Unlike the hikes elsewhere on our trip where the trails have been well-defined, the ascent to the summit of Cerro Paine was an unmarked scramble over rocks and gravel for the entire 1.5 mile, 1,600 ft. ascent.
Our legs felt it immediately; each step up requiring concentration. So, even though our climb to Laguna de los Tres in El Chaltén was further and steeper, this hike was more challenging.
Here we are getting started after tying up the horses.
The climb continued getting steeper and more difficult. After about an hour, Dale saw a large bird overhead and asked Jorge, “Is that a condor?” When Jorge replied, “Yes,” Dale said, “Is he circling so he can eat me when I die from this climb?”
Is was a strenuous hike.
But we persevered…
…and made it to the summit.
After lunch at the top, we sat for a few moments, contemplating the magnificence of this place while admiring the Three Towers.
Out of nowhere, a cold, strong wind blew and we bundled up, adding our raincoats to act as windbreakers and putting on gloves, hats and gators for warmth.
Here we are on top, with a view behind us of the valley from which we ascended. That’s Lago Nordenskjöld on the right and Lago Sarmiento de Gamboa on the left.
Time to make our retreat.
About half way back down, we could see the hotel. That’s it mid-photo, slightly to the left.
And here’s a last look back up toward the summit with the Three Towers in the distance.
It wasn’t an exceptionally long hike, but, for us, it was quite an accomplishment.