basaltic crest

 

The drive to the base of the mountain is magnificent - with views toward the Fjord of Última Esperanza, lakes, forests and mountains. When the sky is clear, the spires and granite peaks of Torres del Paine in the north are seen at every turn.

 

Forty-five minutes after leaving the town of Puerto Natales, we reach the “Complejo”, a typical estancia that will be the starting point for the ascent to the top of Mount Tenerife.

 

The way up starts in the forest following cattle tracks. Soon we have to leave the path behind and penetrate unspoiled woods before we reach the bare rock.

The steep rocky slope, from where the scenery gets more and more majestic as we climb, will lead us to the final ridge.

 

The summit is at the end of a robust basaltic dike that looks like an enormous  rooster crest on a mountain. From the top there are incredible awe-inspiring views in all directions! The Southern Patagonian Icefield, the Andes, Torres del Paine, more Andes, more ice and huge blue lakes are seen in this amazing 360-degree panorama.

 

It is all very intense as well - we climb 1,600 meters (5,330 feet) in 5 hours; then we need almost 4 hours more to get back to the bottom. The steep mountain demands fitness and knees that can withstand the downhill.

 

The reward for this effort is tremendous: the sensation of solitude, the power and immensity of mountains, reveal the true meaning of awesome.

 

Let’s go!

 

Car drive O/W:                           45 minutes

Hiking time:                                9 hours

Difficulty:                                     high

Distance:                                     16 km (10 mi)

Initial altitude:                             70 m (230 ft)

Maximum altitude:                     1,650 m (5,410 ft)

Vertical ascent:                           1,580 m (5,180 ft)