Chile 3: Campamento Los Guardas to los Cuernos

After a hectic four days, Team Australia woke and prepared for the final half of the circuit, completion of the ‘W’ section of the Torres Del Paine hike. Simon and Ang got ready, broke camp and loaded up their packs for the walk to Campamento Italiano.

Morning Grey Glacier!

Their walk took them south away from Grey Glacier, along the left stroke of the ‘W’. Simon had commented that he was yet to experience Patagonian winds and was rewarded gusts strong enough to almost knock both team mates off their feet. Despite having the more aerodynamic pack, Ang fared little better.  The two racers were blown all the way to the bottom of the lake over the next few hours, but were glad the wind was at their backs.

Simon uses his awesome strength to kick a tree over

During this stretch, the team walked past more people over the course of the morning than they had seen in the previous three days. It was obvious they had arrived on the popular ‘W’. This was also the barren section of the Torres Del Paine park that had been burnt out by an Israeli walker. Both Simon and Ang were once again thankful they were walking in the direction they were as the ash from the fire was at their backs and not in their faces.

Left over blaze rubbish
Windy patagonia

Ang’s shoe problems had now become acute and she was in considerable pain. Not wanting to cause the team to forfeit the challenge for a time penalty, Ang soldiered on all the way around to the mid point of the ‘W’, to the free Campamento Italiano. Late that afternoon, the team walked into the camp.  Ang struggled in with tears due to the pain caused by her new shoes.

Simon in the wasteland

After a concerned Chilean ranger looked at her feet, he advised that Ang pull out and get the ferry by walking back the way they’d came.  Ang being Ang decided that they had come to far to quit and took this as a challenge, plus they were racing, so she didn’t want to give up. She reckoned that she could walk the short distance to Los Cuernos campsite where she would be able to rest her feet.  After Simon put the campsite together, he decided that since the majority of the walk was now complete, he would swap shoes with Ang.  To see if he would have the capability to walk the remaining distance in Ang’s shoes, and because the cloud cover had lifted, Simon headed up alone into the Frances Valley as the sun was starting to set.

Simon raced up the hill and took a bunch of photos before returning back down to the camp, completing a 20km walk. Once back at camp he had dinner with Ang and Teams Wales, UK/Australia, America and Germany and compared notes. Once again, sleep came easily.

Half way up Frances Valley, Simon realises it has been five days since he last shaved Frances valley mountains, the back end of the Torres

Waking, Simon and Ang made breakfast and broke camp.  They moved at a relaxed place over to the next campsite just 1 hour away to Los Cuernos. There they made camp, and rested. Simon occupied himself by building a sturdy rock wall to act as a wind break whilst Ang opted to stay by the warmth of the fire in the refugio in company of other travellers drinking wine and eating chocolate.  Teams America and Germany pushed on and continued to the Torres Del Paine.  Teams Wales, and the combined UK and Australian team spent most of the day walking up into Frances Valley, then they also made camp in Los Cuernos.

Patagonian lake
Humble tent with Simon’s rock wall wind break challenge effort

…To be continued

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