If Torres Del Paine reminds me of Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings, then the Towers are the watchful eye over in Mordor. Everyday you wake up and there they are, watching over you. Wherever you go, you know right where they are. They take on a human like quality the more time you spend in the park. You start to think they could be three beings put there to protect Torres del Paine. No doubt some ancient inhabitants of the area worshipped them once. So it’s only fitting that on our last day of adventure at Eco Camp, we should travel up the mountain to pay our respects to the Towers.
The W Trek is one of the most famous hikes in the world. It usually takes 5-days to complete and takes you around the entire park. You sleep mostly in tents at the campsites set up for backpackers, and carry everything you need as a group. I plan on visiting Torres del Paine again to do the complete W trek. Eco Camp offers this adventure if you would like a guides help and a nice rest in the suit domes at the end of your journey.
The multi sport adventure provides you an opportunity to do the final leg of the W trek, the most famous portion; the 16km hike to the base of the mighty towers. We start early, this will be a long hike and we will have to keep up a good pace to make it up and back before dark. There will be about a 1500m change in elevation so this is not a stroll through the park.
The beginning of the trek is at a slower pace due to bridges that must be crossed one at a time. Like I said, this is one of the most famous hikes in the world. It’s recommended that you reserve your campsites 6 months in advance if you’re backpacking. It’s not a remote hike; you will see plenty of people. Once past all the bridges we start up the first stretch and continue far up the side of a mountain. On the top of this path we look back over eco camp, all the way to the parks entrance before continuing down into a valley that the River Ascencio has cut out of the mountain. Down at the rivers edge is Camp Torres. The large camp is a place to stop and have lunch, grab a beer at the bar, set up your tent and stay the night, or drop off your heavy backpack for your lighter daypack.
This last stretch of the hike is an absolutely stunning trek through the Forest of the Lenga Tree. Stop and fill up your water bottle at any of the many babbling brooks or waterfalls, this glacier water is safe to drink. Over bridges, through thick trees, and up rocky terrain we climb. Until we get to the Mirador, the last little bit to the towers. This is the most challenging part of the trek, an 850m change in elevation with loose gravel as your footing. It’s almost like the Towers make you earn a meeting in their presence.
After hiking for 6 hours we arrive at the base of the Towers. I could try to articulate what it’s like seeing statues and their reflection in that blue pool. But I’m not going to waste my time trying. It’s one of those things that you really have to go see. Patagonia is internationally famous for a reason, and this is arguably the most famous place in Patagonia. So ya, it’s worth checking out. We only have about an hour here before we have to head back. The Towers are cloud free right now which is not always a given so we quickly grab the shots we need before reminding ourselves to put the cameras down and enjoy the moment.
I drink some Mate with our guide, the popular tea of the region. You might think you have Yerba Mata at your grocery store, which is like thinking drinking water out of a bottle is the same as drinking it out of a fresh Colorado spring. We enjoy the view for what feels like only a moment before it’s time to head back to the domes.
The journey down is much easier than the journey up. Past Camp Torres, out of the canyon, down the mountain side and back to Eco Camp. The trip took over ten hours to complete. The sun is shining bright on camp as we enter. Enough for us to all cheers a beverage out on the deck overlooking Torres del Paine, a cheer to a great trek, and a great adventure.