Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia

Submitted by Danny Catt on Sun, 2007/02/18 - 12:02pm.
The Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
If you were to mention the words Chile and Patagonia in the same sentence the image that immediately pops to mind for me would be the three towers (torres) in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia.
Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Torres del Paine, Patagonia
The first time I saw a photo of the three towers was when I received a postcard from an Italian friend of mine, Fabio Stedile. I met Fabio, and his climbing partner, Fabrizio many years ago in the Bugaboos, a provincial park in the south-eastern corner of British Columbia. Fabio and Fabrizio were world-class mountain climbers and they were in the Bugaboos planning a first ascent (or a new route) up one of the granite spires that draw climbers from around the world to Bugaboos every summer.
We became friends and a year or two later I had the great pleasure of visiting Fabio and his family in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy. Every year or two after my visit, I would receive a postcard from Fabio, from some exotic locale with a photo of Fabio and Fabrizio’s latest summit. Unfortunately though, the same mountains that Fabio loved to climb, took his life. Ironically, it was on one of the peaks of Patagonia that Fabio lost his fight with the mountain.
So it was for personal reasons that I had a strong desire to gaze upon the three towers in Torres del Paine National Park. And, luckily for me, the weather cooperated wonderfully during the time of our visit.
Torres del Paine was declared a national Park in 1959 and in 1978 was recognized by the United Nations as a Biosphere Reserve. It is recognized for its amazing landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.
Eco-Camp, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Eco-Camp, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The wind can howl during the summer months in Patagonia and the first night that we were there was no exception. We were staying in an ‘Eco-Camp’, strategically located with a fabulous view of the towers. This camp is a great example of a sustainable tourism operation. Rather than providing fixed roof accommodation, the camp guests sleep in large domed tents. They are very solid though… and they effectively withstood the gale force winds that seemed to want to lift our tent into orbit during the night! The camp is also very environmentally friendly. They use solar power, composting toilets and the place is spotless. I have to thank Trish from BikeHike Adventures for arranging our stay at the Eco-Camp.
Eco-Camp, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Eco-Camp, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The winds had died down a fair bit by morning and our guide Cem decided to make a quick change
of plans and do a hike up to the lookout point below the Torres, rather than our planned general tour of the park. It was a fabulous walk! We climbed up onto a plateau and down the valley before turning ‘up’ to reach the viewpoint. We passed other hikers from at least a dozen countries… including Canada, the US, Israel, Germany, England, Switzerland… and many others. In fact Torres del Paine National Park is one of Chile’s most popular tourist destinations… at least for the active traveler.
I love to hike but I admit that there are two things that will give me that extra incentive to make the final push to the top or the end of the trail… one is a lake with fish (I love to fish) and the other is a view worth photographing (I am a keen photographer).
Cem & Trish and the Three Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
Trish & Cem and the Three Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
I was huffing and puffing as we made our way up along the trail and around the boulders on the last stretch up to the lookout. But when we finally reached the ridge, my oh my it was worth it! Directly above us the towers stood in all of their glory! Although my view was from the bottom, I could see how these magnificent spires and the landscape in general would draw climbers like Fabio to this part of the world. I can just imagine what the view from the top would be like!! I said a quick prayer for Fabio, then turned and headed down the mountain.
Submitted by Pikake on Thu, 2007/02/22 - 3:56pm.

I just viewed the penguins, too, and they are extraordinary. Los Torres are really breathtaking.

Keep them coming, and don't forget to upload into WebFiles with captions for the Photo Gallery, which is now live!!


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2007/03/05 - 2:33pm.

 I really like the pictures of the three towers u took but i would like a little more info on them cause i am trying to write about them.i think you got really great pics of the towers except the fact i need more info!u should go and add some more info to this blog becuase u have too much info on the whole park butt not enough info on the three towers in the please add some info.PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 11:43am.

Thanks for your note. You will find more information about the three towers on the Kayaking the Mouth of the Parana River blog post. Dr. Denis St-Onge provides more info on the geology of the towers. Hope that helps.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 2007/03/15 - 8:21am.
hi danny hope you have  fun in Antartica and i hope you had fun in South Amarica.Have fun
Submitted by Danny Catt on Tue, 2007/03/20 - 11:46am.

Thank you for the good wishes. All is going well.

Cheers, Danny