Saturday, March 9, 2013

Patagonia 2012 = EcoCamp Mirador Las Torres

We chose the Wildlife Safari five day tour at EcoCamp Patagonia. This allowed us to be flexible with our activities in the park. Each evening we had the opportunity to choose from an Easy or Active adventure for the following day.

An introductory video about EcoCamp Patagonia

Next up on our adventure list is an Active trek from the comfort of our EcoCamp dome to Mirador Las Torres (The Towers of Torres).

We got up early and headed out past Hostería Las Torres down in the valley and across a suspension bridge to the trailhead. Our guide, Isi (learn more about her HERE), described the route to the towers as mostly Patagonian Flat "up and down, but with overall elevation gain". That's how they describe the majority of hiking in the park, and it's pretty close to that, but most of the time your hiking up. Isi was an excellent guide, describing the peaks and flora all around us.

Mirador Las Torres Trailhead

The trail begins by ascending 1,200 ft steeply along a river in the Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Once we reach the top of this uphill climb, there is a good view down the valley and of Campamento Chileno Refugio (hut). Next we drop 600 ft to the river and reach the refugio. The refugio is one of several run by a few companies in the Torres del Paine park.

Valley View down to Campamento Chileno Refugio

It's another mile or so beyond the refugio, and about 1,200 feet more of climbing to the the base of the towers. The trail can be a bit rough with steep ups and downs, but it's well marked. The last few hundred feet involves boulder hopping up the moraine.  Once we pass a huge house sized boulder there is a spectacular view of the towers rising up majestically before us from the small turquoise glacial lake below.

Mirador Las Torres

The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. At the base of the towers we enjoyed a packed lunch as well as an Upslope IPA craft beer that we brought all the way from Colorado. We took a ton of photos as the clouds appeared and disappeared around the peaks. The weather was beautiful for this time of year, so we spent a good 45 minutes enjoying the views and then headed back to EcoCamp. Our trekking crew was a small and young bunch, so we made the round trip in a "record" 6 hours when it typically takes about 8!

Mirador Las Torres

Back at EcoCamp we cleaned up and headed to the Core Domes for the evenings Pisco Sours, apps, wine and three course gourmet dinner. Exhausted from the day we said goodnight to our fellow ecocampers and enjoyed the almost full moon and late twilight on our way back to Suite Dome 6.

The next day would bring even more awe inspiring views from around the park, with less hiking, as we headed South to explore the beauty of Grey Glacier.

To view photos from Ecocamp Mirador Las Torres,
click the image below:

EcoCamp Patagonia - Mirador Las Torres

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