Trekking Torres del Paine: Hiking in Torres Del Paine Chile

After the Navimag Ferry Trip from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, we went out to the Southern Patagonias for a month of volunteering and trekking in Torres Del Paine National Park. From the brilliant emerald-colored Lake Nordenskjold with its wild tornado winds, to the classic “Las Torres” hike, to playing our handmade, giant chess set in the middle of the park, we did it all! We hope you enjoy this photo blog of our time trekking Torres del Paine.

Joshua at Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua at Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa at Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa at Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

I don’t really see what all the fuss is about Las Torres peaks. Don’t get me wrong – the view is nice and all, but there are so many better parts of Torres Del Paine national park. But, for what it’s worth, here is me in front of the picture-perfect post card view of Las Torres. Or, check out this picture if you’d prefer to see the Las Torres view without my ugly mug.
We hiked Las Torres 2 times and both times I admired the view. It was very, like VERY windy on the top, but beautiful.

Joshua Overlooking Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Overlooking Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Lago Inxe & Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Lago Inxe & Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

I have a feeling the only person who will enjoy this picture is my mom – so, here’s to you mom! All others, look to the right for a much more beautiful view of Lago Inxe & Lago Nordenskjold.
Patagonia is very unique place. The scenery is like in no other place –the color of the lakes is so pure blue and the weather is unpredictable.

Joshua Catching Air at Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Catching Air at Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa Exploding at Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa Exploding at Lago Nordenskjold (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

I’m sure I’ll be getting crap from my friends about this picture. With that said, it was very exciting making it down to the beach by Lake Nordenskjold. So exciting that I convinced Vasilisa to strip down with me and run in the freezing water.
Then, a week later we saw a group of guys from England doing the same thing, and they waited for us to pass by them, trying to look so cool, waiting for our attention or a question like “wow, that must be cold”, but we just looked at them with indifference. Finally, one of them probed Vasilisa with a question — “Fancy a swim,” he said. And Vasilisa said, “nah, we’ve done that.” They couldn’t have been more disappointed to get us as passer-byers!
The excitement not only made us jump but also actually go in the water. We ran in for couple of seconds, making passing by hikers think we were complete idiots. And when we got out we faced an unexpected and unexpectedly strong wind that blew up all our clothes that were resting on the beach. Luckily for us, those ´passing by hikers´ helped us catch our socks and jackets and we managed to get everything back.

Joshua Collecting Water from the French Glacier Melt (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Collecting Water from the French Glacier Melt (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View from below the French Glacier (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View from below the French Glacier (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Nothing better than fresh water from a melting glacier! I enjoyed the French Valley a lot, with the constant avalanches & beautiful scenery. But even better was the Valle Bader hike (see below).
French valley offered us not only a fantastic view but also real avalanches. First you hear it – the sound as if there is a helicopter around the corner; then you see a snow river flowing down; and at the end, clouds of snow cover the mountain. Amazzing…

View of Los Cuernos from Valle Bader (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View of Los Cuernos from Valle Bader (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View of Lago Nordenskjold from Valle Bader (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View of Lago Nordenskjold from Valle Bader (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

The Valle Bader hike was my favorite trekking in Torres Del Paine. It’s marked only with Cairns, but the view is even better than the nearby French Valley, and it goes right up next to the famous Los Cuernos mountains. The hike is not easy, but if you’re in good shape, it is definitely worth it!
Watching the wind playing on the lake was another unique experience. The wind was kind of ironing the lake and covering it with the rainbows. At the end the wind would make a small tornado dance and start all over.

Guanacos from The Past & Present on Patagonia Excursion from Hotel Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Guanacos from The Past & Present on Patagonia Excursion from Hotel Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Mommy & Baby Guanaco on Patagonia Excursion from Hotel Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Mommy & Baby Guanaco on Patagonia Excursion from Hotel Las Torres (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

We were lucky enough to be invited on the Patagonia animals hike at Las Torres hotel. We saw Guanacos, lesser rhea, black-faced ibis, pre-historic cave paintings and beautiful flora. And this is by far my favorite image. I enjoy how the decaying Guanaco in the foreground relates to the landscape and Guanacos in the background.
This was a pretty selfish Mommy Guanaco – it was jumping the fence leaving the baby alone on the other side. When the Mommy came back, the baby Guanaco was keeping as close to her as possible.

Joshua & Vasilisa Deep in Competition on Their Handmade Chess Set (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua & Vasilisa Deep in Competition on Their Handmade Chess Set (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa & Joshua's Handmade Chess Set at AMA Campground (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa & Joshua’s Handmade Chess Set at AMA Campground (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

This picture reminds me of my Uncle Gene & his son Alex. They have this picture of themselves playing chess, both with huge beards and a real 80’s look. The picture is still in the kitchen of my Aunt Wendy & cousin Eliana, and I though of that picture when I took this. And I’m sure I’ll look at this one day and think, ‘how ‘10’s this looks.’
Anyways, this was our luxury campground while we volunteered in Torres Del Paine. We had this beautiful view of Las Torres to look at every day & night, along with a great fireplace, our hammock, and even mattresses we put inside our tents. Pretty cush for a low-cost, volunteer-camping experience!
While traveling we got into playing chess. After playing a giant chess set on the deck of the Navimag ferry, we decided to make our own set. I made designs of the pieces and painted. As for the actual carving, I could only manage the pawns –all the hard work was done by Joshua!

Joshua on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa Thumbs Up on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa Thumbs Up on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

I think the backside of the circuit was just as good, if not better than the front. I know my Dad would agree with me, as there were 10 times less people and 10 times more fauna. On the backside-circuit hike, I really felt like I was in the Patagonias I had always dreamed about –the wild, wind-strewn wilderness land, the primitive camping, and endless views – true, unabashed beauty!
And off we went on our 7 day hike!

View of Dickson Glacier on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View of Dickson Glacier on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Crossing Over to Dickson Glacier on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Crossing Over to Dickson Glacier on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

This is the first glacier I ever saw, and I was amazed. It looked like a mountain of ice surrounded by waterfalls of clouds and steam. And the small part of the glacier that forms the triangle in the center of the image shined a beautiful translucent blue color that this picture really doesn’t do justice to.
 
 
 
 
While volunteering we met many different local people who were very friendly and liked to share their knowledge of how to get where no-one usually goes. That was how we found out it was possible to hike to Glacier Dickson: we took the boat that locals use to bring supplies to the campground (for a small tip they took us to the other side of the river and took us back when we returned from the hike).

Dickson Glacier Hike on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Dickson Glacier Hike on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Sunny Rainbow on Dickson Glacier Hike on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Sunny Rainbow on Dickson Glacier Hike on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

We started out the Dickson Glacier hike with clouds, followed by intense rain. We weren’t nearly prepared enough for rain and cold, and at one point we almost turned back just 10 minutes short of the glacier view. But luckily we waited out the rain with a nice lunch, and as soon as we finished the weather cleared long enough for us to hike to the finish and see the amazing Glacier Dickson view!
The hike to the glacier was quiet an adventure. The rain hit us just at the beginning of the trek. I was wearing my waterproof pants that I had bought in Peru for $10 (the vendor promised they were good). The pants didn’t last an hour – I was wet and cold and miserable… and we had to stop. We took a 1 hour lunch and to our surprise the rain was gone.

Joshua Inside of Glacier Puma on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Inside of Glacier Puma on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

 
 

Vasilisa at Edge of Glacier Puma on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa at Edge of Glacier Puma on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Apparently getting this close to the glacier is a bit dangerous, but I couldn’t resist myself –I had to touch it! I built a bridge of rocks to get across the river, and then I ran inside, touched the 3000 year-old ice, and jumped up for the picture. Then I quickly ran back across just in case the whole thing might cave in on top of me.
The other hidden track we discovered was to Glacier Puma. A small glacier but we got really close to it.

View from Summit Above Glacier Grey on Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

View from Summit Above Glacier Grey on Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Victory Jump at Summit Above Glacier Grey on Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Joshua Victory Jump at Summit Above Glacier Grey on Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

This was my hands-down favorite view of the Torres Del Paine circuit hike. We spent hours hiking the steep summit, covered in ice and snow, with the intense wind freezing our faces. But it was all worth it once we reached the top and saw this view of Glacier Grey & the Southern Patagonia Ice field (Campo de Hielo Patagonia Sur). My words definitely can’t describe it, but I hope this picture helps. And if you ever get a chance to hike in Torres Del Paine, don’t miss this summit view!
This was the triumph of our hike. A beauty I will always remember!

Vasilisa & Joshua on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

Vasilisa & Joshua on Backside of Circuit Hike (Torres Del Paine, Chile)

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This article has 5 comments so far!

  1. Julie says —

    Hey Joshua and Vasilisa,
    I Love everything, but Josh, you are right: I really love seeing you in your frst photo! The two of you look wonderful and I am enjoying reading what you both have to say. I am so glad that you are returning next week as I miss you very much. XOXO forever and always.

  2. Esther Levandoski says —

    Wow…I am getting really excited after seeing your pictures! So glad that I will see you before we go. Have a safe trip home.

  3. Latitude Resorts says —

    You guys have a great Blog. well done

  4. Crystal says —

    I was looking to volunteer with AMA this Nov or Dec, and I was wondering if I can ask you guys some questions about your volunteer experience? I can be reached at the email I provided in this comment if you guys can share your two cents. Thanks in advance!

  5. Brad says —

    Hey I was also considering volunteering with AMA later this year. Maybe you could forward the info you sent to Crystal to me? Pretty Please?

    Awesome blog by the way!

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