Posted by: Dave | February 3, 2009

The “W”

The W. No, not the posh hotel found in major cities worldwide.  This W is the shape of the trail in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine (pronounced pie-NAY) that takes several days to trek. After 4 days of trekking and camping, we had completed the W… and my body felt it.

The trek covered a lot of ground. Day 1 was a 14km (about 9 miles) and then a 3km hike up a steep, rocky hill to see the Torres del Paine up close. Day 2 started with me repeating that steep ascent in a failed effort to capture the peaks at sunrise (it turned out to be too cloudy to get the red peaks I had heard about) and then a 21 km (13 mi) hike to the next campsite. Day 3 was 27 km (17 mi) hike to camp near Glacier Grey. And finally Day 4 about 13 km (8 mi) to catch the boat to end the W trek. That´s a lot of miles in 3 days… especially while carrying a 50 lb pack. My hips really didn´t respond too well, which is kind of disappointing, and makes me a bit concerned about further “heavy” trekking.

The Torres del Paine park is amazing. It´s a huge National Park in Chile, that is often referred to as the “best” National Park in South America. It certainly may be. It´s huge… and has such diverse terrain; praries, mountains, desert, glaciers, etc.  It´s actually not a part of the Andes, but rather an anomoly that shot up in some seismic shift millions of years ago.  I´m feeling a bit short of words, so here are some photos from the trek.

These are the Torres del Paine - the Towers of Blue. They´re roughly at 9000 feet... and I´m taking this from about 3000. There´s a glacier in front of them, and then a glacial lake. I have better pics of the towers, but the person in the foreground of this pic provides the right perspective.

These are the Torres del Paine - the Towers of Blue. They´re roughly at 9000 feet... and I´m taking this from about 3000. There´s a glacier in front of them, and then a glacial lake. I have better pics of the towers, but the person in the foreground of this pic provides the right perspective.

This is a self-portrait of me waiting for sunrise after a steep 2km hike to the viewpoint... at 5am. Sunrise didn´t really produce much of an effect on the Cerros (peaks) that morning. And it was SUPER-cold and windy. I look happy, right?

This is a self-portrait of me waiting for sunrise after a steep 2km hike to the viewpoint... at 5am. Sunrise didn´t really produce much of an effect on the Cerros (peaks) that morning. And it was SUPER-cold and windy. I look happy, right?

The water that´s cascading down the mountains is come of the best tastnig water I´ve ever had. It´s so clean that you don´t even have to treat it. You can just fill up and drink. It´s cold and pure... as it´s glacier runoff that has melted within the previous couple of hours.

The water that´s cascading down the mountains is some of the best tasting water I´ve ever had. It´s so clean that you don´t even have to treat it. You can just fill up and drink. It´s cold and pure... as it´s glacier runoff that has melted within the previous couple of hours.

Just another vista of Torres del Paine national park

Just another vista of Torres del Paine national park

Sunny day on Day 3 of the hike. This is Lake Pehoe. The photo is 100% unedited. All colors are as seen with the naked eye.

Sunny day on Day 3 of the hike. This is Lake Pehoe. The photo is 100% unedited. All colors are as seen with the naked eye.

This is a typical vista on the trail...

This is a typical vista on the trail...

So I´m finally posting pics with me in them. Many of you asked (maybe some will now ask for pics w/o me)... This is at the first Mirador (viewpoint) of Glacier Grey. You probably know that I love glaciers.. so get ready for (hundreds of) more pics to come.

So I´m finally posting pics with me in them. Many of you asked (maybe some will now ask for pics w/o me)... This is at the first Mirador (viewpoint) of Glacier Grey. You probably know that I love glaciers.. so get ready for (hundreds of) more pics to come.

Here´s an awesome pic of my feet soaking in 36 degree water. Not the same water that I was drinking in the above photo.

Here´s an awesome pic of my feet soaking in 36 degree water. Not the same water that I was drinking in the above photo. The pic isn´t awesome itself, but it´s awesome that you´re looking at a pic of my feet.

Here is Glacier Grey again. All colors are real.

Glacier Grey again. All colors are real.

Glacier Grey 02

An attempt to capture the expanse of Glacier Grey. It goes for miles and miles. I don´t have the words to describe how impressive this glacier is. All glaciers, for that matter. Please make an effort to see a glacier sometime soon. You can find great ones in Alaska, Canada, Norway, Argentina, Chile, etc. It´s more than worth the effort and will overwhelm you.

I was amazed when I saw an American Condor at the Grand Canyon. Here is an Andean Condor soaring overhead while I was checking out Glacier Grey. Hopefully you get an idea how big he is.

I was amazed when I saw an American Condor at the Grand Canyon. Here is an Andean Condor soaring overhead while I was checking out Glacier Grey. Hopefully you get an idea how big he is.

Here is a view back at Los Cuernos from the boat on our way back to the car post-hike. So impressive.

Here is a view back at Los Cuernos from the boat on our way back to the car post-hike. So impressive.

As you can see from the photos of Torres del Paine, everything about Patagonia (Argentinian Patagonia and Chilean Patagonia) has been dramatic. Vast endless deserts, deep blue seas, mountains plunging into seas, fierce winds, and towers of rock that dominate a landscape. I have hundreds more photos that I´d like to share, but I don´t have time to organize them so not to overwhelm.  I´ll try to get to that soon.

Today I´m in El Calafate, Argentina, which is home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, which ADVANCES 6 feet a day. Will check that out tomorrow, then head to El Chalten to hike two more impressive peaks – Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre – which are located at the north end of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Argentina.

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Responses

  1. Awesome pictures and recaps…certainly sounds like an amazing experience(not particularly of interest to Chocolate Thunder, but..)

    Also thanks again for those ASU tix…for a game no one probably wanted ASU upset in a very good game. WSU has a sniper freshman just dropping 3s on them.

  2. gorgeous!

  3. Amazing pictures!

  4. Hey Dave! Thanks so much for your pics and comments! I’m truly impressed by your observations and sensitivities! I love glaciers, too, having seen a big one in western Canada several years ago. Cannot remember the name right now, however. Keep on sending whatever and whenever you can! Kudos!

  5. Your next job maybe as a photographer for National Geographic …

  6. Thanks guys… wait until you see the pics from El Chalten and Calafate. I just can´t upload them at the moment! Thanks for checking in…

  7. Awesome Schif, hope the hip is holding out as well brother, keep it strong.

    You heading to BA or Rosario soon? Let me know and I’ll have they boys take you out.

    PS- Don’t think I’ve met anyone with a glacier fetish before…

  8. Dave!
    I love your pics and stories! So amazing I feel like I am there… well I feel like I really want to be there! 😉
    Hope you are fantastic!!!

  9. Hola Dave, te escribo en castellano porque mi inglés es malo y me complico escribiendolo, he leido atentamente los comentarios que te han hecho y estoy en absoluto acuerdo con lo que te dicen, este lugar lo conocí hace un par de años (hice cicuito W) y quede mas que maravillado, no encuentro palabras para describir lo hermoso de ese lugar, te felicito y sigue haciendo esto ya que es una linda labor y pareciera que relaja hasta el alma.

    Un saludo de Curicó Chile


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