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Nick and Bec's Big Trip Starting on the 29th of June 2008 Bec and I will be starting a year long adventure, spending 6 months in Africa and another 6 months in South America. It should be lots of fun.

Torres del Paine at 5:30am

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 7 February 2009 | Views [345] | Comments [1]

Here is the second diary entry for today. It is day five out of ten of our trek around Torres del Paine and an exta bit called the ´Q´.

31st January - Day 5, Sighting the Towers at 5:30am, plus Campamento Torres to Hosteria Las Torres

We have just added up the distances for the ´Q´ and it is huge at 134km! That was a bit unexpected and so far we have covered 73km. Over halfway and on the home straight, well sort of, albeit a long one.

Today we got up at 4:10am ready to see the sunshine on the towers. We got dressed, packed sleeping bags, thermarests, the stove, some gas, a packet of soup, lots of snacks including chocolate, scroggin, museli bars and sweets, waterproofs and our water bottles with pear flavoured water. By 4:40am we had completed our bodily functions and were off, with head torches over beanies. We expected the climb to take 45minutes, so just in time to see the sun hit the towers and make them shine brilliant red.

I´m in front and it is at this point I realise my head torch batteries are rubbish as all I can see is my shadow illuminated by Bec´s head torch. So in the dim light of my torch I start to pick a way up the immense boulder field, which stretches from the edge of the beech forested campsite right to the mirador in front of the towers a good distance above us. It is a scramble on all fours and mostly in my own shadow. Of course I could of changed the batteries, but that would have been easy! Part way up Bec takes the lead and eases my not so bright torch situation. Spotting each guide pole or ´comfort marker´ and heading for it we ascend and the towers grow in the dim early morning light.

At this point I realise our water bottles are full of pear flavoured water and there won´t be a stream at the top. So unless we want pumpkin soup with pear water, soup is off. We didn´t try it, we were that desperate for soup. It could wait.

So we reach the top of the boulder field and cross over and down to find a spot out of the terrific Patagonian wind (strong, gusty and comes from no-where). Bec found a spot so we quickly inflated our sleeping mats, removed shoes and hopped into our sleeping bags with beanies pulled down over our ears and gloves firmly on.

I noticed on the way up looking over my shoulder, the approach of the sun, indicated by intense red clouds just showing between the overlapping ridges.

Whilst we are waiting for the sun, we munch on scroggin and a couple of museli bars, plus ready the tripod for the blast of much anticipated colour. As it starts to lighten up, it becomes clear that the three towers, south, central and north, are free of cloud cover and awesome to see. Jagged is not an extreme enough word. They rise menacingly towards the sky with not a rounded edge in sight. They seem to sit on another massive buttress of rock that dives into a grey glacial lake at a crazily steep angle. Snow and ice is all around with hanging glaciers and snow fields all in view.

We hunker down in our sleeping bags contemplating our mistake with the soup and pear water depending on our point of view. It is definately getting light. The towers should turn red any minute now. We wait some more, it gets lighter, we take lots of photos and dawn and day arrive, but alas the towers do not turn red. We are not treated to a spectacular exhibition of colour. Our luck has run out, the sun has been beaten by the southern Patagonian weather and can´t break through the cloud cover behind us.

We decide to call it quits and head back to camp. We pack up and continue down to Hosteria Las Torres our next camp for the ´Q´ circuit. So we are now down the valley writing around a small fire, much looking forward to an early sleep. Five more days to go.

Comments

1

What a pity all that effort. But you should have made the soup - could be a gastronomic experience not to be missed!

  pat Feb 10, 2009 1:08 AM

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