Thursday, January 21, 2010

Patagonian Marathon: A Wet and Wild Tour of Torres del Paine

Now with our basecamp moved down to Campamento Torres, we have a lot more to occupy ouselves with during the long days spent waiting for our weather window. Our favorite pastimes include vicious slander, runs up to the Mirador, weather speculation, pull-up contests and practicing my horrible version of Spanish in the park ranger´s hut. Very much unlike Yosemite, the rangers here are way cool, and are always willing to help you out and give you a hot drink and a place to warm up.
But even all that will still lead to the inevitable cabin fever all too common in these parts. So Josh decided that he was going to run the Torres Circuit in a push. It takes normal people 7-10 days. It´s like 55-60 miles. No way am I doing that, I said. My knees are worth more that.
Well, stupid ideas tend to breed more stupid ideas, so within hours I was planning my own enduro-hike, which would not require as much mileage, but would take me on a sweet loop touring the frontside of the park.

Ascensio Valley

I left the cave at 5:15 am and started my stop watch at the edge of Torres Camp at 5:30. The early morning hike/run down the Ascensio Valley was rad. I was on the trail for about 4 hours before running into anybody else. The temps were cool, and I was comfortable in shorts.

Early morning atLago Nordenskjold

Morning light hits the Cuernos

Taking a couple short breaks at Campamento Cuernos and Italiano for food and stretching, I was well ahead of the time benchmarks I had set for myself, and after Italiano the terrain flattened out considerably. Near to Lago Pehoe, however, the weather closed in hard. The wind, which had been ever present but thus far benign, began picking up the water off the lake and hurling it sideways.

Patagonia or Serengeti?

I continued through this crap for another mind-altering 17 km to my end point at the Administration office at Lago Toro. I was wet. From here I waiting for the bus and caught a ride back into town to dry out.
My total point to point time was 10.5 hours over 29.5 miles (47.5 km). Josh crushed the full circuit in 17.5 hours. I said it before and I´ll say it again- running is stupid, unless you´re getting chased by a bear.


esanch said...

Nice photos. That is a pretty good pace.

Juan korkuerika said...

Recuerdos desde EspaƱa locooooooooooo... Nos vemos este verano en Yosemite...
Hasta la vista alpinista