el Gringo

 

We start and finish in Puerto Natales on the Fjord of Última Esperanza. 

 

In the morning we take Route 9 which leads us deep into the Patagonian steppe. As we head to the north, we will have the jagged silhouette of the Paine mountains as a background.

Once we enter a remote Patagonian estancia, the only traffic on the road will be that of guanacos, rheas and sheep crossing from one side to the other.

At the foothills of the Sierra Contreras, the road ends at a picturesque “puesto", a kind of shelter used by the gauchos when they move cattle.

 

From there we will continue on foot. We will start ascending by an old trail, across the grass-covered slopes. After a while we will find patches of Lenga (Southern beech) forest. Finally there is no more vegetation; our ascent continues on bare scree slopes. Here the Patagonian wind may join us and fully reveal its strength.

 

From the summit the view is absolutely sublime: over the rock, and the trees, in the distance, we can see the mountains of Torres del Paine from a very unusual perspective. To the north we see the Andes and the Southern Icefield. If we look towards east, we see Sierra Baguales, the De las Chinas river valley, and the incredible vastness of the steppe.

 

The experience of climbing to contemplate this majestic scenery from above is just overwhelming.

 

This adventure is ideal for Nature enthusiasts who are in good physical shape.

 

Car drive O/W:                           1 hour & 45 min.

Hiking time:                                3 to 4 hours

Difficulty:                                     medium-high

Distance:                                     10 km (6.2 mi)

Initial altitude:                             390 m (1,280 ft)

Maximum altitude:                     1,260 m (4,134 ft)

Vertical ascent:                            870 m (2,854 ft)