The Far South – Patagonia

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares – El Chalten and the Fitzroy Range, Argentina
We had great luck here. After 2 months of terrible weather in the area, the clouds cleared, the winds dropped a bit and the sun came out the day we arrived in El Chalten, which allowed us to enjoy 3 of the best day hikes we’ve ever done.
1) Day hike to Laguna Torre and Mirador Maestri – A stunningly beautiful walk up valley to Laguna Torre, for great views of Cerros Torre, Egger etc. At the lake it was incredibly windy, but we walked up the moraine above it to Mirador Maestri where there was no wind and we could soak up the scenery. Amazing views – we haven’t been so awed by the mountains since Pakistan. (28km, 7h, 720m ascent/descent)
2) Day hike to Laguna de los Tres – Another great walk up to a lake, this time to enjoy great views of Fitzroy, Poincenot and friends. Simply amazing. (27km, 8h, 950m ascent/descent)
3) Day hike up Loma del Pliegue Tumbado (1,517m) – Walking up this hill we were further away from the mountains, but this gave us some great panoramic views, enabling us to see Cerro Torre and Fitzroy at the same time. (24km, 6h, 1,200m ascent/descent)
Plans are already being made to return and trek a circuit around Cerro Torre, which means crossing onto, and walking a few days on, the Southern Patagonian Icefield.

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine – Chile
“The Circuit” – 8 days
Having first trekked the “W” here in 2002, we came back for the longer circuit. Unlike our last visit, we were lucky with the weather, and this, along with the company of Mateo and Tariq, made for a great trek. The first 4 days, round the back of the circuit were quiet and we only had to share the trails with a few other trekkers. The real highlights of the trek though are on the busier “W” part of the circuit, but luckily with some planning we were able to avoid the crowds, and enjoy Glaciar Grey, the top of Valle del Frances, and the Torres at dawn away from the crowds. Getting between these places meant being on pretty busy paths, but that’s the price you pay for coming to enjoy South America’s most famous national park. (139km, 61h, 7,000m ascent/descent)

Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego – Argentina
We came to this national park mainly to reach the end of the road on our bikes, but still made time for a really good day hike.
Day hike to Cerro Guanaco (974m) and the Senda Costera – The walk up this “Munro” took just over 2 hours on a good path, and from the top afforded great views of the Beagle Channel.

When we arrived on the summit we only had to share it with a Fuegian fox, but when a few noisy Americans and a couple of groups arrived we decided to head down. As the climb hadn’t taken as long as expected, we tacked on a coastal walk in the afternoon. This didn’t really live up to our expectations, and made for a very long day – we arrived back in camp well after dark and with very sore knees. (34km, 11h, 1,220m ascent/descent)

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