Climbing Torres

We were all set and ready to go and caught the bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine early in the morning. We couldn’t help but notice that all the other hikers on the bus looked slightly better equipped and prepared and hardened than we did. We were a little nervous but ready for whatever happened.
We arrived and pitched our tiny but wind and waterproof tent which was designed more to cope with the weather than to provide comfort, still we worked out that we would more or less fit into it.
The scenery around the campsite was ruggedly beautiful. All the trees and bushes looked as though they had received an absolute battering by the wind and rain over the years, and up above us loomed the mountains. Proper mountains with pointed tops and ragged cliff faces covered in snow . It all looked really spectacular!
We could see the three distinct peaks of the Torres del Paine in the distance and the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing hard so we set off on our hike full of excitement shortly after midday. We saw from the map that the hike was due to take 8hrs up and back, easy we thought.
The weather to be fair was perfect, and although it was cold we were wearing t-shirts and carrying all of our gear. It wasn’t just the sun which was warming us up, we found that we were actually hiking up some fairly steep terrain and were both grateful that we had been doing some fitness work during the trip.
We got to what we thought was the halfway point where we could fill our empty water bottles only to find out that we had only really climbed about a third of the way!
Still onwards and upwards and we carried on through some absolutely magical woods before we started the last leg which was really quite tough. At some stage years and years ago there must have been an avalanche and we were climbing up the face of it. It was fairly steep and covered in boulders and rocks so you had to actually be quite careful where you stepped! We were both knackered at this point and needed to keep each other going!
When we got the top of the hike we were both immediately taken away by the absolute beauty of what we saw!! It really was a spectacular view and we sat, recuperated and enjoyed the view for a good half hour, it was fantastic.
We could have stayed up there for longer but we had to be a little careful about getting back before it was too late and dinner was only served until 9.  
Going down was almost as hard as coming up. In fact the last climb took us 45 mins on the way up, and on the way down we thought we had gone a lot quicker only to find out that we had only beaten our time by 5 mins! This was also the point where we realised why people trained for this as our knees were hurting pretty badly at this point.
When we finally reached our camp we were both absolutely shattered. And I mean absolutely shattered, we were knackered and sore. We showered and went for dinner which we wolfed down and also cheekily rewarded ourselves with a bottle of wine we had bought with us and then both crashed out.
All in we had hiked just over 18kms and I am not kidding when I say that I would be surprised if 500m of it was flat! The only slight on the trip was that there were so many other hikers on the trail, you didn’t feel quite as though it was just us and the mountain.  
So glad to have done the hike, it actually gave us both a real sense of accomplishment although just as we finished I think we both felt as if we would have been happy to get off the mountain and back into a warm bed for the evening!

T

   
Looking fresh at the start of the day! Notice the slight wear and tear on the bridge, I didn’t lean too hard on the remaining bannister 

 
The view up the valley, with the refugio nestled in the bottom and the path up the left hand side

   
Still smiling about halfway up

 
The view back over Patagonia, just beautiful.  The red flowers really added to the wondrous scenery 

   
The river we criss crossed over 

 
The hike wasn’t all exposed landscaped we got to walk through what felt like enchanted forests too

   
Now when I said we had to climb up what looked like a landslide, this is what we climbed up for the last 45mins.

 
A glimpse of the end of the climb and also a look at what the path was like.  The red poles guided us up the route.

   
The reward at the end, just breathtaking 

 
The day in numbers

  
The sky that night as we walked back to our tent.

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