Today was the day of our first hike in Torres Del Paine. An 8 hour hike to the top of the mountain. It started off relatively easy but got a lot harder very quickly. The first part was really steep and the trail was right on the edge of a cliff, so when you walk, you have to be very careful of the moving gravel underneath you. We started off with a pretty big group, but as we kept going up, it kind of broke up and at some point, I wound up walking alone, which was actually really enjoyable, as you can set your own pace and stop wherever you wish to enjoy the surroundings. Sometimes the trail was clear. Sometimes it went through small rivers that you had to walk through.
After an hour and a half, we took a short break. Turns out that hiking is really enjoyable when you stop. It’s only when you have to start again that it becomes hard work. As I kept going, it started to get colder. We were warned to bring clothes for all 4 seasons, so it wasn’t much of an issue. A few hours later, I reached the base of the mountain. Man, it looks steep from the bottom. The way up was to climb hundreds of large boulders.
As climbers say, you have to negotiate with the rock and pick your own path. It was difficult to climb, but was bearable. Since it was a steep angle, oftentimes you have to use your feet and hands to climb from one to the next. When we reached the top, though, the climb was well worth it. It looked spectacular. We were so high that the mountain peaks were covered in clouds. There was a small green lake at the bottom (which we suspect formed from melted snow). We sat at the top on the rocks with our group and had lunch which we packed in the morning.
After that, we began our descend. Truth to be told, it was as difficult as the way up, as you have to be really careful not to slip (especially when it began to rain). Most of us, including myself, fell at least one on the boulders, but fortunately nobody got hurt. We completed the hike about 8 hours after we started it. Tomorrow, we got another one and then we’ll head to El Calafate – for our glacier climb.