We packed more keenly for our ten dayer in Torres; with extra rations and knickers required it was time to examine a little more minutely what we would use/need. Out went the thicker down gilet in favour of a smaller synthetic and lightweight version…. With the promise of a bed in the nearest refugio dorm if I got THAT cold at night, I was comfortable downsizing on a few extra ‘home comforts’.
Also unlike Fitz Roy, Torres del Paine had a number of serviced refugios along the circuit and in the well trafficked trek known as the “W”. In my mind this meant steamy hot showers, warming plates of meat stew and rice or potatoes on the nights we didn’t camp cook, washed down with the odd glass of good vino to aid sleep, of course. You get the picture. Reality was likely to be a different ball game as two different companies serviced the park and reviews were mixed.
A bone rattling ride took us into the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine; excitedly we checked out the real life gauchos riding alongside, on the dusty dirt road that led to the entrance. As we wound our way through the barren scrubland, we were met by unexpected views of the imposing and distinctive Torres, towers of batholic rock, part of the Paine massif and the pinnacles that form part of the infamous “W”. With the sun shining down on us, we reckoned were off to a pretty good start…
We stopped off at the Guarderia Laguna Amarga, to register at the park headquarters and listen to the brief. A far more formal set up than Fitz Roy, the pep talk was a little on the hurried side, as we were processed for park fees, directed into a room to watch a video on the do’s/don’ts and pick up the latest weather report and csmpsite info. Our hearts sank just a little as we saw the spike in the per km winds coming in. Beaufort scale of 6 was brewing on the day we were expecting to cross the pass!