PATAGONIA, ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, Torres del Paine circuit, Day 4
Day 4 - Los Perros to Refugio Grey
This will be a very demanding, but beautiful and awe inspiring day.
There will be a lot of walking, up and down, but also you may encounter the Magellanic winds coming from the Southern Ice Field that can reach 100 km/hr! It is not recommended to cross Paso Garner unaccompanied (join a group if travelling alone) or to cross in adverse weather conditions. Take plenty of snacks to have the strength you need for this stage.
Leaving the camp, head towards Paso Garner, steadily rising, and after about an hour, you leave the forest and come into a clear area with excellent views. The track now continues on stony ground. It is possible you might find some snow on the ascent to El Paso.
The climb is quite steep. It zigzags it’s way up and is rocky, but easy enough. It’s well signposted and with a slow, short and steady pace you will get there!
After around three and a half to four hours walk, you will be at the top of El Paso and, at 1180 meters, it is the highest point of the circuit.
For the first time you will be able to see and admire the impressive Grey Glacier and the Icefields beyond, and across to the other side are views to the valley of Los Perros.
Enjoy this view as long as the Magellanic wind permits.
Start the descent down the moraine to the southwest, accompanied constantly by the beautiful view of the glacier. After about fifteen minutes you come back into a forest of Lengas, shaped by the wind. There is a steep drop here. Pay particular attention to this drop, which is abrupt and steep; there are fixed ropes here which will help if the ground is slippery.
Two hours after Paso Gardner, walking along the glacier, you will come to Campamento Paso, next to a stream. This camp is very rustic with no facilities and we would recommend you continue on to the Grey hut and camping, 7kms further on.
After the viewpoint, the track then continues downhill, with tremendous views of the glacier. There are three gorges along the way, the first one an hour from the camp at El Paso, which you will cross with the help of a metal staircase (soon there will be a bridge).
In another hour, you will come to the largest suspension bridge in the park.
When the slope flattens out, you are close to the hut after a long and exhausting day, but possibly one of the best days of trekking you can ever have.
The Grey Hut and camping are but a few minutes from the Grey Glacier and can also be accessed by those walking from the Paine Grande hut and those of you who are arriving by boat to start the ‘W’ trek through the wharf of Hosteria Grey.
The hut is open while the camping operates during the high season.
There is also kayak hire here if you fancy, and still have the energy for, a trip on to the lake.