Apr 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm #1228559
OK, post your list if you've been. Just looking into doing the full circuit for end of this year, or early next year. No refugios for me…so I'd be interested in your shelter, aswell as clothing and sleep system.
Thanks!Apr 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm #1429812
Miguel ArboledaBPL Member
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Are you really going? I quite envy you. The Torres del Paine is one of my dreams! I'd dearly like to see a good gear list, too. I'm betting that a strong shelter is one of the most important pieces of gear…Apr 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm #1429821
"Are you really going? I quite envy you."
Don't envy yet :) I'm just looking into it…every year I go away somewhere, last year was Nepal (amazing!)…this year is…well, we'll see.
"I'm betting that a strong shelter is one of the most important pieces of gear"
I've heard arguments for both sides. Some say the sheltered areas are fine for even a tarp, while others are bringing mountaineering tents. Any gear lists I see online are overkill IMO. Not even sure about the temp rating of a bag!
Help me!Apr 24, 2008 at 6:47 am #1429932
Miguel ArboledaBPL Member
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Well, I know Alan Dixon, one of the original UL gurus, went there in 2005. Check out his site:Apr 24, 2008 at 8:04 pm #1430074
Hey Steven. I did the Circuit in Torres Del Paine 2 years ago in early March. Got lucky with weather, rain on three days, but could have been much worse. I went Clockwise. Most people go Counter-Clockwise. I started from Refugio Lago Pehoe after taking the boat across the lake from Guardaria Lago Pehoe. This is a spectacular way to begin your time in the park rather than starting from the entrance at Guardaria Laguna Amarga.
First night camped at Refugio Grey
Second night Campamento Los Perros
Third night Campamento Lago Paine (Coiron)
Fourth night Campamento Torres, longest day (near Torres Del Paine Lookout)
Day trip past Campamento Japones to Valle Del Silencio (highly recommended)
Fifth night back at Campamento Torres
Sixth night Campamento Italiano
Day trip up Valle Frances
Seventh night back at Campamento Italiano
Eighth night Campamento Las Carretas (see below)
To end the trip I skipped the $20 dollar boat ride across Lago Pehoe and hiked out toward Lago del Toro camping at Campamento Las Carretas. I then hiked out to catch a bus back to Puerto Natales from the visitor center at Lago del Toro.
All these camps are very sheltered with the exception of Lago Pehoe (didn't camp here) and Campamento Lago Paine which could get windy. The only other camp that may be exposed is at Refugio Dickson. Your tent doesn't need to be anything special. If you follow the above advice about camps you could even use a tarp or tarptent. Here is some gear I took.
Sierra Designs Hercules Light AST (double wall mountaineering tent, OVERKILL)
Mountainsmith Wisp 30 degree down bag (never was cold)
Osprey Aether 60 liter (old light version stripped down)
Smartwool lighweight short and longsleeve crew (sometimes layered over eachother)
Patagonia Capilene 2 Bottoms (sleeping, not used hiking)
Patagonia Stretch Jackalope Pants (fine in warmer temps)
Patagonia R2 vest (never worn while hiking)
Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover (plenty warm for camp, dayhikes, extended photo stops)
Patagonia Houdini (used a lot)
Marmot Precip pants
OR Zealot Rain Jacket (temps made me wish for pit zips)
Fleece Gloves with GoreTex overmitts
Against common advice on this site I used Goretex trail runners with full length gaiters and never had wet feet as there were no big fords to deal with.
If you want to go light, and don't mind spending the money, food such as sandwiches, chips, tuna, bread, cheese, lunch meat, chocalate, soup packets, pasta and sauce are available at the refugios along the route to supplement carried food. Refugio Lago Pehoe had the best stock. I caught a nice breakfast at Albergue El Chileno on a cold rainy morning. I also hung out at Albergue Los Cuernos for a few hours to dry out later on the same day. Great way to meet people and pass some time.
I know it's a long post but I get a little excited about the experience I had there. Feel free to PM me with any other questions. I also did 5 days in Los Glaciares on the Argentine side which shouldn't be missed if you make the trip all the way to that part of the world.Apr 25, 2008 at 5:32 am #1430118
–Apr 25, 2008 at 5:32 am #1430119
Ryan, awesome info! Thanks. I'll PM you with some questions regarding logistics, but gear related stuff I'd like to keep on the boards so other people can find it.
First off, nice to hear a 30* bag was used. I was thinking I would need much warmer.
Tarptent eh? What do you think about a TT Double Rainbow? I already have one, and it's plenty huge for one if I have to wait out some rain. I've had it in some hairy weather.
I was thinking a ID eVENT jacket would be perfect for this trip? What ya think?
I'll have to look into Los Glaciares, currently I've been trying to source a short trip to Antarctica. Seems to be rather pricey though!
Thanks again.Apr 25, 2008 at 9:17 am #1430144
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Steve, it's been eight years since I did the Paine Circuit, so I don't have a complete gear list, but I can give some suggestions:
The winds are incessant and often ferocious. Most of the campsites are sheltered but Lago Pehoe, Lago Dixon, and Lago Paine are not. Be prepared!
Ryan is correct that the fords are easy, but much of the trail (particularly on both sides of Paine Pass) is very muddy from run-off. I did this trip in leather boots and was glad that I did.
I did the Circuit counter-clockwise. I think that would be easier as the route down the pass to Lago Grey was very difficult, with many gullies and downed trees. It is necessarily a long day because of distance between campsites and it would have been really rough ascending instead of descending. And crossing the pass and getting a panoramic view of Lago Grey and the Grey Glacier was one of the high points of the trip.
Unless you are a very cold sleeper a 30 degree bag ought to work.
Be sure to visit the Torres themselves, as Ryan suggests. An unforgettable sight. We couldn't get to Valle Frances because of high water but it's supposed to be great as well. Lago Nordenskold is worth a trip too.
This park is the most beautiful place I've ever seen, but one of our group, a Patagonia native who's guided in both places, claims that Los Glaciares in Argentina is even more spectacular.
I'm definitely jealous. I'd love to return some day. Have the time of your life. Richard
We did the TorresApr 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm #1430209
Again, excellent info.
Doing some research, I can't see why my TT double rainbow wouldn't work. I'd go with a bivy, but with the risk of substantial rain, it probably wouldn't be too fun.
Regarding sleeping bags…I'm thinking my ARC AT might be able to be pulled off. I currently use it with a MB down innner for summer, but would upgrade to a Nuna Skaha for the trip. How cold was it when you guys were there. I'm seeing lowest temps around 40* for Jan-Mar. I'd love to take this combo down there. Any insight?
Did you guys see below freezing temps when you were there?
Thanks!Apr 25, 2008 at 6:55 pm #1430227
Hey Steve. Just to be clear I feel I was lucky with the rain and temps. I agree Lago Pehoe, Lago Dixon, and Lago Paine could be very windy camps. These three are the only ones to worry about and there are wind breaks at Lago Pehoe. Your itinerary could be such that you would only have to camp at one of these spots for one night out of the trip. If you are comfortable taking a chance with one night at a windy spot I see no reason why your Double Rainbow wouldn't work.
I also agree that most people go Counter-Clockwise and this is considered easier. It depends on if you would rather descend the steep, possibly muddy West slope off of Paso John Garner or climb it instead.
There is a very boggy section at the eastern base of Paso John Garner. This is where full length gaiters would be needed. I had Gore-Tex trail runners with full length gaiters and was fine. Something ankle height would be even better. It is very possible that this section could be much worse than I experienced depending on the rains. I still think it is possible to tip toe through there to avoid wearing heavier boots for the entire trip.
I think your Arc AT with a Skaha could work. It depends on the weather and that is a big question. I was sleeping in a two man double wall tent with no mesh canopy and with a partner. This was definitely warmer than your Double Rainbow would be in the wind so take that into account. I didn't encounter temps below freezing in early March although that is a strong possibility. It did snow down to 1000 Meters one morning.
The only problem with the Skaha is you will want to protect the Down and won't have anything to throw on at breaks if it is drizzling. You can take breaks at the Refugios instead and then the Skaha wouldn't be a problem.
Your Integral Designs jacket would be fine although the elastic hood opening may not keep the hood on your head in wind. Not sure any hood would do better though.
If you use a pack cover expect it to get blown off unless it has a very secure and strong attachment to your pack. I chased one down for one guy. I prefer a big dry bag or pack liner instead.
I'll keep checking this thread so ask away! Feel free to PM me with any questions
RyanApr 25, 2008 at 7:17 pm #1430230
Richard mentioned the trip to Torres Del Paine Lookout which is covered in the guidebooks. I did another side trip to Valle Del Silencio which is on the backside of the Torres (towers). It is not really covered in the guidebooks but I highly recommend going back there. Leave from Campamento Torres to Campamento Japones. Climb up a gully behind Campamento Japones to the west and you will follow a trail up above treeline back into Valle del Silencio. It is spectacular and usually only seen by climbing parties staging to climb the Towers.Apr 25, 2008 at 7:23 pm #1430231
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
Great pictures, did you post a trip report on BPL?Apr 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm #1430233
Couple more pics of Valle del SilencioApr 27, 2008 at 6:54 am #1430376
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Thank you, Ryan, you've given me one more reason to return! Wonderful pictures. We didn't have Valle de Silencio on our itinerary but it definitely will be next time. Hopefully I can get to Frances then too.
Steve, I too had freakish weather – only one brief thunderstorm in ten days in the park; all the rest was sunny and windy. Two nights below freezing and a snowstorm just before crossing Paso John Garner. This was mid-January. RichardApr 28, 2008 at 7:57 am #1430531
hmmm, I'm thinking maybe the Skaha/AT combo would be best left for a different trip – maybe too wet to rely on down as part of my sleep system and camp jacket. Plus, I'm not sure I can get that setup down to below zero.
I'll risk the Double Rainbow – I'm confident in it, plus the refugios can always be my bail out. I also have the Golite Utopia 2+, but it has no floor…and I think if it's really wet, this would be a problem.
The only raingear I own is a poncho/tarp. I am assuming this would not cut it with the winds and rain there…I would need top upgrade to a jacket/pants agreed?
Ryan, no pack cover for me, my Arctic Dry pack is in the mail!Apr 28, 2008 at 8:02 pm #1430639
Hey Steve. I agree a synthetic camp jacket is probably best. If I went again I would take something with a hood for the added warmth.
As far as rain gear goes I wouldn't take a poncho. I would want a rain jacket while travelling around unless you want to wear your poncho in town. There is a little bit of mild "bush-whacking" and the wind flapping to deal with. If you want to do side trips without your pack I think a poncho would be a pain as well.
The Arctic Pack looks sweet and will work well. If you want to get extra dry bags for future use look on Sierra Trading Post. Last I checked they had the same Pacific Outdoor Equipment dry bags that ship with the pack for $20 to $30.
I got your email. Glad I can help and feel free to keep in touch with any questions.
RyanMay 8, 2008 at 9:00 am #1432212
Im making this trip in January. Here is some of the gear I have been considering, any suggestions?
Shelter: Hilleberg Nallo 2
Pack: ULA Circuit w/ liner
Sleeping: POE Ether thermo 6
Jack R Better Mt Rogers 2 person quilt
Clothing: Smartwool T Shirt
Montbell Thermawrap Vest
Montbell Thermawrap Jacket
Golite Phantom Goretex Jacket
Marmot lightweight long underwear bottoms
Montane Terra Pants
Montbell Versalite Rain Pants
Possum Down Gloves
ULA Mist overmitts
Rocky goretex socks
Heavy fleece socks for sleeping
New Balance light hiking shoes
Montbell stretch gaiters
OR Helios sun hat
OR windstopper hat
Also considering a down hood for sleepingMay 8, 2008 at 11:48 am #1432251
Hi Nathan. Looks like a great list. Your clothing list will be perfect. Didn't see a windshirt listed. I used my Houdini everyday but maybe you are comfortable just wearing the Phantom for wind. Not sure of the temp rating of your quilt but be prepared for a few nights around freezing. I have never used a sleep system with a separate down hood so I have no advice.
Gaiters are a tough call. You could see knee deep mud near Paso Garner and full length gaiters are nice. OR Cascadia gaiters are 7oz and the elastic bottom works great over low cut shoes. Unless you see major rains, full length gaiters aren't needed for the rest of the trail so would be extra weight.
I think the Nallo 2 is perfect for this trip. Do you have the tent already? I am about to pull the trigger on the Nallo 2 and would love to hear your experiences with it. I am 6'3" and wonder about the sloping rear end of the tent and the foot of my bag touching the wall. Any comments on that?
Feel free to PM me with any questions on planning your trip. You will have the time of your life.
RyanMay 9, 2008 at 8:26 am #1432403
Thanks for the advice Ryan. I think I will take my Montane wind shirt (only 3 oz.) Still not sure about the full gaiters. Its nice to hear from someone who has firsthand experience with backpacking in Patagonia, as opposed to relying on the gear lists that the tour operators create (0 degree bags, boots, etc.) . I will be traveling in the region for two months, and will be in Peru and Bolivia for two months before that, so it is really important for me to get my gear as fine tuned and lightweight as possible, seeing as I will be carrying it all the whole time.
On the subject of the Nallo 2, I do already own it and I love it. Split among two people, you have a four season tent with a huge vestibule for two pounds a person. I hate to say it, but I think you are to tall for this tent. I am 6 feet tall, and the bottom of my Montbell long sleeping bag touches the sloping back wall when I slide down a little in my sleep. Petra Hilleberg advised me to drape my goretex jacket over the bottom of my sleeping bag to protect it from getting wet when this happens. At six foot three, I think it would be more of a constant annoyance for you then it is for me. Have you looked at the Nammatj? No sloping back wall, better ventilation, stronger tent in general, still less then six pounds. Maybe even a Nallo 3 at 4 pounds 10 ounces would provide you a little extra room to angle yourself away from the back wall. Whatever you decide, get a Hilleberg, coolest tent I have ever used (helpful, friendly people also).May 9, 2008 at 12:05 pm #1432434
Nick GarciaBPL Member
@saltamontesLocale: South Florida
Nathan, what route are you doing, W or the full circuit, I am planning on doing he "W" over the Thankgiving Holiday, late November of this year. I am also researching what gear to take, what time of year are you going, I think for November avg lows can be approx 30 to highs of 50 or so…i have some good links at home for some research i have been doing, i will post laterMay 9, 2008 at 12:23 pm #1432440
I have not decided which route I will be doing yet. I think I am leaning toward the circuit though. Ill be their around late December or early January. Temps should be a little warmer then as compared to November, but I think the wind is at its worst in December and January.May 9, 2008 at 3:01 pm #1432459
I might offer a slightly different perspective here. I did the circuit counter-clockwise about 3 years ago with a friend and our 60+ fathers. We went in March, which turned out to be early winter, and we went light, but not UL, and a great time was had by all.
A couple ideas to consider I haven't seen yet on this thread. First, you're not going to be doing 30 miles a day. The circuit is really best appreciated over about 8 days, and is all of 80 miles or so. So, one might argue, you might as well be comfortable. The absolute need to be UL on this trip is mostly just a mental game. My father and I hiked with a double wall, non-waterproof, old REI tent that weighed about 12 pounds soaking wet. (and it was several times) but we both slept comfortably with the loft left in our down bags and some warm clothes. The weather changes rapidly, you can expect rain and snow, but you can also expect sunshine and warmth so there will likely be time to dry out any and all gear.
Second, the refugios are really part of the fun. You don't have to stay the night to enjoy them, or even pay for the meals (about $15 for dinner) but they are nice lodges with friendly staff and a constant stream of tourists to play cards/checkers with, practice your spanish or just a nice place to sip fine, cheap Chilean box wine while waiting out the rain. And the food is quite good as it turns out, all muled in and cooked locally, and plentifull.
Last, one way to really knock off some weight would be to buy food at the refugios. You only would have to carry 2 days worth max at a time, and the selection is pretty reasonable. Pasta, sauces, tuna, soups, crackers, fresh baked bread, cheese, and of course lots of gato negro/blanco. You'd knock more weight off doing this than just about anything else. You will need a cannister stove if you do it this way though, as the food is not instant, but the lodge at the lake, sells refills. Prices are high for chile, but not really all that bad considering your remote location. And don't forget to get an ice cream at the shack at the end while enjoying the last views of one of the most majestic places on earth.
As far as gear. I went in solomon amphibian type shoes and was quite happy with them. I used plastic bags over socks for the colder sections and was fine. My buddy went in Jan and did it in tevas, shorts and a t shirt and had a great time. You'll need a solid groundcloth or bathtub floor on the tent, as many of the campsites get wet and muddy. There are shelters at many campsites to cook and hang out under. For March be prepared for temps down to freezing, but probably not much below. Most campsites offer good wind protection but the trail does not, a poncho would be a bad idea there. I did use my ground cloth as a skirt, though, since I didn't have WP pants and it worked well.
Hope that helps, most of all, take your time, and enjoy yourself. It will be the trip of a lifetime. Guaranteed.May 9, 2008 at 9:18 pm #1432502
I'm just sittong in the background enjoying all the info – thanks a bunch for the advice. Keep it coming!
…I ended up ordering the Skaha…I'm thinking it will be OK now…with the proper rain gear…I think.May 9, 2008 at 9:52 pm #1432506
Steven NelsonBPL Member
@slnsfLocale: Northern California
"Have you looked at the Nammatj? No sloping back wall, better ventilation, stronger tent in general, still less then six pounds."
Actually, the Nammatj has a sloping back wall as well. The Keron and Kaitum don't, and the Kaitum seems like a great tent for taller folks (both the 2- and 3-person models).May 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm #1432624
I agree with Steve Friese that food is easy to come by along the route. You can buy hot meals and warm up at the refugios as well as buy what you need to cook your own meals in camp. It is more expensive than buying food in Puerto Natales but will really lighten the load. Fuel canisters are also available at the park entrance and Lago Pehoe.
As Steve said, the refugios are a great place to meet people and pass some time on a rainy day. I even snuck a shower at one them. The hiking times really aren't that long so take advantage of the chance to socialize.
Nathan, since you are travelling a lot besides Torres del Paine I would definitely skip the full length gaiters. There are sinks at a few of the camps and refugios to clean up shoes and clothes if you get muddy. I too used Smartwool short and longsleeve shirts and they are quite warm layered together with a windshirt over the top. A fleece vest may be nicer to hike in than the Thermawrap. I run hot and I never ended up wearing my R2 vest while hiking.
Nathan, thanks for the info on the Nallo 2. It is difficult finding a tent with adequate length. I'm not seeing anything much longer than the Nallo 2 at 87" anyway and don't want a heavier or bulkier tent. At least the vertical door gives an inch or two over other tents that have similar length but have sloping walls at both ends. I'm mostly a side sleeper and the tent is otherwise perfect for my intended usage so I think I will still go with it. Thanks again.
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