becomes significantly more pronounced and the path loses its outline in the rocky ground. Here we get to 700 metres above sea level and arrive at the eastern point of the lagoon where there are excellent views of Las Torres and the Peineta and Nido de Cóndores (Condor's Nest) Mountains.

Frances Valley
This section is walked over two days and is easier with slight inclinations. Here it is possible to see the condors. The trail over the second stage is very pretty, bordering the Nordenskjöld Lake with little slope and some impressive views. On the way we leave behind the Admirante Nieto Mountain and descend to the edge of the Lake. Before we arrive at the Los Cuernos Camping site we have to pass a complicated zig zag section. On the first night we sleep at the Los Cuernos Refuge which is smaller than that of el Torres and is found at the base of Cuerno Este (2,200 metres). The next day, before we arrive at the Italian Camp we encounter another zig zag section. Passing the Italian Refuge we follow the path descending down to the border of the Skottberg Lake (here we can take a detour of 6,500 metres to the British Camp in order to see the very impressive views of the Valle del Francés). On our route we are able to see the Paine Grande Mountain with its 3,0000 metre height. In the ascent we can see the Francés Glacier and then we enter the valley through a forest..

Grey Glacier Valley
One of the most spectacular days is produced by the sightings of the amazing Grey Glacier. It is a day of walking that does not present many difficulties because in part we border the Grey Lake in order to reach the viewpoint. Following an important descent we pass through a forest that leaves us in the Grey camp site. In resumé, the traditional 'W' circuit of las Torres assures that we walk the three most important valleys of the Park: the Torre Valley, the Francés Valley (Cuernos del Paine and Paine Grande) and the Grey Glacier Valley.

The combination of mountains, lakes, glaciers with legendary nothofagus (coihue) forests and native wildlife go together to make an extraordinary scenario for this classic trekking. We arrive by the Guarderia Laguna Amarga of the National Park and camp at the Las Torres Camp site. The first trail is to the Las Torres Base crossing the River Ascencio Valley. We then continue until the second valley, el Francés. From las Torres we go to Los Cuernos del Paine where we can observe the Nordenskjöld Lake and we finish the circuit by walking the third valley, the Grey Glacier Valley. .

 


El Calafate

Reception at the El Calafate Airport and transfer to the hostel or inn, according to the chosen accommodation.

Lodging Hostel double or triple room with private bathroom.
Meals we provide
Cena
From / To El Calafate / El Calafate

Journey to the Torres del Paine National Park and the Guardería Laguna Amarga entrance
We leave Argentina to cross the border with Chile at the immigration centre of 'Cancha Carrera' and then go on to the Torres del Paine National Park, considered a Humanity Patrimony Site by UNESCO. We enter the park by the Guardería Laguna Amarga, that takes its name from the Estancia 'Laguna Amarga' that is in the zone and is situated some 115 kilometres from Port Natales. The trail starts at the Guardería and we go 7 kilometres by vehicle until the Estancia. Here, it is 600 metres above sea level and we camp at the Las Torres campsite. .

Lodging Full Camp at Las Torres in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch and dinner.
From / To El Calafate / National Park Torres del Paine
Duration 6 hours
Difficulty
Mild
Trail by the River Ascencio Valley to the base of Las Torres.
Breakfast in the Camping Full de Las Torres. We begin the trails to las Torres del Paine. The trekking starts on the slopes of the Almirante Nieto Mountain that borders the River Ascensio. We make a pronounced ascent to arrive at the River Ascensio Valley and then a further two hour climb to reach the Chilean refuge. We continue our walk crossing the forest of coihues, a Chilean evergreen used for thatching, with the objective of reaching our campsite at the base of Las Torres. This is popular point for the mountaineers to begin their climbing, with vertical faces of more than 880 metres. Later we arrive at the Las Torres viewpoint, a natural amphitheatre with magnificent views that is situated at the base of the vertical granite towers that are more than 2,700 metres high. Here we can see la Torre Sur, Central y Norte, el Nido de Cóndores and the North face of the Almirante Nieto Mountain. Also we can see la Morena, a rocky formation, that has an altitude of 1,000 metres. Finally we return by the same path.

Lodging Full Camp at Las Torres in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Desayuno, Box Lunch y Cena
From / To
Camping de Las Torres / Valley by River Ascensio / Mirador de Las Torres
Duration
4 hours
Difficulty
Intermediate

From Las Torres de los Cuernos del Paine and the Nordenskjöld Lake

After breakfast we leave to go to the 'Nordenskjöld crossing'. This route involves two days of intermediate level trekking, walking from the River Ascensio Vally camp site until the Pehoe Refuge. We spend the night in the Paso Los Cuernos refuge after three hours of trekking. This walk helps us to discover the native wildlife of the zone south of the banks of the River Paine by seeing birds and mammals of the National Park and also excellent views of the southern part of the lake, las Torres and the Almirante Nieto Mountain. The Paso Los Cuernos refuge has 32 beds, a restaurant and bathrooms with hot water showers. We find it on the banks of the Nordenskjöld Lake, surrounded by a forest of coihues and is in between the Torres and Valle Francés Refuges. The walk borders the Nordenskjöld Lake and the base slopes of the Cuernos del Paine. It takes some three hours of trekking.

Lodging Refuge Los Cuernos with shared room and bathroom
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch and dinner.
From / To Camping de Las Torres / Refuge Paso Los Cuernos
Duration 3 hours
Difficulty
Mild

Trekking to the Valle Francés
Breakfast in the Full Camping. We continue our trekking in the National Park in the direction of the Valle Francés, the mountain valley that descends from the mountain interior until the Nordenskjöld Lake, protected on the east by los Cuernos and on the west by the Paine Grande, that rises over 3,000 metres. Following our valley trail we enter to some impressive viewpoints that are found in a natural amphitheatre sculptured by the ice needles and the most impressive mountain walls: Cuernos, Espada, Máscara, Hoja, Aleta de Tiburón, Catedral and Paine Grande. The combination of the forests of coihues and the Paine Grande glaciers provoke a unique spectacle on this walk. We arrive at Valle Francés continuing by the same trail and then effectively west skirting the Scottberg Lake until we arrive at the Refuge Pehoe.

Lodging Refuge Pehoe Full Camp in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
From / To Refuge Paso Los Cuernos / Refugio Pehoe
Duration 9 hours
Difficulty
Intense

Walk to the Grey Glacier Valley

Breakfast in the Full Camping. We begin our trekking to the Valle del Lago and the Grey Glacier, that originates from the Patagonian Ice Fields and goes into the northern sector of the lake surrounded by forests of lengas and morenas. The Grey Glacier forms part of the Southern Ice Fields and has a width of 6 kilometres and a height of 30 metres. Its bluish colour is produced by the absorption of the light by part of the ice. It is a glacier that is found in full regression, a combination of the global warming and the change of rain patterns in the southern Patagonian region. Blocks of blue coloured ice fall from the Grey Glacier and are blown south by the prevalent Patagonian winds. We continue by the track that defines our route for a further two hours until we reach a viewpoint where we can observe the lake and the glacier in its maximum splendour. Later we arrive at another viewpoint that puts us in front of the glacier, in a privileged position. The route crosses a forest of notros - whose reddish flower is a symbol of Patagonia - and a dense vegetation of thicket that are protected by the ice and are recovering the Paine Grande. Finally we return to the Pehoe Refuge.

Lodging
Refuge Pehoe Full Camp in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
From / To Refuge Pehoe / Grey Glacier Valley / Refuge Pehoe
Duration 8 hours
Difficulty
Intense

Navigating the waters of Lake Pehoe until Port Pudeto.
We breakfast a little later than usual in the Full Camping, taking the morning to rest somewhat after various days of trekking. After the deserved rest we set sail in a boat to cross the crystalline waters of the Pehoe Lake to go to Port Pudeto, where we take a bus until the campsite in Camping Pehoe. The Pehoe Lake is at the centre of the Torres del Paine National Park. After lunch we continue our route until the beautiful Salto Grande and later walk for less than one hour to arrive at the beaches of Nordenskjöld Lake. We spend the night in the Camping Pehoe camp site.

Lodging
Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
From / To Refuge Pehoe / Salto Grande / Camping Pehoe
Duration 1 hour
Difficulty
Mild
Western Sector of the Torres del Paine National Park
Breakfast in the Full Camping. We acquaint ourselves with the western zone of the Park by making a walk by the southern shores of the Grey Lake, which is full of icebergs, and then we climb to the Ferrier viewpoint where we can see a panoramic view of the Paine Massif and the Andes Mountain range, especially with the Grey and Pingo Glaciers. We spend the night in the Camping Pehoe.

Lodging
Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double tent (area with sanitary services)
Meals we provide
Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
From / To Camping Pehoe / Costa Sur del Lake Grey / Camping Pehoe
Duration 3 hours
Difficulty
Mild
Return to El Calafate
Breakfast in the Full camping before starting our journey back to Argentina and returning to El Calafate.

Lodging Hostel double or triple room with private bathroom.
Meals we provide
Breakfast
From / To Camping Pehoe / El Calafate

El Calafate

Breakfast in the Hostel, We are taken to the El Calafate Airport and that signals the end of our trekking program.


Lodging Hostel double or triple room with private bathroom.
Meals we provide
Breakfast
From / To El Calafate / Calafate Airport
Class of Accommodation
High Season
High Season
Low Season
Low Season
INN DOUBBLE
3.385 USD
3.595 USD
3.250 USD
3.440 USD
SINGLE
3.995 USD
4.280 USD
3.898 USD
4.150 USD
Departure
Arrival
Departure
Arrival
Departure
Arrival
Departure
Arrival
Departure
Arrival
Departure
Arrival
28OCT
06NOV
11NOV
20NOV
09DEC
18DEC
06JAN
15JAN
03FEB
12FEB
03MAR
12MAR
25NOV
04DEC
23DEC
01JAN
20JAN
29JAN
17FEB
26FEB
17MAR
26MAR
Accommodation
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
HOSTEL DOUBLE OR TRIPLE ROOM WITH PRIVATE BATHROOM
X
       
X
CAMP FULL DOUBLE ROOM (SERVICES AREA)
X
X
X
X
X
X
REFUGE WITH SHARED BATHROOM      
X
         
Bear in mind ..
These treks are at an intense rhythm and although it is not fundamental to have prior experience, because there are no technical difficulties, it is important to be in good physical condition. There are daily walks of 6 to 9 hours and the program allows for these to be walked at a normal pace and with defined rests. Within the program there are some steep ascents and descents. Most of the lodgings are in campsites and those with previous camping experience adapt rapidly.

Security
The program does not cover for medical assistance although the guides carry first aid kits and VHF radios to cover emergencies.

Altitude
This trekking itinerary does not go above 1500 metres/4920 feet and therefore altitude sickness is not a problem. The unique natural obstacle is the strong Patagonian winds that arrive in the summer making the trekking more arduous.

Documentation for the frontier
In order to pass through immigration at the Argentina/Chile border, documents such as a passport are required. It is forbidden to cross with food such as fruits, meats and prepared food. The transport of equipment is included in the program price.

Equipment transfer service
The transport of baggage including the sleeping bag is included in the service except for the zone of the Los Cuernos Refuge where each person has to carry their sleeping bag or hire one at the Refuge. Each person carries a light rucksack during the day which normally includes a guide map, jacket, lunch box, water, sun shades, camera etc. There is transport for personal baggage up to 15 kgs for each trekker and it is transported in the same way as for the general journey equipment.

Is it possible to suspend the trekking?

If prevailing or forecast weather conditions put at risk the physical integrity of the participants then the trekkings can be suspended. Our advice is to have previous camping experience.

The following is the suggest equipment and clothing required for the trekking:

  • 50 litre rucksack
  • Synthetic interior garments
  • Long Sleeved T-Shirt and another of cotton
  • Walking trousers
  • Under trousers without feet
  • Polar jumper
  • A pair of leggings and a pair of gloves
  • Two pairs of woolen socks
  • Two pairs of light socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Woolen hat (better woolen than fibre)
  • Sun visor
  • Hand and bath towel
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream protector
  • Torch
  • Walking sticks (fundamental)
  • Documents necessary to enter to Chile (Passport etc.)
  • Personal medicines

The service includes:

  • Bilingual tour leader for all the trekking
  • Mountain guide
  • Navigation of Lake Pehoe
  • Transfers during the trekking by public and private transport
  • Accomodation.
  • Lodgings according to the itinerary and that is:

The services do not include:

  • Entrance to the national parks
  • Medical insurance
  • Life Assurance
  • Tips
  • Drinks
  • Air tickets
  • Optional excursions and all services which are not included in the journey program.
Continental Patagonian Ice Fields
Torres del Paine Trekking
Torres del Paine "W" Circuit