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W Trek in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia for an inexperienced hiker

To my utter chagrin (and inspiration), I only encounter super fit hikers where ever I go. Why is that? I am the slowest hiker on the trail and never the fittest, so the timings other people quote never applies to me. So here is a very slow and relaxed hikers guide to the W trek in Torres Del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile. I also drew a map showing what’s what. It felt great to be able to complete the trek and the next few posts will be about how to accomplish this.

Day 1 – Puerto Natales

  • The bus from Puerto Natales picked us up at our hostel in the morning (I think 8 AM) and drove us to the national park entrance, where we paid our entrance fees of 15000 chilean pesos/person. The bus ticket from Austral Glacier cost 12000 chilean pesos/person.
  • Continued on the same bus to the Catamaran @ 12000/person to Refugio Paine Grande
  • Hiked from 12.30 PM to 6.40 PM
  • Arrived at Refugio Gray around 5 PM
  • Camped at Las Guardas
  • Rained all night!
  • Be the last to enter so that you can get to your backpack first.
  • Pay catamaran fees on the boat itself. 

Day 2 – Las Guardas campsite

  • Broke camp very late. Very rainy and wet
  • 1 hour walk back to Refugio Gray
  • 4.25 hours to Paine Grande
  • 2.5 hours to Italiano
  • 7.5 to 8 hours of hiking in the entire day
  • Wet in the morning, sunny in the afternoon
  • No turn-back in Italiano if you arrive late. Free campsite, but clean and pretty.

Day 3 – Valle Del Frances

  • Swami hiked up to the 2nd mirador (~5 hours)
  • Niru hiked up to 1st mirador (~2.5 hours)
  • Left campsite at 4 pm.
  • Arrived at Cuernos at 6.45 PM.
  • Rainy, sunny, windy!!

Day 4: Cuernos campsite and view of the Cuernos

  • Longest day of hiking!
  • 10.15 AM – started from Cuernos campsite
  • 2 PM – Arrived at shortcut to Chileno refugio (after one large uphill climb and a downhill. Lot of flat walking after the shortcut, followed by steady uphill)
  • 5.00 PM – arrived at Chileno campsite
  • 6.45 PM – arrived at Torres campsite (mostly uphill)
  • Camped @ Torres campsite

Day 5: Torres Campsite

  • Woke up 4.40 AM to view sunrise at Las Torres, the parks most popular view point.
  • Started walk at 5.45 AM (did a small bit of packing)
  • Reached las torres at 6.50 AM
  • very cloudy and very uphill; could not see the torres at all; very disappointed
  • Returned to campsite, packed and left at 9.15 AM
  • Reached Chileno at 10.15 AM
  • Arrived at W trail entrance @ 12 PM
  • Bus to Puerto Natales at 2.30 PM