Torres del Paine, rising towards the sky like three perfect granite arrows, are really the ideal archetip of rocky towers which stays inside the dreams of every mountaineer. They are located in southern ChileanPatagonia (Chile’s Magallanes Region, Ultima Esperanza Province, Torres del Paine Community), between Cordillera de Los Andes and Patagonian steppes.
The towers are rising up from Magellanic forests with impressive vertical cliffs. The majestic and the highest one is the incredible Torre Central,situated in the middle. From the "Mirador", a panoramic point of view near the Base Camp, it's possible to take the most impressive view over Torre Central stunning East Face; this is quite famous all over the world in reason of its outstanding steepness and the beauty of the surrounding landscape, shaped by the action of the ancient glaciers, renowned as well as the inclement weather conditions which distinguish the area.
Notwithstanding this, every year mountaineers organize their trips, hoping to climb this glamorous peak, while adventurous trekkers come to enjoy the tower’s dramatic scene, a popular hiking destination in Chile.
The approach to the area is from Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s Region XII, a more than 100,000 inhabitants’s town, with an active airport (2,500 Km South of Santiago). A 200 Km paved road (Ruta CH-9) connects Punta Arenas with Puerto Natales, the last small town on the way to Paine Region. From Puerto Natales (about 20,000 inhabitants, hotels) drive along a 120 Km unsurfaced road, leading to Laguna Amarga Keeper Post (Park Gate).
From here follow a narrow 7 Km. car road (private, tourists’s cars not allowed) to Estancia Paine (Lodge), from where the approach-trail to Chilean Camp is starting; follow it to Torres Base Camp, lying at the foot of Torres del Paine East faces (about 3-4 hours by walking).
Torres del Paine East wall seen from the Mirador - Ph. Danielschenk
Approaching from the Rio Ascensio valley
Torres del Paine West walls seen from upper Rio Ascensio Valley
Torre Central del Paine close-up taken from the Mirador
An impressive view point - the worldwide famous “Mirador” - is easily reached following a short trail from the Torres del Paine Base Camp.
Torre Central del Paine and the entire Cordillera del Paine lie inside "Torres del Paine National Park", one of most spectacular park in the country, established in 1959 and declared an UNESCO WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE in 1978. The Torres del Paine National Park is open all year round and is administered by the CONAF - National Forestry Commission. Access is regulated and an entrance fee is due. Its entry gates are about 115 kilometers from Puerto Natales.
The Sarmiento and Laguna Amarga entry gates are open from 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m., all year round.
Sunset over Cuernos del Paine and Torres in the back
A brilliant cloudless morning
"Malo tiempo" al Paine
Inside the park there is a huge variety of animal species and plant. The landscape is characterized by stunning peaks, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, forests and superb lakes: Torres del Paine National Park quite deserves its reputation.
Torres del Paine from the Mirador
Approach in the beech wood
An exciting moment near the summit
First summiters: Chris Bonington and Don Whillans 1963, January, 16th
- The likely first attempt to climb Torre Central del Paine dates back in 1940, when the Germans Rudolf and Werner made an attempt to climb up from the saddle between Torre Central and Torre Sur, without leaving any climbing report.
- Torre Central absolute first ascent was realized many years later by the British Chris Bonington and Don Whillans along the North Ridge VI, A2 600 mt. 16.01.1963.
- The Italians Armando Aste, Vasco Taldo, Nando Nusdeo, JosveAiazzi and Carlo Casati realized the second ascent the day after the British team (17.1.1963), climbing the same route.
Faces and Routes overview
East Face Routes: A La Ballena de los vientos- B Insumisioa- C Magico Est- D El gordo,el flaco y l'abuelito-E Riders on the storm- F El regalo del Mwoma- G Golazo- H Una fina linea- i Macaroni- J South African- K Waiting for Godot-L Original British Route ph. Alberto Rampini
- North Face
"North Ridge British Route" - Chris Bonington and Don Whillans (UK) on the North Ridge VI, A2 600 mt. 16.01.1963 - The first route realized on the tower.
- East face (including NE and SE routes) in chronological order:
"North-East Dihedral Southafrican Route" - Michael Scott, Richard Smithers (South Africa) 21.1.1974 (absolute 3rd ascension) ED sup, VI, A4 1100 mt.