The mighty Las Torres Towers

Torres Del Paine Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 10 › view all entries
The tops of the towers as seen from Refugio Chileno

While chatting with the other trekkers on the previous evening, we knew that a group would be leaving at 3am in the morning to hike up to the base of the Las Torres Towers to see sunrise. We were tempted to join but the weather forecast was not very promising. Indeed, when we got up at 7.20am, the sky was overcast and the towers were hidden behind the clouds. It was rather disappointing because the trail to the Mirador Las Torres is the most famous trail in the entire national park. After all, the park is named after the three Torres del Paine towers.

The impressive rock formation is made up by the Torre Sur (southern tower, 2,850m), Torre Central (central tower, 2,800m), Torre Norte (northern tower, 2,248m) and Mount Nido de Condor (2,243m).

.... I was dwarfed by this huge rock boulder!
They are the remains of a great cirque formed by tectonic forces and sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. These towers with their imposing vertical granite walls are every climber’s dream to conquer. The South Tower is the tallest and the hardest to get of the three towers.

Leaving Refugio Chileno at about 8.30am, we began on the trail across Rio Ascencio into the forest of native Lenga (Beech) trees and small rivers with the usual ups and downs. It took us nearly two hours to reach the Campamento Torres, the campsite at the base of the steep moraine leading to the Mirador.

On the way through the forest, we met a lot of campers and trekkers on their way down. It was indeed a busy trail! Apparently, those who went up to the Mirador hoping to catch the sunrise were not quite successful.

With the famous Las Torres Towers in the background
It snowed a bit and the towers were hidden in the clouds. Only a portion of Cerro Nido de Condor caught a bit of the pink glow. We were quite glad to have made the right decision not to attempt catching the sunrise.

After a short rest, we began our climb up the steep moraine with huge boulders leading to that famous view of the eastern face of the Towers. The sky was still partially overcast with clouds hanging ominously above us. Halfway on the uphill slog up the moraine, it started to snow and we waited behind some huge rocks to keep out of the way of the winds. The snow shower lasted for about 15mins and after which, the sun even shone a bit.

We continued on the trail and could see a part of the towers’ peaks. After a while, we finally reached the Mirador Las Torres where a postcard view of an amazing natural amphitheater with the impressive granite towers rising 1,000m vertically from the glacier and a glacier-fed lagoon laid before our eyes.

The postcard view that almost every visitor to the park would love to see!
The peaks were dancing in and out of the fast moving clouds and it wasn’t long before all three towers with their peaks came in view. The Towers are certainly impressive but the majestic Cerro Fitz Roy in El Chalten, Argentina still remains as my favourite.

As most trekkers gathered around the Mirador signboard, we took the effort to make our way all the way down to the glacial lagoon and took a dip in the icy water …. with only the hands of course! Away from the other trekkers up at the Mirador, it was a tranquil and surreal feeling down at the lagoon with the Towers rising dramatically above. Yet another place for lunch with a grand view, we spent an hour there before proceeding with the return at about 2pm.

On the way down, we met many trekkers who were making their way up to the Mirador.

A dip in the glacial water ... well, just the fingers! Brrr, it was cold!
Still further down in the forest, we met many trekkers with huge rucksacks making their way up, presumably to the campsite. A number of them looked really exhausted.

We arrived back at the refugio at about 4.20pm, only to see the sun finally shining. There were a lot of horses waiting next to the campsite. These must be for the tourists who have opted for a horse ride up the Ascencio Valley before doing the hike up to the Mirador.

The Andean fox did not appear that evening as there were too many activities going on. There were some campers and trekkers still outside on the campground at 9pm. Inside the dining room, there was also a lot of commotion as a pair of good-humoured Portuguese brothers was engaging almost everyone into singing and dancing. 

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The tops of the towers as seen fro…
The tops of the towers as seen fr…
.... I was dwarfed by this huge ro…
.... I was dwarfed by this huge r…
With the famous Las Torres Towers …
With the famous Las Torres Towers…
The postcard view that almost ever…
The postcard view that almost eve…
A dip in the glacial water ... wel…
A dip in the glacial water ... we…
After the 2hr walk through the for…
After the 2hr walk through the fo…
The moraine with huge rock boulder…
The moraine with huge rock boulde…
Negotiating the rock boulders
Negotiating the rock boulders
On the last few steps of rocky asc…
On the last few steps of rocky as…
View of the Ascencio Valley and th…
View of the Ascencio Valley and t…
The impressive rock formation. Fro…
The impressive rock formation. Fr…
An obligatory picture with the Las…
An obligatory picture with the La…
The amazing natural amphitheater o…
The amazing natural amphitheater …
For Lauro
For Lauro
The other trekkers, all hovering n…
The other trekkers, all hovering …
On the glacial lagoon at the base …
On the glacial lagoon at the base…
The famous Las Torres towers with …
The famous Las Torres towers with…
Reflections of the Las Torres towe…
Reflections of the Las Torres tow…
The rocky moraine with a bit of La…
The rocky moraine with a bit of L…
On the way down the rocky moraine …
On the way down the rocky moraine…
Torres Del Paine
photo by: Vlindeke