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Journal #37: Patagonia :( Pt. 2

This is from a journal written on May 3, in Florianópolis, Brazil.

Today, I would like to recount our Torres del Paine hike fail.

The forecast for Saturday's weather in the park gradually got worse in the week leading up to our trip. On Wednesday, my weather app said 70% chance of rain. On Thursday, it said 80% chance, and by Friday, it showed a 100% chance.

We had already booked our glacier tickets for Friday, so we had to do the hike on Saturday (our only other dull day in Patagonia). So, we had to send it.

We woke up before sunrise again and made it to the Welcome Center by 9:00 am, just after sunrise. When we checked in, the ranger warned us that the top of the hike was currently closed due to weather.

We were determined, however. I asked him if it would be closed all day, and he told us that it was up to the ranger on the mountain. When we make our way to him, he will make the call if it's safe to proceed or not.

Great! There's a chance!

We parked the car, ate some muffins from our host's daily delivery, and started the trek.

Ok, before I get into our experience with the hike, do you want to hear something funny? Well, it wasn't funny to us, but you might enjoy it. I had read this girl's blog post about the Mirador Torres del Paine hike before arriving in Chile. She described the hike as long but relatively flat until the last half-mile, where you have to climb up some rocks to get to the lake.

So, I was thinking, Awesome! Twelve miles is pretty long, but it shouldn't be too strenuous.


The first 2 miles were straight up the side of the mountain. The trail goes up, down, up, down as you gradually gain around 3,000 feet in elevation.

So, we're booking it up the side of this mountain. For some reason, we thought we had to be the first ones to the top, but we were gassed.

Finally, we made it to the last mile marker, and at 5.92 miles, we ran into the ranger.

We casually gave him a 'hello' nod and walked past him. But, he stopped us, "No, no. You can't go further."

"Ok, can we wait a little bit and go on in the next hour or so?" I asked.

"No," he sternly responded, "Zero visibility today and too much ice on the rocks."

Dammit. Brett and I looked at each other, exhausted and defeated. We were in the final freaking stretch! So, freaking close!

With heads hung, we found a rock to sit on and eat our packed lunch that we were supposed to eat while gazing at the blue lake with the towers reaching regally into the sky.

Then as our bodies started to cool down and the ranger turned away hiker after hiker, we decided it was time to call it and hike another 5.92 miles back to the car.

Although we were extremely disappointed, we still had fun along the way, met a German couple and a guy from Israel, and we're proud we made it up and down an (almost) 12-mile hike in under five hours.

Here are the lessons from our failed hike:

  • January – March are the best months to visit the park (Chilean summer), but March is great if you like fewer crowds. We went end of April on the brink of winter and suffered the consequences.

  • If possible, give yourself more than two or three days in the park. You can plan around the weather and plan your hiking days on the clearest forecasted days.

Torres, we'll be back for you someday!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

My boyfriend and I started our digital nomad journey in December 2021. We're just starting out and want to share all the ups and downs with you!

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