Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile

The Paine Circuit in Torres Del Paine National Park (Parque Nacion al Torres del Paine) is commonly referred to as one of the world’s classic treks. This 10 day trip will follow the course of the Río Paine up to the John Gardner Pass and descend along the Río Grey, all while skirting some of the parks most spectacular lakes. The trek will be difficult with several long days of hiking, lots of elevation change and unpredictable winds and weather.

However, the views will be unmatched and a few nights will be spent at “Refugios” that offer showers and flush toilets (luxuries unavailable on many Fatpacking trips but that we will have almost every night on this trip). This is a "life list" destination in almost anyone's book. Is this the year you finally see Patagonia?

Itinerary

The Patagonia Fatpacking Trip will be from December 8-19, 2012. Here is the proposed itinerary.

Our journey will begin in Punta Arenas, Chile. We'll shuttle up to a trekker friendly lodge there (TBD) and spend the night. The next day, we'll enter the park at Las Torres and camp there. We begin hiking a loop around the entire region (The so-called "O" Circuit) ending up back at Las Torres 9 days later.

Highlights of the trip include the immense Grey Glacier (Glaciar Grey), Lago (lake) Paine, Lago Dickson, Lago Grey, and the eponymous towers (Torres) themselves

Difficulty

The trails through Patagonia are well defined but are often steep and/or muddy. Elevation gain and loss can be dramatic. Most days are under 10 miles which may seem moderate, but it can often be challenging because of terrain and weather. However make no mistake that this Paine Circuit is immensely rewarding.

Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. IMPORTANT: BE PREPARED FOR WIND! The wind in Patagonia can be strong and unpredictable and will lower the effective temperatures markedly. Make sure you have some kind of durable wind-stopping outer layer, plus warm inner layers.

That said, it's Spring, so expect daytime hiking temperatures in the low 60s (18-C) and nighttime temperatures in the upper 40s (7-C). However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures into the 80s (> 25-C) and nighttime temperatures below freezing (< 0-C). Also be prepared for rain, which may happen all day long or not at all. Here is the historical weather.

Trip Leaders

Deb Lusk, lives in Phoenix, AZ and has hiked all over the Arizona Desert. She had guided Fatpacking trips all over the country is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder and a Certified Food Handler.

Steve Silberberg, lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fatpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and Certified Food Handler.

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring. The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from Traverse Outfitters, Lower Gear or Outdoors Geek. It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to discuss any gear with us before the trip.

Menus

We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the sample menus. This list is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it through customs (and the Chilean backcountry) your body will reject the empty calories and prefer nutritious food.

Note: On this trip, it will be possible to augment our food supply at various Refugios. It is unknown what trail food they will have on-hand, so be prepared for the menus to deviate from the stock meals you see on the website

Cost

$2250 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Punta Arenas, Chile, personal equipment and any restaurant meals.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, Refugio fees, campground fees, 10 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, insurance, satellite phone and 2 awesome guides.

Important Note

Fatpacking is on an ongoing quest to expand its selection of trip destinations. As such, this is the very first time we are offering a trip to Patagonia. Even though they are seasoned backpackers, the guides for this trip may NOT have previously backpacked these particular trails.

Many intrepid participants are excited by pioneering new routes, but others don't feel as comfortable with this and may prefer a more established, predictable trip. Experience guiding a certain destination can make things run smoother, but do not underestimate the decades of backpacking experience that our guides possess which permeate every other aspect of the trip in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Note

Just so you're not surprised by this, Chile charges American travelers entrance and departure fees of $132USD and $30USD respectively, so plan to travel with cash on hand. Yeah, it's a drag, but it's something you should know about.

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