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timothydhalleine contributor

Hiking the Torres del Paine "O" Trek 8/9

Day 8: The Towers’ Base (22 km / 13 mi)

We left EcoCamp at 8am. The sun would rise soon and we wanted to start the hike before the crowds. The beginning of the hike was a good warm-up; we hiked up for 45 minutes before reaching the Ascencio Valley, where we could see the Ascencio River quietly snaking through the mountains. We took a short break at the Chileno refuge before entering the forest.

The Towers’ Base – commonly known as “Base Torres” – is the “icing on the cake” of Chile’s Patagonia and the trail became worldwide famous for its incredible viewpoint of the granite towers. Reaching that viewpoint is not too technical but the last slope may be intimidating for inexperienced hikers. We hiked up the moraine and walked through a series of boulders before reaching the famous lagoon.

Half of this famous trail goes through a beautiful forest Half of this famous trail goes through a beautiful forest

It was another beautiful day, and we could see the three peaks under a beautiful blue sky. I have heard plenty of stories of hikers who could barely see the lagoon. The three towers – the highest one towering at 2850 m (9350 ft) – were in front of us. We ate our lunch there, contemplating what for all of us was one of the most impressive places we had ever seen.

The final ascent is a fantastic uphill through a moraine The final ascent is a fantastic uphill through a moraine

Hiking as a group gives birth to a fantastic human energy. It gathers people. It makes you lifelong friends. The last night was just another excuse to drink some fine Chilean red wine in the Bar Dome while sharing stories. The circuit was over and we all knew it would be hard to reconnect to the outside world.