Chile

Torres del Paine: The ultimate guide for hiking the O-trek

Ok, I just conquered the world. Or at least it feels like that. I just came back from 9-day trekking in Torres del Paine carrying a 20kg backpack (my backpack wasn’t even that heavy when leaving home!!), eating lots of instant meals, and sleeping in a tent every single freezing night. And let’s put this straight; I don’t necessarily like camping that much, or hiking… for 9 days. I got trapped into this.

trekking group torres del paine

Team Seduction

Let me introduce you to Team Seduction; a Swede, 4 Yankees, the Ozzie, and I, all recognizable by a red fingernail and lots of noise. This crew got together in El Chalten where everything was still quite tame. Five days later we were let loose in the National Park of Torres del Paine with the worst preparation EVER. Leaving worried park rangers behind if we’d make it back alive and having no idea of what we were getting ourselves into. Having bin bags as bag covers, gourmet meals that weighed a ton, three people pushed into a two-man tent, and one of the members conquering the mountains of Torres del Paine in flip-flops (leaving literally every trespasser stunned behind). We definitely were a bunch of amateurs.

The O-trek of Torres del Paine

When hiking Torres del Paine you got multiple options. You either do day treks, the W-trail, or the O-trail. During your hike, you need to bring everything you need. Tents, food, sleeping bags, clothes for all kinds of weather, and some good spirit. We did the O-trek or circuit which means about 130km hiking up and down mountains coming across all four seasons in one day. Never ask about the weather forecast, because people simply can’t predict it.

trekking torres del paine in Chile

Survival adventures

In the first part of the trail, we saw barely anybody. It was just us, a bunch of woodpeckers, beautiful valleys, and even more beautiful mountains. The absolute highlight of this part of the trail was ”The Pass”. Feared by many because of its killer incline and the insanely long day, but damn, it was cool. The first part was like a proper survival trail; swinging from branch to branch, trying to avoid ending up head first in one of the many, many mud puddles. Didn’t work out that well.

Snow fight during Torres del Paine O-trek in Chile
rainbow above glacier torres del paine

Highlight of Torres del Paine

After a bit of mud wrestling, the real incline started. Combined with some snow fights and survival chocolates we made it to the top where we were in for a big surprise: a humungous glacier and endless views with double rainbows. Worth every single mud puddle I crashed into and every single blister I had on my soaked feet. This view has been seriously one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! Words can’t even describe how insanely beautiful this place was. I can’t believe I would have missed out on this adventure, if we’d chosen to walk the W-trail.

sunrise mountains torres del paine

Torres del Paine on fire

As if this wasn’t enough we got treated to many more glaciers, the most amazing rainbows, bright blue glacier lakes, waterfalls, and snowy mountains, to top it off with a sunrise at the Torres del Paine. After 8 days of walking, we climbed our way up through snow (feet were unconscious by now), while it was still dark, to experience one of the most amazing sunrises I have ever seen. I’m not even gonna try to describe how special and insanely gorgeous this was, because there are no words to do it justice.

A grand adventure

We wouldn’t be Team Seduction if this whole trekking was just about hiking. Oh no. At dinnertime we took over the dinner shack with some pots & pans music, we partied in a dome, lost 5kg the first five days and gained everything within an hour of cookie munches, and made a proper song about the Mustache Man we kept on running into.

Yes, life wasn’t that bad under these conditions. But gee, I’m happy we’re back! Time for a shower, a feed, and a big bottle of red wine. Thank you Torres for the pain, but mostly for the fun. It was an absolute pleasure.

Marthe

end of the torres del paine trekking

Photos by: M. Barends, F. Mosesson, K. Huguelet ©

Recap

Do you rather look at images than reading stories? No worries, we have a short recap of everything you need to know below.

Best time to visit

Patagonian Summer: December till March

Sleeping options

Bring your own tent and sleep on a different campground every single night or stay at one of the Refugios (book way in advance).

Insider tips

  • Rent your equipment in Puerto Natales
  • Bring thermic underwear
  • You can do the hike in running shoes if you didn't bring hiking boots (they dry faster)
  • Bring enough socks
  • A good water-resistant bag cover
Sunrise over Torres del Paine Chile

Currency

Chilean Peso

Weather

You'll experience all seasons in one day. So buckle up for sun, warmth, snow, rain, wind, and cold.

Entrance Fee

35.000 Chilean Peso
Paid in cash at the entrances of the National Park Laguna Amarga, Sarmiento, or Serrano.