Backpack Patagonia's Torres del Paine Circuit


Global Adventure - Backpack Patagonia's Torres del Paine Circuit

Visit a penguin rookery on the Magellan Strait before tackling the spectacular 9–day, 75–mile Torres del Paine Circuit. See the fabled Horns of Paine reflected in Lago Paine; traverse remote Lago Dickson; climb to the South Patagonian Icefield; explore the hidden towers of the French Valley; and see the sunrise on the Paine Towers. Participants carry their overnight gear (tent, sleeping bag, clothing) but most food will be taken at refugios along the way. NOTE THAT THE PRICE SHOWN BELOW IS THE FINAL PAYMENT. DUE BY SEPTEMBER 28, 2017.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Sun, Feb 11, 2018 — Thu, Feb 22, 2018
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Global Adventures, Backpacking
  • Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 94.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 14,000 ft

Arrive no later than Sunday, Feb 11, 2018 in Punta Arenas, Chile (participants encouraged to arrive a day earlier, and/or to spend a couple of days in the fabulous city of Santiago Chile on the way!)  

Transfer to Torres del Paine National Park on Feb 13 and backpack the Paine Circuit Feb 13-21.  On Feb 22, transfer back to Punta Arenas for flights home, or to El Calafate, Argentina to join with the Global Adventure Backpack the Fitz Roy Massif.

Itinerary Highlights:  After meeting at the colorful town of Punta Arenas in far-south Chile, and a boat tour to see a colony of Magellanic Penguins, we’ll drive across the steppe to start the centerpiece of our 14–day itinerary:  a 9–day, 75–mile circumnavigation of the Paine Massif, including a hike to a mirador (viewpoint) across Lago Pehoe overlooking the fabled Cuernos or Horns of Paine; crossing a high pass overlooking the world’s third largest ice sheet; exploring far up the French Valley to the backside of the famed Paine Towers; and (weather permitting) a predawn walk to the Towers for a spectacular sunrise view.  We'll carry overnight gear but only 2 days of food, as we'll be eating at the refugios most of the way.

With our backpacks we will visit and camp in remote places few visitors get to see, while enjoying hearty food, warm shelter and international camaraderie at refugios interspersed between camps along the route.   Review the detailed itinerary.  (NOTE:  As with any extended travel, but particularly in an area with unpredictable weather, our itinerary can change without notice and sections may be modified or dropped.   The priority will always be on safety for all participants.) 

View a photo journey around the Torres del Paine circuitphoto journey around the Torres del Paine circuit from our past Global Adventures!

Time of Year: We’ll be visiting during Patagonia’s high summer, when the likelihood of clear skies and warm temperatures are highest (though high winds and foul weather can arise even in mid summer).

Lodging:   Comfortable 3-star hotels or hostels in town, and 4 nights of camping and 4 nights of refugios, plus a night at the luxurious and beautifully located  Hosteria Las Torres at the end of the circuit.

Food:   Hearty refugio breakfasts and dinners included on most days (we carry lunches, snacks and one night's food for Camp Paso where no food service is available).

Leader’s Experience:  Cheryl Talbert has led many Mountaineers hikes and several Mountaineers and private backpacks, treks and cultural trips around the U.S. west and worldwide, including 2 group trips to Patagonia in 2012 and 2015. (

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:  The Paine Circuit is rated strenuous, because of potentially severe weather, rugged terrain, up to 12-mile days and 2500+ feet of elevation gain with a pack. 

Limit:   Maximum of 10-12, minimum of eight, including the leader.

Participant Requirements: Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file and have filled out a Global Adventures Waiver. This outing includes strenuous hiking on rugged terrain (including some steep moraine and scree slopes) for multiple successive days without such amenities as showers or laundry.  The weather can change suddenly to high winds and snow or heavy rain.  For these reasons, participants need to be in excellent condition with good balance and confidence traveling on rough trail with a pack, and with the experience and willingness to pack appropriately and to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods.  Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:  Your leader makes most of the arrangements and provides logistics support during the trip, but is NOT a tour guide!  As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe.  You must have the ability to navigate on trails with a map and compass.

Price:  $2800 including all lodging, transportation, excursions and most meals.  Your airfare (~$2000), travel insurance ($75-350) and a few meals in town (~$150) are not included.   NOTE:  The member price shown at the top of this listing is just the price of the 50% deposit.

Registration: Please complete the application, sign the Global Adventures Liability Release and Indemnity Agreement and submit it to the leader for permission to register. After the leader’s approval, pay a 50% deposit online or by calling Mountaineers Member Services 206-521-6001, in order to hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on August 1, 2017 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by September 1, 2017.

Participation in the trip will be conditional upon completion and signature of the Global Adventure Liability Release form (available soon), the 2018 Patagonia Trip Agreement form, and a confidential dietary, medical and insurance disclosure form demonstrating proof of medical and emergency evacuation insurance coverage.  These forms are to be submitted to the trip leader.  Failure to submit the expected forms will result in cancellation from the trip.

Participants will also be required to carry international medical insurance and emergency evacuation insurance sufficient to be repatriated back to  a hospital of your choice in the U.S. Find information and guidance about purchasing this insurance.

Cancellation: If you cancel from this trip for any reason, you may receive a refund less non-recoverable expenses and a $100 administrative fee.  Refunds may be delayed until after the group returns in order to fully determine the expenses that can be recovered.


Backpack Patagonia's Torres del Paine Circuit

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters and emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.  Review the recommended Gear and Packing List.

Best guidebook:  Lonely Planet Trekking in Patagonia.


Trip Reports