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Torres del Paine • Puerto Natales • Punta Arenas • Puerto Williams




Volume 2 • Issue 1 • Oct 2007 • cover image by Diego Araya ©

Organizing Chilean Patagonia

Issue Spotlight:

Women of Patagonia Past, present and future.

Tor res del Paine Climbing Per mits 2006-07



 Letter from the Editor


Rustyn Mesdag

Published by Southern Cross Ltda.

Here we go! Another season is upon us. For all the locals here in Patagonia, another winter is past and ev-

The Black Sheep

Organizing Chilean Patagonia Patagonia, Chile ph +56•61•415749

eryone is looking toward the new season. I am no different. Working in a seasonal profession makes for a incredible mental fatigue when the season reaches its end in about June, but also makes for the excitement we all feel this time of year - the buzz that hits the air when its all about to start all over again. Everyone

Production Editor • Design:

seems to miss the seasonal craziness despite the end of season fatigue. Like I said, I´m no different. I love living here in Chile. I love my work. Ever-changing and high energy. In the last few years since I have been working in Puerto Natales, Chile I have seen changes that naturally accure in a boom-town like this. New hotels, new business, new people, new ideas and new problems too. While Patagonia struggles with its growing pains, travelers come from all over the world unaware of the changes from last year, or a local issues that never crossed their minds. What they realize, unfortunately, right away is the high cost of travel and services in Chile compares to their travelers in the rest of the world and they start asking “Why?”. This is most loaded question in all of Patagonia. Now for all you lucky travellers out there heading into Torres del Paine, you will be welcomed this season with the new 15.000clp entrance fee. Thats like $30.00 USD. By most standards around the world, that is a incredibly high price for any traveller on a travelers budget. And everyone is forced too ask that big question again, ”Why?”. “Is all the camping in the Park free?” -no. “Is there a massive infrastructure that makes the Park ascend all other Parks in the world?” -no. “Is there a world class environmental protection plan for Torres del Paine?” -no.

Rustyn Mesdag

The Black Sheep is an independently and locally owned rag, inspired by life in Puerto Natales, Chile the foundation of Patagonia. A big, warm, woolly thanks go out to all black sheep who helped make this paper possible.

Business Director • Advertising Manager: Pilar Irribarra

Photographer: Diego Araya

Torres del Paine Bus Schedules Approximate travel times from Puerto Natales (allow for border crossings and tour connections within park) El Calafate 5 hrs TDP L. Amarga Punta Arenas 3 hrs TDP Pudeto Ushuaia 15 hrs TDP Admin

2 hrs 30 3 hrs 15 3 hrs 45

“Hard core Search & Rescue Team?” -don´t ask. “But why, why, why...?” Like all bureaucracies, the the devil is in the details. The original 10.000 entrance fee was not really going back into Torres del Paine. It was getting distributed between many parks across Chile to help foot the bill for parks not pulling in as much income from millions of tourists, but they also don´t have the traffic of Torres del Paine. This 5.000clp increase is said to be ‘mostly’ intended for use exclusively for the park. Lets hope. Word around the campfire is that there are talks of raising the

Natales - Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine - Natales

Andescape Ph 412877

(Laguna Amarga)






(Laguna Amarga)






(Laguna Amarga)


(Pudeto) (Administration)

14.00 13.00


entrance fee to 35.000CLP. That almost $70.00 USD. I don’t know about you, but I never would have been able to see the park my first time in Chile if that had been the entrance cost. Which would have meant I never would have moved here. Its said that this will be a clever way to limit the amount of traffic and erotion in the park. For $70.00 US entrance (not to mention all the other cost in the park) all it will accomplish is that thousand and thousands of backpackers will never be able to enjoy one of the earths natural gifts to its inhabitance. The ultra-rich will visit the park for a day and retreat to their luxurious digs

Gomez Ph 415700


for a lamb dinner and maybe a massage. Sounds a a lot like Aspen or Vail to me. Meanwhile backpackers will be in search of a more realistic alternative. Its no secret that there is a lot of beautiful to see in Patagonia, not only restricted to Torres del Paine National Park. There are endless, hidden and secluded spots in Patagonia where the camping is free, untouched by man. Hidden valleys, breathtaking waterfalls, incredible wildlife and as wonderful as any park in Patagonia. All of the international attention right now is on Torres del Paine, thus most operators in the area offer

JB Ph 412824


many programs in the park. But we are starting to notice that there are a few choice guide services that are offering programs in other parts of Patagonia. When the modern day adventurers call for these ‘off the beaten path’ programs, operators will make them available. Basic supply and demand. As far as the entrance fee price increase, lets all give the powers that be a chance to step up and make good on their promises. For now hold onto the hope that your travel money is being used to better the services. Keep your fingers crossed, an we will keep you updated...

Natales - Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas - Natales

Bus Fernandez Ph 411111

Bus Fernandez

8.30 13.00 14.30 17.00 18.30 20.00

Bus Pacheco

8.30 14.00 18.30 19.30 15.00 19.00

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Bus Pacheco Ph 414513

ph. +56-61 225889

7.15 9.00 13.00 14.30 17.00 18.30 20.00 7.30 10.00 13.30 18.00 7.00 15.00

Natales - El Calafate -starts Oct 8 Cootra Ph 412785


Bus Sur

Puerto Natales / Torres del Paine Questions & Answers How far is it to the park from here? From Natales, by bus, it takes about 2 - 2.5 hrs. What time do the buses leave in the morning? Most of the buses pick-up between 7 - 8am. What’s up with all the dogs? Half of them are street dogs, half of them are owned but run free anyway. Together they make more street dogs. It’s a circle of life thing... Can the buses to the park pick me up from my hostel? Some do, it depends if your hostel is friendly with the bus company. How can I book a refugio? You need to get in contact with Vertice, Pathgone, Fantastico Sur and/or Andescape. How much does camping cost in the park? Camping costs 3.500 pesos per person, not per tent, at the privately run sites. The CONAF sites are free. So, I pay an entrance fee AND pay to camp? Yep, and don’t forget your bus ticket, mini shuttle or catamaran, as well - all in Pesos only. Which campsites are free? Los Guardas, Italiano, Británico, Japones, Camp Las Torres, Los Perros, Paso, Zappata, Pingo and Las Carretas. At what time do the stores open in the morning? Don’t count on the stores being open before 9:30am, even then… What about mid day? Between 12 and 3 you might as well nap, too. Where can I buy food for the park? For selection, in town is the best. There ������ are three bigger supermarkets in town, the Magno located 1 block south from the Santiago Santander bank. The Don Bosco and Super Mix are both on the main streets of Baquedano and Bulnes. How do I contact the park’s Search and Rescue if something happens? There is no official Search and Rescue in the park, but any of the CONAF Ranger stations will help you. What are the winters like around here? Calm, blue, clear, freezing and beautiful. How cold does it get in the park at night? In the summer, not freezing, but it can still get close sometimes. Can I rent a tent and matress at the refugios? Yes, but you cant take them with you as you trek. This means that you can´t camp at any of the free campsites.´ Is there a bus that goes to Calafate directly from Torres del Paine? Yes, it picks up at 5pm at Laguna Amarga. Call Onas for that transfer. It costs 35.000 from the park and from Pto. Natales it costs 10.000. What’s the weather going to be like for the next few days? Thats the forbidden question.����������������� But we put this one in just for fun! .... No, really, what’s the weather going to be like? I need to know what to pack! Plan for everything, but mostly cold. The weather changes constantly. How much does the catamaran to Pehoe cost in the park? The Catamaran costs 10.000 pesos per person, one way, 18.000 round trip. Is there food sold in the park? You can buy hot meals in the refugios. As far as buying camp food, you can find October 2006

some staples at the bigger refugios. Can I cook in the refugios? In the nicer, bigger refugios you can usually find a gas stove to use, but no real kitchen facilities. Why do all the girls here wear those uniform mini skirts to school in such a cold and windy place? Another big mystery, but we are pretty sure it was a man’s idea. Are there any flights going in or out of that airstrip outside of town? They say it’s possible, but I have only seen a few planes there, mostly private. How much do the taxis cost? From 6am to 1am it’s 800 pesos. From 1am to 6am it’s 1.000 pesos. (Within city limits). How long does the trekking season last? Roughly from October to April, but it’s growing more every year. The truth is that it’s beautiful here all the time, the park is great in winter. Are there backpackers here in the winter? Not many in June, July and August... yet. What time is sunrise and sunset? It changes, of course, but the map you receive when you enter the park has some of that info on the back. When do the bars start hopping? If you’re really going to go out, and do it up right, don’t worry about starting until midnight... and don’t plan on coming home until breakfast. Is it true that they are RAISED the enterance fee to the park? Yes, it started this year for season 2006 / 2007. But if they do whats promised, the extra funds will go to better the park. We will keep you updated on how it turns out... What’s up with me not being able to flush my toilet paper down the toilet? Do I really have to throw it in the waste basket!? It depends on where you are. Sometimes its fine to flush it, but if it says not to, DONT! A bit gross and bizarre, I know, but the pipes from yester-year just cant handle it. If the weather is nice on the first day, should I go see the towers first? No. Any experienced climber, trekker or hiker will tell you to make a plan and stick to it. Trust fate with regards to the weather. Plan your trek before hand and go with it. Are the times on the trail maps accurate? The times are pretty good on the CONAF map, depending on your physical condition. Some of the books seem to be a bit off though. Is it worth renting a car to get around intead of useing the buses? Depends on your budget and your destination. Public transportation is always a good ides when possible, but there is alot of Patagonia out there that has no pulic buses. To see those places, getting a few people to pitch in for a car can make for a unique experiance. Do I get a map when I enter the park? Yes. You can buy a nicer wall map in town. Do I need sunscreen in the park? Absolutely! The hole in the ozone wobbles right over us this time of year. It can and will cause you problems after a multi day trek in the park. The UV rays come through the clouds too, so don’t go light on the sun protection. Where can I buy white gas? The pharmacies carry clean white gas. You can start finding them in some of the outdoor and building material stores too.

What’s up with all the military guys walking around town? There is a military base located right outside of town. Why do I get given a piece of little reciept paper every time I buy something? It´s the law, no joke. Everyone takes it very seriously. Do I need to tie up my food in the park? Not really. But mice and/or a fox might get into your vestabule. It’s best to sleep with food in the tent, with you. Can you drink the water in the park? You bet! Best water in the world. Just make sure it’s fresh run off, no lake water or anything down stream from a camp or refugio. Why do I seem to understand LESS Spanish in Chile than anywhere else? Chileans down here talk really fast and with a lot of slang. Why is there so much garbage on the beach? That is a very good question. Is there a place to recycle my glass, plastic, or cardboard? Not yet. The Patagonia Foundation is getting the ball rolling though. They will recycle your batteries. Hostels are now starting to recycle glass. Ask you hostel... Do I have to worry about making a reservation for the bus on my way back from TdP? No. There is almost always room, and they never leave anyone behind. They always work it out for you. ...and all the buses and all the boats meet up with each other perfectly, crazy I know.

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Bulnes 343

Puerto Natales, Chile

Patagonia Comfortable rooms, Continental breakfast, private bathrooms, 24 hour reception, cable tv, multilingual, telephone

Hostal Francis Drake Phone & Fax +56-61 411553 Phillipi 383 Pto Natales, Chile

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Resto-Bar & Cafe

Phone +56 61 412239 Bulnes 299 Pto.Natales

Cheese, wines & bread

EMPORIO de la Pampa Retail, coffee shop, Chilean wines, homemade brown bread and locally produced gourmet cheese.

Eberhard 226 Puerto Natales Patagonia Chile 09-5645547 Eberhard 301 Puerto Natales, Chile ph. 414382 - 415660 - 413306 Cerro Castillo ph. 691932 - 413063 ANEXO 122

Books & Maps Postcards & Stamps Souvenirs

ÑANDÚ Hand Crafts

by Sarah Anderson

“PATAGONIA! who would ever think of going to such a place?” asked friends of the young Lady Florence Dixie before she set off on her trip in 1878. “ What on earth makes you choose such an outlandish part of the world to go to? What can be the attraction?” Her reply may perhaps strike a chord with some of the current visitors to Patagonia. “Precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away, I chose it. Palled for the moment with civilisation and its surroundings, I wanted to escape somewhere where I might be as far removed from them as possible.” Lady Florence Dixie is considered to be the first tourist to visit Torres del Paine. There had been various expeditions to Patagonia during the 19th century but hers was the first trip made purely for pleasure. Vastly different to the trips made nowadays, she recorded her journey in the book Across Patagonia (1880), part hunting log and part travel journal. The party consisted of her husband, her two brothers and Julius Beerbohm (whose book Wanderings in Patagonia, travels with the ostrich hunters had just been published). They set off from Punta Arenas mid December 1878, with 4 local guides, some 50 horses and 1 servant, first bordering the Straits of Magellan then heading north until they reached the eastern section of Torres del Paine. They hunted anything that moved and ate almost everything they killed. Many passages in the book are given over to describing the hunts and the subsequent meals and recipes! To the modern reader the hunting appears excessive, the list includes ostrich (ñandus), guanacos, birds and ducks, pumas, foxes, a mountain cat, a huemul (deer) and even a condor. Their skins, furs and feathers were to be taken home as trophies and the meat was eaten but interestingly, towards the end of the book, Dixie herself kills the deer and is filled with regret “For many a day I was haunted by a sad remorse for the loss of that innocent and trusting life, which had hitherto remained in innocence of the annihilating propensities of man”. The party rode across the pampas and reached as far as the Sierra Baguales, the wild horse canyon (the wonderful jagged peaks to the east as you enter the park) before turning towards the mountains. She was fascinated with the towers which she likened to Cleopatra´s Needle, a monument in London. “The three red peaks.......... their white glaciers, with the clouds resting on them, were all mirrored to marvellous perfection in the motionless lake whose crystal waters were of the most extraordinarily brilliant blue.... and exactly in its centre stood a little green island with a clump of beech trees growing on it.” They spent several days trying to get closer but had to turn back as their supplies were running low and there could be no hunting in the mountains. The lake she described is now known as Laguna Azul and the island in the middle is named after her. At the beginning of the trip they talk of “roughing it” and they certainly did not enjoy the comfort of a typical safari. They had two basic tents but often had to sleep in the open due to the wind. They slept on guanaco fur bed rolls and used their saddles as pillows. They all helped with the camp chores and they often spent all day riding. They survived various pampas fires and an earthquake as well as enduring what many backpackers today experience “the drenching rains, the scorching sun, the pitiless mosquitoes, and the terrible blasting winds”. On the way back to Punta

Arenas they were without food for several days being unable to find anything to hunt and having lost their last food supplies. As the first tourist she left a reminder of her visit, “before leaving our camp we carved our names on one of the trees and erected a cairn on the top of which we left a bottle- the only emblem of civilisation we could spare.” She also took home a souvenir (as well as the furs and hides), a dog who had joined their party halfway through the trip. Despite having never once taken part in a hunt, “Pucho” endeared himself to her and he was taken went back to Scotland and accompanied her, whilst she wrote her book, “sitting in the cosiest corner by my fire”. The book, with illustrations from sketches by Julius Beerbohm, was a surprising best seller when it was published in 1880. A trip to the Arctic was planned next but was not undertaken due to a lack of funds. She then went to cover the Zulu wars as the war correspondent for the (London) Morning Post interviewing the recently dethroned King Cetswayo. She became interested in a variety of different causes and wrote frequently about the rights of women. Most surprisingly she became a vegetarian in the 1890´s and wrote passionately against hunting and the cruel blood sports she had once enjoyed publishing The Horrors of Sport in 1891. Born in Scotland, in 1855, Florence was the daughter of the Marquis of Queensberry. Her life was marked by tragedy and loss. Her father killed himself when she was 3 and a brother died in a climbing accident when she was 8. Her mother coped with these losses by taking the children travelling in Europe, a habit Florence got used to. Later on, her twin Jim, who had accompanied her on the trip, also committed suicide and her other brother took Oscar Wilde to court involving the family in a scandalous trial. Her husband was addicted to gambling and drinking and they lost their home due to debts. She herself died at the relatively young age of 50, crippled by arthritis. She was buried in an unmarked plot on her family´s estate in Scotland. Her book and that of Julius Beerbohm, are both still in print and available in English and Spanish. They remain unique accounts of how Patagonia was before the colonizers arrived; “a land of the lonely plains, where the guanaco and ostrich and the Red Indians roam far from the ken of mankind and where I spent a careless, happy time which I can never forget.”

Lady Florence Dixie on the cover of Vanity Fair 1884

The Hard Truth About Cabo Froward - The accual end of the trail The Strait of Magellan, the channel, scene of countless shipwrecks, the oldest cemetery in Patagonia, historical bays and bizarre stories of buried treasure. The bottom of Africa and the bottom of Australia are easy to find. They’re just spots on a map that you drive your car to, get out, take a photo next to the sign and drive off. Not the case for the bottom point of South America. This journey is only for those ready to get completely away from the masses and willing to put themselves in a place where the words ‘self reliance’ cannot be taken lightly. Be prepared for an agonizingly rough trail, relentless wind and two neck-high river crossings carrying your pack over your head. Our trek began where the dirt road ends.

Old deep forest of nothofagus: huge coigues that seems never before seen or touched. The views were incredible, not only the Strait itself, but the mountains surrounding it. Mt. Sarmiento is impressive, reaching more than 7000 feet after rising out of the sea. And then there is the Darwin Range, part of Alberto de Agostini National Park. There is a good chance of being saturated at least once a day. The hike covers sand, rainforest and rock, plus two large river crossings and multiple small ones. The trail is not always clearly marked. Finding a reliable map is next to impossible. Trails are only marked by the few that try their luck reaching the bottom of the continent. . This is what will be a section of the Sendero de Chile project, which aims to create roads and paths and ferries that span the

Like You Were Never Here Leave No Trace is a program developed by the US Forest Service, the National Outdoors Leadership School (NOLS) and The Bureau of Land Management. It is designed to educate people on how to minimise their impact on the environment while camping. 1. Plan Ahead and Prepare -Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. -Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies. -Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. -Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4 - 6. -Repackage food to minimize waste. -Use a map and compass to eliminate use of rock cairns, flagging or marking paint. 2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces -Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. -Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet away from lakes, streams -Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. -In popular areas -Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy. -Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.

length of Chile, eliminating the need to cross into Argentina. This project is expected to be completed in 2010. The final goal is to reach the crucifix that overlooks the end of the American continent. The view from the lookout provides a true sense of history. At that moment you realize where in the world you are. This trek is not for everyone. There is no help, or contact with the world for days in any direction. The weather can be equally beautiful and unforgiving. This completely self supported trip can be called nothing less then extreme trekking.

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-Leave No Trace

-Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails. -Avoid places where impacts are just beginning. 3. Dispose of Waste Properly -Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter. -Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. -Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. -To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater. 4. Leave What you Find -Preserve the past, observe but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts. -Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. -Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. -Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches. 5. Minimize Campfire Impacts -Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.



-Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires. -Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. -Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes 6. Respect Wildlife -Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. -Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviours, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. -Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. -Control pets at all times, or leave them at home. -Avoid wildlife during sensitive times, mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

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7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors -Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. -Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail. -Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. -Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. -Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises. Source

The Longest Trek in the World The “Sendero de Chile”is a huge project which aims to link Chilean people and foreigners with the natural, cultural, ethnic, and scenic variety of our country. By the year 2010 it will be the longest trail in the world, with an extension over 8.500 kilometers. This path will link the plateau and the most barren desert of the world; central valleys and its cities, parks, woods, lakes and volcanoes in southern Chile; austral glaciers and the vast expanse of the Patagonia pampas, and finally, the main island ecosystems, with paths in isla de Pascua in Archipielago de Juan Fernández and Isla Grande de Chiloé. Currently, sendero de Chile has 35 treks that form this amazing route with more than 1.200 kilometers along the country. Each journey is linked to unique geographical conditions, but specially linked to very particular and unique October 2006

natural and tourist attractions. At the Magallanes region, 3 trails exists: “Isla Navarino in Cabo de Hornos”, “Reserva Nacional de Magallanes” and “Ruta Patrimonial Milodon” (few kms from Puerto Natales). Ruta Patrimonial Milodón This trail begins 20 kms to the north of the Milodon cave, in the “Nuevo camino al Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine” or Lago Porteño way. The trail is 60 cms wide and 42 kms in lenth. and begins at the foot of the Cerro Tenerife hill. It is an easy walk and while you are walking, you can enjoy the magnificent landscape of the the Paine Grande Massif and the three lakes near: The Porteño, The Maravilla and The Toro; besides it is also possible to see the Tyndall and Grey Glaciers and part of the Campo de Hielo Patagónico Sur. Finally, the journey ends at the Serrano river, next to the Torres del Paine Na-

tional Park. Walking the whole path takes about 3 or 4 days, so you can camp at Rio Ventisquero, El Salto and Rio Serrano. The environmental characteristics in this path are a feature of the patagonia climate, with a wide variety of native vegetation like lengas, coigues, ñirres, maitenes, ciruelillos, and calafates. You can also see different kind of birds and other animals like condor, eagles, parrots, foxes, bobcats, etc. The trail “Ruta Patrimonial Milodón” is in an improvement phase at present so its infrastructure is still basic. The trail is accessible from its starting point to the end in rzio Serrano, from where you can visit the Torres del Paine National Park or make a descent by zodiac through the Rio Serrano, visit Balmaceda and Serrano glacier and continue by boat to Puerto Natales.



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10% OFF Glacier Grey Ice Hike

This coupon redeemable for a 10% dicount on Daily Ice Hikes on Glacier Grey. Valid for 2006-07 season. Can be redeemed at Eberhard 302, Baquedano 719 in Puerto Natales or at the Operations Hut at Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine National Park.

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Torres del Paine Ice Hikes Glacier Grey will begin its new season of ice hikes and organized expenditions on Oct 25, 2006. Ice Hikes will leave twice daily from the Glacier Grey Operations Hut in Torres del Paine National Park. Custom expeditions can be arranged in the form of 1 day schools on the glacier, up to 9 days of in depth training. A half day ice hike costs 70.000clp which includes the zodiak trip across Lago Grey. Tickets and reservations can be arranged at the two main Puerto Natales locations; Planeta Glaciar Office at Eberhard 302; the Erratic Rock Office at Baquedano 719 or stop in at thier Operations Hut at Glacier Grey while in Torres del Paine National Park.

Barros Arana 233, Puerto Natales Patagonia, Chile Phone / Fax 56•61•415285

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Torres del Paine Price Increase

Glacier Grey

Torres del Paine National Park has raised its enterance fee to 15.000 clp from last years price of 10.000. In winter months the enterance fee is reduced to 5.000 clp because of off-season. Oct 1, 2006 the fee will make its official jump. CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal) says it has good intentions for the extra income. There are many undeveloped services in Torres del Paine that will hopfully make it to the table with the 50% rise in entrance fees. Everyone that works and plays in Torres del Paine hopes to see a noticible change. So, CONAF, don´t forget we are all watching...

Barros Arana 233, Puerto Natales Patagonia, Chile Phone / Fax 56•61•415285


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The Black Sheep would like to thank all the local buisnesses that make being a traveller a little easier.

Cave Paintings near Puerto Natales ETNO Natural Park

The new Patagonian Etnonatural Park recently opened to the public. Its main attraction is the sculptural representation of the indigenous Magellan peoples set against beautiful natural scenes. The trail through the park takes around 30 to 45 minutes and consists of nine displays in which you can see depictions of the first inhabitants of these lands: The Kaweskar, Yamanas, Aonikenk and Selknam. In additon, there is a small cave inside the park, which was once used as a refuge by hunters. On its walls you can see cave paintings of simple shapes but with great symbolic meaning and power. Many of these are geometrical outlines, animal tracks, human hands, lines, anthropomorphic and animal figures. Along the path, you can feel the secrets of the spirits in the air, and among the ancient trees of the wooded areas images of the steppe hunters of Tierra del Fuego come to mind, nomadic peoples and the austral rivers. The Etnonatural Park is outside of Puerto Natales near the Milodon cave at Km 23. The park is open everyday during the week and costs $3.000 per person.

Puerto Natales Prepares For Tomorrow by Craig Daniel Gaver If you have noticed nine extra lost souls wandering the streets of Puerto Natales, please don’t be alarmed. Rather, welcome them as harbingers of transformation to this city. We all have our own reasons for teaching English in Chile. Some were dissatisfied with their current jobs, some suffered from the post-collegiate doldrums and others were merely seeking adventure. The Chilean Ministry of Education gave us a more concrete raison d’etre. Through Ingles Abre Puertas (English Opens Doors), volunteers were solicited from all across the Anglo-speaking world (and Germany – don’t ask) to supplement the education of English in Chile. Puerto Natales was selected for its booming tourist industry. The rest is history, fate, or Armeggedon, depending on your point of view. Far from Gringos Gone Wild, we have much to offer Puerto Natales: aside from an excellent command of English, we offer a different perspective of the educational system. Most notably, all students in Puerto Natales, without fail, sport uniforms identifying their respective schools. At the end of each day, the streets turn into a Tower of Babel of

colors and insignias. For the most part, the students in North America are not required to wear uniforms; the rare exception may be an occasional private school. Every so often, an attempt is made by an overzealous ParentTeachers Association to foist uniforms upon the students. Student petitions are circulated and accusations of suppression of individuality are hurled. The students almost always win. Secondly, there is a conspicuous lack of homework in Chile. From an early age, North American students are inundated with out-of-class schozolwork. While a source of constant frustration, these piles of homework reinforces the idea that the learning process doesn’t end at the schoolhouse doors. The reason for the lack of homework in Chile is related to another discrepancy in our systems – the erratic daily schedule. Chilean school children spend many more hours per day in school, a system known as Jornada Escolar Completa (this too is the reason for not assigning homework each night). Ostensibly, JEC keeps children off the streets and in a more constructive environment. This is in sharp contrast to North American schools, which offer shorter days, but with less breaks. I already mentioned the

homework each night, but it can be completed in a less stressful atmosphere. Also, you will rarely find a North American school that excuses its students for an hour and a half lunch break - no one would return in the afternoon! American schools operate on the Latin principle of in loco parentis (“in place of parents”). That is, while we may attend to school for fewer hours a day, we are completely under the control of the administration, and as such, they are much stricter with what students may or may not do. An observation made by all of the volunteer English teachers is the startling lack of discipline in the school and classroom. Students rarely raise their hands to answer questions, frequently interrupt class by walking about during lecture, and run wild in the halls during recess breaks. Cell phones and MP3 players abound. No wonder many local teachers are frustrated with their classes – it is difficult to teach and to learn in such an environment. Surely you think I am touting the superior schooling of the American pupil. This is not the case. I can only speak from my limited experience in the classroom (and if you have met me, it is obvious that I spent most

of my high school years stuffed in lockers). I have a good friend teaching in inner-city Baltimore and realize that our countries share many of the same problems – overcrowded classes, lack of funding, complacent teachers. In fact, I have found much to admire about the schools in Chile. The most striking is the love found in every school. I have found few teachers who don’t care deeply for their students. They are, in fact, more overtly affectionate than one is permitted to be in North America. Also, teachers seem more collegial with each other. Since they are so close-knit, they form a better team than if they were merely co-workers. The learning process is enhanced because the teachers here have more personal relationships with the students and with each other. We volunteer English teachers are very excited to be a part of the education in Puerto Natales. At the same time, we are envious at the opportunities afforded to the children by the Ministry of Education. Not only are the students and teachers getting firsthand experience with a foreign language, the entire town is benefiting from a cross-cultural exchange. The nine of us look forward to returning to Natales in a few years to see how our students have prospered.

pot with thin spouts of water, moving the infusion as little as possible. Only now is it ready for being slowly sipped. Keep adding small amounts of water when necessary. If you prefer sweet mate, add one teaspoon of sugar in the side where the bombilla is. Never mix it with the rest of the herb.

Milk: friends with a lot of respect. Mate with Coffee: I forgive your fault. Blocked Mate: Don’t come back. Very hot Mate: I love you, I’m waiting for your words. Foamy Mate: Mutual love. Mate with Honey: Marriage. Mate with Cedron: I agree. If you are lucky enough to make contact with the baqueanos at an estancia or a puesto, you can be sure that they will invite you with a mate or coffee. If it’s coffee, you can assume that you are not very welcome. Drink it fast and say goodbye. In the other hand, if you are invited with a mate, get ready for good conversation full of the magic and unique histories from the people of the end of the world.

Coffee, Tea or Mate? by Hermann Klasen In Patagonia, the mate tradition is more than just an excuse to enjoy a hot infusion of herbs. Sitting around the teapot or the fire to prepare and drink mate is a friendly act which has survived for centuries to become one of the most recognized customs of the Patagonian people. The first records of the use of mate date back to the 17th century. In his book “Short History of the Spanish Conquest”, Spaniard Ruíz Díaz de Guzmán describes how the Indians carry small leather pouches containing a grinder and toasted mate herbs. They chew the herbs, or mix them with water in a calabash and drink using their teeth as filter. The Spanish conquerors noticed that mate leaves gave natives a “special force” to improve performance of their daily activities. The rest is history... Now, in most countries of South America, and

especially in Patagonia, you can find yerba mate in almost every warehouse and supermarket. But it is one thing to buy it, and another thing to use it correctly. In Patagonia preparing a good mate is considered an art, so don’t expect to get it right first time. Here are the principles of mate. Fill your mate pot with mate herb up to 2/3 of its capacity, taking care that the thinner powder stays in the surface and the big leaves and sticks stay at the bottom. Now move all the content to one side of the mate pot. Gently pour small warm amounts of water – never boiling- careful that the liquid doesn’t impact yerba with force. Allow a moment for the yerba to absorb the water, repeat. Place the straw, or bombilla, in the area of the mate pot that stays free of herb. Start filling the

The Language of Mate: Because the people who work in Patagonian estancias are accustomed to long periods of solitude whilst tending to their animals, they are often people of few words. Over time, they have created a kind of secret language, communicated by the sensations mate produce. Sweet Mate: friendship, you are welcome. Mate with cinnamon: I am interested in you. Mate with lemon: I don’t want to see you. Mate with burn sugar: I’m thinking of you. Mate with

In Pto. Natales...

Start your trip with a good breakfast & real coffee. Starting a 6:30am. This coupon redeemable for

2 for 1 Espresso

Blanca Encalada 226 - Puerto Natales, Chile October 2006

 La historia detrás de la Portada

Tal vez no sea yo el más indicado

parajes que hizo su hogar,

completo y dar rienda suelta

para contarles esta historia, pero las casuali-

y sudor, tuvo que hacerse hombre muy niño

donde encontró el amor,

a su alma de estanciero.

dades y mi labor gráfica me han hecho tropezar

tras la muerte de su padre; y a pesar de dejar el

donde pudo vivir su sueño

Ahora son Santa Genita

reiteradamente con esta aventura y sus person-

puesto para educarse en el pueblo, nunca dejó

de ser parte de la naturaleza

y la Dos de Enero las que

ajes. Entonces, ya que tengo tribuna y el destino

su vida gaucha de trabajo y estepa. Empren-

y vivir a su ritmo. El abre

llaman hogar y donde crían

tan majaderamente me ha puesto sus vidas en

dedor y lleno de sueños en aquel entonces

la ruta del circuito del paine

sus bestias con pasión. Y

la carpeta, me entrego a la labor de narrarles la

habitaba los bosques del Paine seducido por la

junto a John Gardner, explo-

la familia, ahora Natalina,

historia detrás de la portada.

aventura de crear lo que hoy llamamos Parque

ra y descubre sus montañas,

se sigue sintiendo Painina

Es un día de otoño a comienzos de los

text & photos by Diego Araya

Pepe es guardaparque, criado a pampa


flora y fauna, aprendiendo de

pero pone su sangre en esos

ochenta y la suiza Brigitta finalmente consigue

Tal vez fue por cortesía o fue la determinación

científicos y exploradores,

pastos que crían tiernas

un aventón para llagar al Paine. Aquel territo-

de la gringa pero Pepe no pudo negarse a lle-

sin dejar nunca de talajar su

carnes y los pingos más

rio que recién se sabía parque y poco conocía

garla a la expedición al Tyndall. Ahora,

ganado y criar buena monta.


de senderos y turismo. Sus valles y bosques

arrepentido y temeroso de que se transforme en

Juntos construyen un hogar,

Hoy Brigitta mira las pam-

aún eran territorios vírgenes y sus pampas y

un estorbo, ni le dirige la palabra; ella cabalga

el que van llenando de ni-

pas y el mar desde su refu-

montes ya comenzaban a sentir que no eran más

en silencio tras la comitiva oficial. Luego de

ñitas; Milena, Gabriela y

gio a un costado de plaza;

estancia. Los gauchos ahora eran gurdaparques

tres días de montar esas laderas escarpadas y

Katharina. Pasan así 10 años

pero aun tiene su corazón en

y estaba todo por ser inventado y descubierto.

pedregosas, de soportar la lluvia y los fríos

de vida en el Paine, aunque serán las estancias

las estepas y valles, y aún más en ese paine que

-En el parque hay un refugio donde me podré

sin la menor queja, la rubia Brigitta no sólo

vecinas las que acogerán sus sueños esta vez;

siente tan suyo. Milena emigró para estudiar el

quedar y explorar el paine desde allí- le decía la

se volvió a ganar la palabra del guardaparque;

y Santa Genita será llamado el hogar. Luego

agro y volver a la pampa con sus sueños.

gringa Brigitta al chofer del camión de CONAF

sino también su atención. Y así comienza esta

tendrán que emigrar al pueblo para educar

Gabriela vive su adolescencia inmersa en otras

mientras los guardaparques sonrían en silencio

historia tan llena de accidentes y casualidades

las niñas y dejar las pampas para los veranos

culturas como la que crió a su madre y Kathari-

que no puede ser otro que el destino quién con-

y los caballos. Esa vida urbana que las niñas

na sueña con salvar animales y devolverlos a su

preparada que la rubia

fabuló para hacerla realidad. Y ese romance que

olfatearon de adolescentes y que sólo con-

habitat como lo hacen en el Animal Planet. Por

se lanzaba a la aventura.

nació en la simpleza de la vida del paine luego

siguió arraigar más profundo ese amor por las

el momento solo cumple con su obligación de

Finalmente nunca llegó

supo de viajes y despedidas, de visitas y vuelos

vastedades y la vida en torno a sus bestias. Esa

ser niña, querer a sus perros y caballos pasando

a tal refugio y sin saber

internacionales hasta verlos finalmente montar

vida fraterna que te amarra el alma a tus seres

todo el tiempo posible en sus estepas donde

mucho como ni porque

rancho en ese paine que los conoció hace ya un

queridos, que te hace saberte pampa y sol, que

vibra tras las riendas de su caballo patagón.

aquel viaje sabático por

par de años sobre el lomo de un caballo.

te enseña el valor del trabajo, los amigos y un

en vista de lo pobremente

sudamérica la veía dando

buen caballo.

clases de inglés en el

último rincón del planeta.

paine, transformándose en anfitriona de estos

Ella inicia las primeras cabalgatas del

Comenzando el nuevo milenio, Pepe deja su vida de parque para vestirse de gaucho a tiempo

Local Art Spotlight - Julieta Fernández Cánepa Aqua Nativa Sea Kayak Patagonia

Julieta Fernández Cánepa grew up in the Northern part of Argentinian Patagonia (near Bariloche). The first time she experienced camping and hiking in the wild, she was 8 months old. Her parents showed her love, respect and how to admire nature. As teenager she began going with friends on self-sufficient trekking trips. Carrying everything needed to survive, including a little extra weight: a sketchbook, a little watercolor box and brush, a few pencils and ink. Having attended Art studios (ceramics, painting, etc) since the age of 4, she considered that pictures taken with a mechanical camera too often were not enough to represent a beautiful view or incredible location. The feelings and sensations would be better brought back going trough the sketchbook when the trip was over. At the age of 17, Julieta moved from a very quiet small city in Patagonia to Buenos Aires. She had decided to try going through a 3 week examination process to enter the most well-known Art School in Argentina, the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes P. Pueyrredón (National School of Fine Arts). After 3 intense years of general Fine Arts formation and 2 of a Sculpture Specialty, she became a National Professor. Completing the formal education with another 4 years of a post-grade career, she recieved a degree of Superior Professor in Sculpture. Thich allows her to teach at any level of public and private Art Education in Argentina. During her time in Buenos Aires she did various jobs to make a living. She started a very successful Art studio teaching children and teenagers. At the same time, and for 5 years, she worked as teachers aid at her university. She gained a lot of experience

also building and painting sets for theater companies in Buenos Aires. If that wasn´t enough, Julieta was called opon to present her sculpute work for public showings in BA by the local art community. She says deep within her heart she felt split between the art environment of the big city and her roots back in Patagonia. Whenever possible she would return to the mountains and forests, going on long trekking trips, many times by herself with the sole company of wildlife and a sketchbook. Going back to Buenos Aires and to her “urban” Art periods (as she calls them), was getting harder every year. The city was “flattening my spirit, even when I was absorbing so much Art and Culture”. So, after 9 years in Buenos Aires, she decided to move closer to the mountains and the further from the city madness. She moved to El Chaltén (Mount Fitz Roy area) in Southern Argentinian Patagonia. Having to earn a living, she tried using her mountaineering experience, interest in Nature and languages abilities (English and French) to get a job at an adventure trips company. She started as guide assistant and learned all she could about the leading groups in the outdoors. This led to moving to Punta Arenas and attending various outdoor courses, became a Regional Guide. The next step was moving to Puerto Natales, where she has been living for 2 years now.

Patagonia. 79% water & Ice. You´ll need a kayak.

Eberhard 161 Pto. Natales, Chile +56-61 415749

Raices Patagonicas


Julieta will be showing her Patagonia Art at Eberhard 302, Puerto Natales, Chile; on Oct 14th at 18:00 hrs. Julieta will be on location from Tuesday to Sunday, 16:00 to 20:00 through Oct 30, 2006.

t n ea a c you 00 All fet 4.5 buf O´Higgins 623 Puerto Natales, Chile Phone +56-61 410060

erratic rock II t h e h o s telling alternative for couples

all double rooms • private bathrooms organic breakfast served in room benjamin zamora 732 • ph (56) 61 414317 October 2006

10 Punta Arenas Rio Turbio, Argentina Trekking Dorotea

Torres del Paine Cerro Castillo Milodon Cave Puerto Prat Puerto Bories

Telefonos importantes Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales, Chile

Emergency Señoret


B. Zamora



E. Ramirez


How can I avoid getting injured in the Park? The most common injury of walkers in the Park is pulled or strained muscles, so the best advice is to be aware of your fitness

C. Pinto

Three days or more of serious trekking can take its toll on any body not accustomed to such endurance, so it’s likely that you’ll leave the Park with an aching muscle or two at the least. And unfortunately, there’s always a chance of more serious injury. Here are some tips on reducing that possibility and what to do if you’re not so lucky...


O’Higgins Magallanes

P. Montt

Reducing the Risk



M. Bulnes

v H


CONAF (61) 411438 Museum Pto. Natales (61) 411263 Sernatur (61) 412125


V v$ $ B. Encalada

(45) 554800 (65) 294161 (61) 211731 (02) 6901752 (45) 554800


Pucon Pto. Montt Pta. Arenas Santiago Temuco

li hi .P

(61) 223340 (61) 6005262000 (61) 6006002828 800710300


DAP Lan Chile Sky Airlines Aerolineas del Sur


A. Prat

(61) 244400 (65) 432300 (61) 411642




Pta. Arenas Pto. Montt Pto. Natales


B. Arana




T. Rogers

Ambulance 131 Fire 132 Police 133 Sea +Air Rescue 137 Hospital Punta Arenas (61) 205000 Hospital Pto. Natales (61) 411582




by Sarah Rutter level and your limits and don’t try to do too much. Stretching well at the end of a day of walking and first thing in the morning should help loosen taut muscles and reduce the risk of strains. Blisters are a common complaint too, so make sure you have the right footwear. Taping the areas of your feet prone to friction injuries with zinc oxide or fabric surgical tape before you start can also help to avoid blisters developing in the first place. Insect bites can be bothersome as well. Take a small first aid kit with you containing at the minimum, pain killers/ anti-inflammatories, plasters/ blister treatment (Second Skin is ideal for friction injuries on your feet), insect repellent and anti-histamine cream. What if I don’t have the treatment I need with me? Every Park ranger station has a first aid kit and can deal with minor injuries such as cuts, blisters and strains. Whilst the Park rangers have first aid training, they are not allowed to administer medicines, so they cannot perform miracles. Depending on

the severity of the injury, you may have to consider modifying or abandoning your trek rather than carry on and risk exacerbating the problem. And if someone is seriously injured? The first thing you should do is report the incident, through whatever means available, to a Park ranger or any of the concessions within the Park. Every Park ranger station and concession has a radio and will alert CONAF Administration, who will implement the necessary measures depending on the sector and terrain you are in and the nature of the incident. Assistance will be provided to anyone in difficulties, as long as you are in an authorised area of the Park (ie on a marked pathway or recognised public area), so keep to the permitted routes at all times unless you have specific permission (available for climbers only). Wherever possible, the Park rangers will get you out of the mountain area to a point from where transport can be arranged to Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas if necessary. Very often guides or others in the Park

work with the Park rangers to help people in difficulties. If you need an ambulance or other special transport out of the Park, you will need to pay for this yourself. Remember that it may take some time for help to arrive, as the Park is large and many areas can only be reached on foot or by horse. What about helicopter assistance? CONAF can arrange helicopter assistance if it is considered necessary and appropriate. Every sector of the Park has a designated helicopter landing area. However, the availability of helicopter assistance depends largely on the weather conditions within the Park. If the wind is too strong, the cloud too thick or the rain too heavy, a helicopter cannot be deployed. Again, it may take a few hours for assistance to arrive depending on the conditions and where the injured person is. If a helicopter is deployed, the injured person will need to cover this cost.


Puerto Williams & Isla Navarino Questions & Answers How do I get to Puerto Williams? To get to Isla Navarino/Puerto Williams you have three main choices: The first is the slightly uncomfortable but adventurous ferry that takes you 36 hours from Punta Arenas, the second is the twin otter that flies you across the Darwin ranges and takes you 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the third is to go via Ushuaia and cross the beagle channel by zodiac. The choice is yours.

Where can I find camping gas? The only place is you can find pressurized canasters is Tourism Adventura Shila. Good luck finding white gas.

Do I have to pay anything to trek on the Dientes? Nope, free! At Pilot Pardo Street - the cops. You have to leave info about your itinerary and return date. From there you can head to either one of the two trailheads.

Where is the downtown of Pto Willliams? This is a bit confusing because shops are scattered. But don´t worry, you´ll find it...

What can I find to do in downtown Pto. Williams? There is a great new museum and a small hike will take you to Ukika Village. Another option is go check out Omora Park. How old is this town? Officially, it has been inhabited by the Yamana and Selknam since way back. The beavers came in 1950.

Where can I sleep? There is about 11 hostel and 1 super nice hotel. You can also head straight into the wild from the airport. The trailheads are very close to town. There is no camping in the city limits.

Why is the town here? Nobody knows, maybe pirates. Can I drink the water on Isla Navarino? Yes, just dont drink out of a beaver dam.

Are there any internet cafes on Isla Navarino? There are 2 downtown and we suggest typing fast.

Are there any animals I need to worry about on Navarino? Beavers, if you were a tree. They are the only animals that cause any real problems on the island.

Can I rent equipment on Isla Navarino? Tourismo Aventura Shila rents the basics. Best come prepared.

Beagle Channel









Via Tres

nte Capde


Pardo gans o O’Hig Bernard

Carlos Condell


. Iba

What time do the stores open? The few that are there open around 10, close for lunch and open again in the afternoon. How many people visit Williams in a season? Including you? How big is Isla Navarino? Its about 100km x 40km. Why does everyone say that Ushuia is the southernmost city in the world? This has been a false rumor that has been circulating for years to draw people to Ushuaia. Some say there are differences between a city and a town, but whatever - there is no place to live further south then Puerto Willliams.

Is there a money machine in Williams? Only one at the Banco de Chile.

Yelc h

Arturo Prat

Golata Ancud

ga ra eA nt

da an m Co

Via Uno

Where can I find a Dientes map? In the next issue of the Black Sheep might just be your best bet. They are rare. Why are half of the building white in Pto. Williams? Half the city is run by the Navy and they live pretty well.


$ Pres

Ushuaia is NORTH (as in not south) from Williams. You will need to fly or take a zodiak. Contact Angelus Travel in Williams for tickets. ph 621080

Ave. Costane




How do I get to Ushuia from here?

Puerto Williams, Chile



Where do I start my trek?

Can I rent a car in Pto. Williams? No.


a Via Cu

Telefonos importantes Puerto Williams Ambulance Fire Police Sea +Air Rescue Armada de Chile Hospital Naval Municipalidad Police Fire Museo Martin Gusinde Austral Broom Airlines DAP Lan Chile Sky Airlines

Isla Navarino, das südlichste Trekking der Welt.

131 132 133 137 (61) 621032 (61) 621098 (61) 621011 (61) 621035 (61) 621172 (61) 621043 (61) 218100

(61) 223340 (61) 6005262000 (61) 6006002828

by Peter M. Gehrig

Wasserscheu darf man nicht sein, wenn man

des besten Wetters, mit viel Sonne und ohne

setzt natürlich, es regnet nicht. Und schon in

dem Flieger nach Puerto Williams zu erreichen.

sich zum „südlichsten Trekking der Welt“ auf

Wind, während wir Anfang Mai unsere Tour um

400 Metern über nn muss man spätestens im

Auch der in Punta Arenas lebende Österreicher

der Isla Navarino am Beagle-Kanal aufmacht.

die Dientes de Navarino, die Zähne der Insel,

April mit Schnee rechnen, Schnee, der auch im

Christian Moser von moseractive ist ein exzel-

Aber das Vorurteil, hier regne es 366 Tage im


südlichen Sommer nicht verschwindet.

lenter Kenner der Insel. Er spricht hervorragend

Jahr, auch wenn es kein Schaltjahr sei, ist eben

Gleich eine Warnung: Die Touren auf der ein-

Das Gelände gleicht schon ab rund 500 Metern

Spanisch und bietet Begleitung in Deutsch an.

genau das: Ein Vorurteil. Wir hatten vier Tage

malig schönen Insel nur 120 Kilometer nördlich

den 3.000er-Gebieten der Alpen. Der Wind kann

Moser Active kann über das Internet kontaktiert

des Kaps Hoorn sind nichts für den gelegent-

das Fortkommen erschweren. Der Volksmund


lichen Wochenendwanderer. Es gehört schon

weiss es: nicht jeder Tag ist ein Sonn(en)tag.

einige Trekking-Erfahrung dazu, Geländefestig-

Biber haben weite Teile der tieferen Landschaft

keit und die Bereitschaft, auch in Hochmooren

geprägt, und man wird unwillkürlich an Bruce

und im Schnee das Einsinken bis zu den Knien

Chatwyns lakonische Feststellung erinnert: Dies

zu akzeptieren und auch mit nassen Füßen vier

ist es, was Biber einem Land antun können.

bis sechs Stunden in einer menschenleeren

Die vorgeschlagenen Trekking-Pfade, oder zu-

Hochgebirgslandschaft akkumulierte Höhe-

mindest die Ahnungen derselben in den bis zur

nunterschiede von täglich rund 1.000 Metern

Baumgrenze dichten Südbuchenwäldern, sind

zu überwinden. Der Transport von Zelt und

zwar von dem dort lebenden Schweizer Denis

Verpflegung versteht sich von selbst.

Chevallay in jüngster Zeit markiert worden.

Der Lohn sind einmalig schöne Ausblicke auf

Man kann aber auch abseits dieser Vorschläge

die von Menschen unberührte Landschaft,

das Land erkunden, sollte sich dann aber mit

Zeltnächte unter einem atemberaubenden

dem Kompass auskennen und sich eine Karte

Sternenhimmel und alles, was das Trekker-


Leben ansonsten lebenswert macht. Vorausge-

Die Insel ist von Punta Arenas aus leicht mit

12 Dientes Circuit Review

Billed as the southernmost trekking

by J Williams

3 kms of roads from the tiny village of Puerto

are often difficult to distinguish from their sur-

ment back to Puerto Williams. Passing trucks

opportunity in the world, the rugged Dientes

Williams and a good possibility you will see no

roundings without the red signage painted on to

will often stop for trekkers on the final stretch,

circuit on the Isla Navarino is miles beyond

one else in the course of the circuit.

mark the route.

otherwise it is about a two hour walk back to

an ordinary trekking experience.

Puerto Williams. Getting to Isla Navarino is part

The dientes circuit is relatively new,

Weather is also a strong factor, par-

developed in the early 90´s by lonely planet

ticulary the strength of the winds that sweep up

of the adventure in itself. The patagonian airline

trekking guide author Clem Lindemayer. For his

from the white continent and make the passes,

company DAP flies a 20 odd seat twin otter

other worldly landscape of mountains broken

efforts a few of the more prominent peaks along

especially the final pass to surmoun, Paso

from Punta Areanas to Puerto Williams daily in

from the floor of the ocean, where the andes

the circuit have been named after him. Cierro

Virginia, very dangerous. Blasts of wind strong

summer. The flight over Tierra del Fuego and

crumble into the antarctic plate, where tenuous

Clem in particular makes an impressive profile

enough to knock a heavily loaded trekker from

the straits of magellan is incredibly scenic and

passes from one valley to the next defy truly

and serves as an important landmark.

their feet are not uncommon and come without

oddly enough, the least expensive option. There

For 53 km the route winds through an

staggering winds and where spartan vegetation

No doubt because of the difficulty of the

warning. The dientes circuit is broken into five

are now however other options. Though more

clings to a precarious existence between the

route and the distance of Isla Navarino from

stages, each stage requiring around five hours to

expensive than flying it is possible to travel by

punishing climate and the persistent manipula-

the beaten path, the dientes circuit receives a


boat from Ushuia across the Beagle channel to

tions of the introduced beaver. For the serious

fraction of the annual visitors of Chile´s better

trekker, the five day Dientes circuit is a chance

known treks. The route was marked with the

southern hemisphere summer, some trekkers

of coastal road east to Puerto Williams. For the

to experience a unique terrain at what is literally

Chilean numbered trail marker system in early

might be tempted to combine two stages into

truly intrepid traveller, the Punta Arenas based

the last scrap of land before the legendary Cape

2001, but it is still far from a well marked path.

one day. While it is possible to do the circuit

Transbordadora Austral Broom operates a once

Horn and Antarctic sea. And while the route

The dientes trekker needs to be self reliant and

in four days, it would involve a day with two

a week passenger ferry to Puerto Williams, a

offers many worthy experiences, like awesome

good at route finding. The 38 trail points are

passes to surmount or a very long final day,

30 hour trip through the straits of magellan and

vistas that stretch as far as the Cape Horn straits,

spread over a 53 km route, with four significant

descending from the nearly 900 meter PAso

along the Beagle Channel. Though spartan in

it is also impressive for what it lacks, like

passes to cross and a myriad maze of beaver

Virginia back to sea level over a distance of

accomodations and service, the passing scenery

crowded trails, clearly defined paths and over

ponds and dams to negotiate in the valleys

23 kms. The route markers end more than 300

of hanging glaciers and mountains that float on

crowded refugios. In fact, there are no refugios

between. It is also strongly advised to follow

meters above sea level, looking down on Bahia

water truly convey an end of the world sensa-

on the route. there is no entrance fee to pay,

the route from Puerto Williams, as the markers

Virginia, and from there the trekker must negoti-


trekkers are only required to check in with the

are only painted on one side. Since the markers

ate through the cow patures and calafate bushes

carabineros in Puerto Williams. Then it is just

are cairns, or rock piles, individual trail markers

to the coastal road and final 8 km´s of pave-

Now Printable Online

With the long daylight hours of the

Puerto Navarino and then travel the 50 odd km´s

Isla Navarino Trekking Guide

Cerro Bandera circuit: Starting from la Cascada de la Virgen, located 3 km from downtown, this roundtrip circuit takes approximately 4 hours, with easy to moderate difficulty. From the summit point you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Beagle Channel and Dientes de Navarino range. Circuito Dientes de Navarino: This is the southern most trekking circuit in the world (see page 9). The

53km takes at least 4 days. The difficulty is moderate to difficult. The climate conditions are absolutely a determining factor in the completion of the circuit (September-April). Sendero de Chile: Isla Navarino holds the last 4.5km of the southernmost section of the longerst trek in the world (see page 3). This section on Isla Navarino begins in the Cascada Róbalo area, on the way to Cerro Bandera and ends at the Etno-Botanic Omara park. This is a great trek for viewing the abundant vegetation of Isla Navarino and its beautiful landscapes. For more detailed information about Isla Navarino trekking contact the Puerto Williams municipality

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at Most newer guidebooks include a Isla Navarino section althought the information is limited. Inquire locally an be prepared for the unexpected. Head out fully equipped with extra food, fuel and time. Other circuits in Navarino: Circuito Caleta Unión to Caleta Wulaia Circuito Punta Rosales to Lago Windhond. Circuito Caleta Eugenia to Puerto Toro

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Las Mujeres Tiranas

Dicen que, antiguamente, las mujeres eran las que mandaban entre los onas. Y no sólo mandaban: el problema es que no trabajaban nada de nada. Los pobres hombres tenían que correr todo el día, cazando y juntando plantas para comer, cosiendo pieles para hacer ropa, atendiendo a los chicos…Y ellas, mientras tanto, se la pasaban rascándose la barriga, charlando y dándose la gran vida. ¿Cómo lo hacían? Gracias a una gran mentira. Ya les explico. Parece que fue Kraaeh (la luna), que entonces era una mujer, la que tuvo la idea de aprovecharse de los hombres. Siguiendo su plan, entre todas y en secreto, construyeron una gran choza de troncos y ramas en un lugar apartado. Después, y siempre escondidas de los hombres, crearon unas máscaras espantosas, hicieron unas caras horribles, como para disfrazarse y que nadie fuera capaz de reconocerlas. Su obra maestra era el disfraz de la luna. Hicieron un armazon de ramas de unos dos metros de alto, en forma de tubo aplastado y lo forraron con cuero. Después, lo pintaron de rojo y le agregaron rayas punteadas de blanco. Cuando la luna se puso el armatoste, sólo se le veían los pies. Por fin, al atardecer, se metieron en las máscaras y se acabaron de disfrazar pintandose todo el cuerpo negro y rojo. Ypor si fuera poco se agregaron unas manchas amarillas, otras se pintarrajearon rayas blancas y otras se pegotearon pelos de animales. Cuando estuvieron listas, se abalanzaron sobre el campamento, donde estaban los hombres con los chicos, muy tranquilos. Aparecieron de pronto, corriendo como locas, saltando y dando gritos tremendos, que ponían los pelos de punta: unos “uuuuuuuuuuuuu” estremecedores y también unos “iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” finitos que hacían palidecer al


Adapatación del Libro “Lo que cuentan los Onas” de Miguel Ángel Palermo.

más valiente. Para colmo, repartieron garrotazos para todos lados. Después de hacer un gran desparramo de varones asustados, salieron disparando hacia la choza grande, donde se escondieron. Cuando a los hombres se les pasó la primera impresión, siguieron el rastro de las enmascaradas y llegaron a la choza. Apenas los vieron llegar, las mujeres-que estaban adentro- se pusieron a sacudir unos cueros que metian un ruido horrible; golpearon paredes de la choza con palos y pegaron unos gritos desgarradores, como si las estuvieran matando: Aaaaayyy!!, No por favor!!, Basta!! y cosas por el estilo. Al escuchar los gritos y reconocer las voces de sus esposas e hijas, los hombres quisieron correr a ayudarlas, pero en ese momento salieron de la carpa las enmascaradas, con la luna a la cabeza. Ésta dijo: _No den un paso más. Yo soy Jalpen, un espíritu maligno, y éstos son mis ayudantes. Acá tenemos prisioneras a sus mujeres. Krran, el sol, que en ese entonces era un hombre y además el marido de la luna, se adelantó y dijo: _¡Esperen!, ¿Qué quieren ustedes espíritus para no hacerles nada? _Mmmm…dijo la luna- Nosotros tenemos hambre. Especialmente yo. Si ustedes nos traen carne y otras cosas, no las matamos. _¡Bueno!-dijo el sol-. ¡Trato hecho! Suéltenlas y ya les traemos comida. _ ¡Ah, qué vivo! –contestó la luna. Si las soltamos, ustedes no van a volver. Hagamos esto: traigan la comida, y mientras nos den bien de comer, no las vamos a matar. Pero ellas se quedan acá. Eso sí, el día que nos quedemos con hambre, ¡zas! Nos comemos una o dos. Desesperados, los hombres fueron a cazar y volvieron con un montón de carne. Y todos los dias tenían que hacer lo mismo. Cuando los veían acercarse, las mujeres empezaban a golpear los

cueros y la carpa y pegar gritos de dolor. Así pasaron meses. Los hombres estaban siempre cansados y cada vez más flacos, porque les dejaban casi toda la comida a las mentirosas. Y, para colmo, sufrían mucho, preocupados por ellas. Cada tanto, las mujeres organizaban en la carpa una ceremonia llamada hain, después de la cual las nenas eran consideradas adultas. Padres y hermanos debían llevar a las chicas hasta allí y quedare mirando desde afuera. Adentro, las enmascaradas se sacaban la careta y les contaban el secreto a las muchachas, que se quedaba a vivir con las demás mujeres. Un día el sol se apartó mucho por el bosque, buscando algún animal para cazar, y pasó cerca de un arroyo. A través de las hojas, le pareció sentir unas voces y risas de mujer. Intrigado, se acercó despacio y espió. En la orilla, dos mujeres-la bandurria y la garza-se estaban lavando la pintura de cuerpo, mientras se reían y decian: _Ja, Ja! ¡Qué estúpidos son los hombres! , ¡se creen cualquier cosa!. En ese momento el sol entendió todo. Tembló de furia, pero se dio vuelta sin hacer ruido y corrió a llamar a los otros hombres. Juntaron garrotes y fueron a la choza de las mujeres. El sol fue el primero en entrar, rojo de indignación, y se abalanzó sobre la luna. Asustada ella salió corriendo, con su marido detrás. Corrieron, corrieron y llegaron al horizonte. Allí la luna salto al cielo y el sol la siguió. Nunca volvieron a la tierra. Todavía el sol la sigue persiguiendo, sin poder alcanzarla. Los otros hombres se ensañaron contra sus mujeres y las mataron, pero en la medida que fueron muriendo, se fueron convirtiendo en aves y se escaparon volando. Desde entonces hubo gaviotas, bandurrias y patos, garzas, lechuzas y loros. Los hombres sólo perdonaron a las mas chicas., que no habían tenido que ver con esta burla. Entonces, los hombres decidieron que a partir de ese momento, por las dudas, convendría tener a las mujeres un poco asustadas. Desde entonces, la ceremonia hain para convertirse en adulto fue sólo una cosa de hombres, que hicieron creer a las mujeres que en ese momento llegaban peligrosos espíritus desde el cielo y desde debajo de la tierra. Y para que no tuvieran dudas, se los mostraban: claro que en realidad eran hombres disfrazados con máscaras y pinturas. Pero eso quedó como un gran secreto entre los hombres.

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Steppe-ing Out

by Terry Grimwood Chilean saddles we turn to face the

estancias. Fur-

beckoning mountains and urge our

thermore, their

uncomplaining horses into a gallop,

trips are always

dust flying from their hooves as we

accompanied by

flee across the Patagonian steppe

an experienced,

towards the promise of hot showers,


chilled pisco sours, and a feast of

ing riding guide,

local lamb barbecued over a pit of

usually either

lenga wood.

Gustavo, who was show jump-

A hard westerly wind blows

in from the distant sea, flattening the coarse pampas grass and whipping the tough matta negra scrub into a frenzied dance. The little horse with the puma scars on her flank shies nervously as a hare breaks cover and darts from beneath her hooves. Condors circle overhead, dark angels of the Andes waiting patiently for us to pass before returning to their communion with a sheep’s carcass that lies drying in the sun. With 20 kilometres behind us and twenty yet to run, this is no time to be dawdling out on the flat pampas. The fairy-tale spires and snow-shrouded columns of the Torres del Paine massif have been drawing steadily closer during the day, and now we are close enough to see its jagged profile reflected in the ice blue of a sub-glacial lake. Settling into the fatly padded

The day before couldn’t have been

ing and dressage

more different from this mad stam-

champion of

pede across the wind-blasted pam-

Chile for two

pas. An amble in light rainfall along

consecutive years, or Heidi

headed swans on the water and eagles watching

herself, who has been riding her own ponies and

beadily from the rocks above. Then a branch-

horses since the age of 6. On each ride they are

With over 20 horses at their disposal Estancia

ducking meander through an ancient forest of

assisted by a local wrangler, or baqueano, who

Travel cater for all levels of riding skills. My

Southern beech, the local Criollo horses sure-

takes care of the horses during the trip – and

time in the saddle was divided between Heidi’s

footed as they scrambled and slid down rocky

whose horsemanship is likely to leave even the

own horse, the mischievous William, who al-

tracks and shouldered aside the savage spikes

most experienced European rider slack-jawed in

ways seemed to want to be one pace up from the

of berberis lining the path. Flocks of green


one I wanted him in, and pretty little Leona, still rather nervous and edgy after being attacked by

parakeets chattered noisily in the trees as the rainbow-arched sky cleared, and we lunched al

While Heidi and Gustavo pride themselves in

a Puma last year but a delightful and responsive

fresco in the dripping, overgrown gardens of a

being able to tailor their holidays to individual

ride nonetheless. We rode in both Chilean and

once grand estancia, burned to the ground by its

needs and skill levels, the unquestioned jewel

Argentinean saddles, very similar to each other

owner rather than letting it fall into government

in their crown is the Estancia Ride, a 10 day

in style and each copiously padded with felt and

hands during the turbulent, agrarian reforms of

trek from ranch to ranch across a wide span of

sheepskin, making them very comfortable on

the Allende Government in the ‘70s.

pampas, lakesides and mountain trails. As Heidi

even the longest rides.

says: “Our aim is for people to come to PatagoPatagonia, remotely located at the Southern tip

nia and experience the reality of estancia life.

For wildlife lovers (and what horse rider isn’t?)

of the Americas, is literally the bottom of the

We take our clients away from the tourist areas

the area is a constant delight. Apart from the

Earth, the last piece of civilisation before land

and show them the history and culture of the

condors, eagles and parakeets, we saw guanacos

gives way to the towering waves and lashing

region, combining this with excellent accommo-

(small camelids, like dinky llamas), nandos (bi-

winds of the Southern Ocean. Patagonia is not a

dation, good food and exhilarating riding.” With

zarre ostrich-like rheas that run at 40mph with

country but a territory, its 260,000 square miles

up to eight hours a day in the saddle, this ride is

their necks stretched out ahead), skunks, spiky-

spanning the lower extremes of both Chile and

best suited to the experienced rider – not just in

looking foxes, opossum, and so many varieties

Argentina. From the storm-scoured rocks of

terms of riding skills, but also in terms of time

of wonderful birds that I regretted not having

Cape Horn to the verdant forests of the Chilean

in the saddle. Anyone booking this trip is well

invested in a bird book before the trip. And of

Lake District, it contains a breathtaking variety

advised to ramp up their riding activity in the

course there is the ever-present hope of spotting

of terrain: vast acres of windswept pampas

weeks leading up to the holiday; the slow-fading

– from a discreet distance – one of the prolific

riddled with innumerable lakes and fjords;

memory of my own saddle sores is a reminder

but seldom seen pumas that prowl the area.

snow-tipped mountains rising from icy blue

that I didn’t take this advice seriously enough! There is no doubt that Patagonia is a long way

glaciers; and the steaming, rolling rain forest

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on the edge of the Ultima Esperanza fjord.

the banks of the Eberhard Fjord, with black

– and all with a population density of barely 1.3

For those with rather less robust posteriors the

to go, twenty hours each way is testament to

people per square kilometre.

Torres del Paine ride takes 6 days, with 4 days

that, but therein lies a major part of its appeal:

in the saddle, while if you would prefer to view

travelling there is an adventure; just knowing

It is in the depths of this horse riding paradise

Patagonia from different perspectives Estancia

you are at the bottom of the earth is a thrill in

that Heidi Ryan, latterly ad manager of Horse

Travel can mix your riding itinerary with any

itself. And if riding feisty horses across wide

& Rider magazine, has somehow fetched up

permutation of mountain hiking, kayaking,

open spaces with stunning scenery on every side

– along with twenty or so locally bred horses,

glacier hiking, ice climbing, or just hanging out

is what turns you on, then Patagonia has to be

a Chilean husband, Gustavo, and a burgeon-

in quaint estancias tucking into barbecued lamb

at the top of your ‘must go’ list. Estancia Travel

ing riding holiday business, Estancia Travel.

and pisco sours – especially useful if you are

can be found at or

Estancia Travel operates out of Puerto Natales,

travelling with less horsy companions. While

a frontier town of gaudily painted, low-rise

my most enduring memories are of mad,

buildings clustered on the banks of the Ultima

breathless gallops across the pampas in the

Esperanza fjord in the southern region of Pata-

early morning shadows of the stunning Tor-

gonia. While a number of tour companies in the

res del Paine mountains, I also relished the

area offer riding as an add-on option along with

nights spent camping on the banks of Lake

activities such as kayaking and hiking, Estan-

Grey with baby-blue glaciers drifting past a

cia Travel specialises in riding holidays; more

few feet away, and a boat ride to the Serrano

importantly, they have their own horses rather

Glacier, a vast, turquoise ice-fall that tumbles

than relying on renting them ad hoc from local

down the mountains into a melt-water lake

The Falkland Islands

A different destination Looking for a another adventure? The Falkland Islands, with a total land area of 4,700 square miles (12,173 sq km) and located 400 miles (640 kilometres ) East of the South American mainland, is one of the fourteen UK Overseas Territories. It’s made up of two large islands (East Falkland and West Falkland) and several hundred smaller ones. According to the 2001 Census, The Islands have a population of 2,913, of whom 1,989 live in Stanley, the capital. Most of the rest of the population live on sheep farms. Falkland Islanders make up 45% of the total population, which also includes UK citizens, Chileans, Australians, New Zelanders and Russians, among others. The official language is English and the currency is the Falkland pound (1FKP=1GBP). The fisheries sector, having two types of squid (Illex argentinus and Loligo gahi) as its main products, is the main contributor to the Islands economy. What to do. If you are looking for a wildlife experience, search no more. The Falklands have 17 different mammals, 5 species of penguins (including King and Macaroni penguins) and over 70 species of birds breed on the Islands. In the Falklands you will have the opportunity of enjoying these animals in their natural habitats, something so unique that it will almost make you feel like an intruder. Places like Volunteer Point to see King penguins, Sea Lion Islands for sea lions, elephant seals and penguins (The Falklands have the world’s largest populations of rockhopper and gentoo penguins), Bleaker Island for penguins and sea lions, and Saunders Islands for penguins and black-browed albatross (The Falklands have the world’s largest blackbrowed albatross population) are some of the main attractions. Other options are sea trout fishing. The best times are in September and Octuber, and in March and April. Also, if golfing is your thing, there are a few golf courses on the Islands. Now, if you are travelling to a Spanish speaking country after your visit to the Falklands, you can brush up on your knowledge of the language in Stanley. Shopping as in “shop till you drop” is not the reason why people come to the Islands. Obviously, you will always find something to buy, including local woollen October 2006


by Miguel Barrientos

goods, leather items, paintings, stamps and a good variety of souvenirs. However, you will not find a branch of a worlwide known restaurant or shop. This is one of the features that makes the Falklands different. And just to give you a better idea, you will not find a supermarket open after 9:00 p.m., and you won’t be able to get cash with your credit card because there are no ATMs on the Islands. By the way, if you don’t have Falkland pounds on you, British pounds are equally accepted, and most shops will take US dollars, Euros and major credit cards as well. Now, although there are not many restaurants to go to, The Falklands offer you a good variety of dishes. Among the good local seafood, you can find mussels, oysters, snow crab, squid and Patagonian toothfish. Also lamb, beef and mutton dishes, plus local veggies and a good variety of international wines are an important part of the menus. And the best way to finish off the night is to visit one of the British style local pubs, which are mostly located around the town centre, or just £2 away in a taxi. When to go. The best weather can be usually found between November and March. The average temperature of the warmest months is 9.3º (48.7ºF) and for the coldest month is 2º (35.6ºF). This year, in January, the highest was 21º (69.8ºF) and the lowest was 1º (33.8ºF), while in February the hightest was 20º (68ºF) and the lowest was 4º (39.2ºF). Obviously, accommodation is more expensive during these months. Prices range from about £130 for a single room in a hotel to about £15 for a room in a B&B. How to go. There is a Lan flight that leaves every Saturday from Santiago, Chile, and stops over in Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. Once a month, it also stops off at Rio Gallegos, in Argentina. If you are in the UK, you can catch a flight at RAF Brize Norton, which is located near Burford, Oxfordshire, England. Visitors from Britain, North America, Mercosur, Chile, and most Commonwealth and European Community contries do not need visas. Another important point is that all tourists are required to demostrate on arrival that they have return tickets or secure accommodation and sufficient funds to cover their expenses during their intended stay. In case I’ve missed something out or for more information, you can go to or

Have you ever wondered what its like at the end of the world. Well, its not bad at all! Enjoy the extra long days during the summer, eat kingcrab and beaver meat which will probably be a first for many, reflect upon the depleting ozone layer under which you may find yourself, and just imagine Darwin cruising through the beagle channel a hundred years ago.

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Patagonia. It´s home. Hire local.

Fifteen years ago Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales were practically unheard of, other then by a few extreme travelers and scientists. Now, 15 years later, Patagonia and Torres del Paine has shown itself as one of the last truly pristine places on earth. Nobody knows this better then the people who live and work here. Southern Chile has now found itself to be one of the largest international destinations in the world. History has repeatedly shown us the inherent problems with communities turning over their resources and not benefiting from them locally. When you hire locally, you help Patagonia sustain itself for generations to come. The money you spend stays in Patagonia, which in return is used to better the local environment, taxed locally and recycles back into the community. The Ultima Esperanza Guide Association is dedicated to this cause. By hiring a UEGA recognized operator or guide you can be certain that you have access to local professionals as well as help an important local issue.

Patagonia Guide Association

Asociacion Gremial Guias Turismo Ultima Esperanza -

Torres del Paine Climbing Permits As well as its stunning scenery and magical atmosphere, the Torres del Paine National Park also offers some outstanding climbing opportunities and for any discerning climber it has to be up there on the “one day” list of climbing expeditions. The most popular climbs in the Park are the three granite peaks that make up the Torres del Paine – the Towers of Paine, ie Torre Norte at 2,600m, Torre Central (2,800m), and Torre Sur (2,850m). Cerro Fortaleza at 2,688m presents a different challenge as the granite gives way to sedimentary rock from around 2,000m. You can also climb Los Cuernos – the Horns of Paine – the other bestknown image of the Park, whose formation is similar to Cerro Fortaleza: Cuerno Norte (2,400m), Cuerno Principal (2,600m) and Cuerno Este (2,200m). In addition, the impressively formed Aleta de Tiburón (the Shark’s Fin) at 1,717m presents another challenge. Monte Almirante Nieto (2,640m) offers a potentially less technical climb, if the weather is good, though you still need some climbing experience to attempt it. In poor weather, the climb is technically considerably more difficult. Paine Grande, which comprises Punta Bariloche, Cumbre Central, Cumbre Norte and Cumbre Principal, the highest peak in the Park at 3,050m, involves a combination of ice and rock climbing and is very susceptible to the vagaries of the Patagonian weather. Depending on your level of skill and appetite for a challenge, all the peaks in the park can be climbed, so there is no danger of running out of options. For any climbing expeditions in the Park you need to fulfil all the necessary conditions set not only by CONAF (the Chilean National Forestry Corporation which administers the Park) but also by DIFROL (Dirrección de Fronteras y Limites del Estado), the national body which controls and monitors any scientific, climbing or mountaineering expedition by foreigners along Chile’s frontiers. Torres del Paine National Park is right on the border with Argentina and so any such expeditions in the Park are monitored by DIFROL. To ensure that your climbing expedition runs as smoothly as possible, here’s what you need to do...

For further information contact us at - by Sarah Rutter

Get DIFROL approval. This is obligatory for any non-national wishing to climb or mountaineer in any frontier zone of Chile (it does not include trekking or walking) and you can obtain it even before you leave home. DIFROL authorisation is free of charge. Check the DIFROL website ( for its conditions and recommendations. Download the application form for your expedition from the DIFROL website. Once on the Home Page, click on “Autorización de Expediciones” to get to the form. You can apply for DIFROL permission either directly to a regional government office in Chile or via the Chilean Consulate in your own country. If you arrive in Puerto Natales without DIFROL permission, you’ll need to visit the Regional Government offices in town, which are on C. Eberhard and C. Tomas Rogers. Telephone: 411423. Once in the area in which you want to climb, you need to report to the Carabineros de Chile (the National Police). For climbing in the Park, there are Carabineros either at Cerro Castillo or at the Administration Centre, so that they can check your authorisation and that you are adequately equipped for your expedition. Then you will need CONAF permission, which is granted by the Park Administrator, so when you leave for the Park, make sure you take with you: • Your DIFROL approval • The passport of every member of your group • Insurance policy details, including name and address of the insurer, policy number and a contact telephone number, of every member of your group or for the expedition as a whole. • Details of your route(s) and intended timescale. To obtain permission from CONAF, you have to visit the Administration Centre in the Park. The permit is free of charge and given willingly by CONAF, provided that you have all the neces-

sary documentation with you. Plan a trip to the Administration Centre into your timetable to avoid frustration, and be aware of the bus times – if you’re planning to climb Las Torres you’ll start from Laguna Amarga which is up to 2 hours from the Administration Centre and the buses run just twice a day, or you can hitch. At the Administration Centre, you will need to provide the name of your Expedition (so if you don’t have a name already, think up something impressive before you arrive!) and all the documentation mentioned above. The insurance documents are vital - you will not get your permit without them. The permit is required for your own protection in the case of an emergency – if you have an accident CONAF needs to know firstly where you are, and also that you have the insurance cover in place to meet the costs of any rescue operation needed. Whilst CONAF Park rangers will assist anyone who is injured or otherwise incapacitated on the marked trails without charge, it does not have the resources to rescue those who undertake dangerous sports off the marked trails – you do that at your own risk and expense. You will be given a copy of the CONAF permit, which you need to take to the Ranger station of the first sector in which you are planning to climb (if you’re heading first to the Torres, you’ll have to present yourself at the Laguna Amarga Ranger station, if you are climbing Los Cuernos, Aleta de Tiburón or any of the central peaks, you’ll need to visit the Ranger station at Pehoé). CONAF will nominate a Park ranger as the main contact for your expedition with whom you should stay in contact through the duration of your climbing, so that they can monitor your safety and know when you leave.

Black Sheep Oct 06  
Black Sheep Oct 06  

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