The Forgotten Valley
Explore the Silence Valley of Torres del Paine
2 Days Extension
The Forgotten Valley, also called Silence Valley (in spanish Valle del Silencio), is a lateral valley of the main Ascencio Valley that normally hikers walk on their way to the Base of the Towers lookout. This area is off-limits to self-guided trekkers and therefore can be hiked and explored only with a Certified Guide of Torre del Paine National Park and with a special permit.
This off-the-beaten-track excursion gets you away from the crowds, granting you access to the back side of the Towers, on the footsteps of the first rock climbers who in the late Fifties/early Sixsties conquered the three jagged peaks symbol of Torres del Paine. It can be organized as a an extension of your W-Trek or Full Circuit program by spending 2 nights at the Japanese campsite right after your ascent to the Towers.
DAY 1: BASE TORRES --> JAPANESE CAMPSITE
14Km (9 Miles) - Elevation Gain: +770/-350m (+2550/-1000ft) - Hiking Time: 6-7 hrs
We start our program from the town of Puerto Natales, main access point to Torres del Paine. Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel and drive with our private vehicle to Laguna Amarga entrance and further to reach the trail head to Base Torres. After a couple of hours ascending towards the main Ascencio Valley we reach Refugio Chileno for a break and continue for another hour into a beautiful native Magellanic forest. The last 45-to-60 minutes is a steep ascent on the debris of a later glacier moraine before reaching the green, pristine lake with the Towers in their best shape. We deserve a lunch break and time for pictures. After that we retrace our steps down to the main valley thus turning north and continuing for another hour till reaching the camping area of the Japanes Campsite; a site use only by climbers where hopefully we will be alone. Basic accommodation in our pitched tents and a nice and relaxing dinner. A long day awaits for us the day after!
DAY 2: SILENCE VALLEY --> JAPANESE CAMPSITE
10Km (7 Miles) - Elevation Gain: +/-1000m (+/-3300ft) - Hiking Time: 7-8 hrs
A very long, tiring but spectacular full day of trekking awaits for us venturing out in a solitary exploration of the Silence Valley (Valle del Silencio). After hiking followin the river for about an hour with the Oggioni Pass in view, we start ascending through the lower part of the forest before making a sharp turn to the west scrambling on the morraine boulder field which is going to accompany us for the rest of the day. In a couple of hours we should be start getting the first glimpse of the imposing and massive granitic walls of Cerro Fortaleza and Escudo (aka the Fortress and the Shield). Here it's when we enter into the valley of the Giants and as we continue our trek on our left handside the Northwestern faces of the Torres del Paine begin to clear up with their orange-coloured granite. According to our walking time and the weather conditions we might decide to climb up the last section towards Torre Norte to reach the vivac place for rock climbers; otherwise we start walking back towards campsite where we can refresh our feet in the river and cook our dinner before slipping into our cozy and warmed sleeping bag.
According to your program, on the next day you're keeping up with your itinerary back to the main trails of the W-Trek or the O-Circuit.
Entrance to Torres del Paine National Park
2 Nights in Campsite with shared tents
All Meals indicated in the program except for Breakfast on Day 1
Camping Equipment (Tents, Sleeping bags, mattresses, etc..)
Private Transportation Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine NP
Certified Guide of Torres del Paine National Park
Permit to the Silence Valley
Any Additional Nights
Travel Insurance (Air/Ground Evacuation Costs)
Gratuities for the Guide
SEASON 2019/2020 (Valid until April 2020)
2 Members 190 USD p.p.
3 Members 150 USD p.p.
4-8 Members 100 USD p.p.
Torres del Paine History
When it comes to travelling to Patagonia mountains always play a central role in the planning, so it does the climbing history of those peaks. Accessing the Valle del Silencio means walking on the footsteps of those climbers that in the two decades of the '50/'60 wrote the epic pages of mountaineering in this region. The three granitic pinnacles that give the park its name "Torres del Paine" remained unclimbed until the austral summer of the year 1958. An Italian climbing expedition organized by the count Guido Monzino, who had bought a sheep farm in the southern part of Paine Mountain Range, made its way through the Silence Valley approaching the foot of the Northern Tower and realizing the first ascent in January 1958. The climbing route is known today as the "Monzino Route" and the tower was re-baptized "Torre Monzino". Following the example of the italians, a British expedition led by Don Whillans and Chris Bonigton made the first ascent on the Central Tower reaching the 2800m in December 1963 just some days ahead of a second Italian team led by renowned rock climber Armando Aste. Left empty-handed by the bolt English climbers, Aste remained in Torres del Paine for another month and decided to aim for the last of the three towers, realizing a new route on the Southern Tower, the tallest of the three with its 2850m. The climbing route is known as the "via Aste" and the tower was re-named "Torre De Agostini" in honour of father Maria Alberto de Agostini, a legendary figure of these southern latitudes and its mountains.
Trekking the Silence Valley
Trekking in the Silence Valley means going off the beaten tracks; in fact after passing the rangers' station located in the old Base Torres Campsite we will proceed for about an hour and a half on a trodden track till reaching our campsite where we'll spend two nights. The stretch between Base Torres and Japones is quite easy and relaxing with minor elevation gain, few streams to cross hopping on rocks or fallen trunks and cover by the forest.
After Japones the trail is similar to the previous part for about 40/50 minutes and after that we'll progressively walk on a lateral morraine, that is boulder hiking. We'll have to use cairns to guide us in this maze of granitic boulders and in some part we'll cross small patches of sand products of the erosion of the granite. Good trekking boots are required in here as well as equilibrium and previous experience on this type of terrain.
If the weather is good we'll proceed to climb up till the bivac campsite that the rock climbers use to climb the Towers; this area is characterized by higher inclination and slabs of granite on which the progression can get tricky if it's raining or in presence of snow.
Torres del Paine Japanes Campsite
Campamento Japonés is basically a place in the woods where we can pitch our tents and get running water from a nearby stream to cook. A small shelter, made out of trunks, branches and a plastic tarp has been built within the last decades to provide cover from wind and rain and was used extensively by many rock climbers who normally camped in here during few nights waiting for the good window for climbing the Towers. There are no toilette pits, so trees provide a good place for that purpose, making sure you respect the right distance from the water; as well as no shower, although the river does its justice!
We'll spend in here two nights, which means on our second day to explore the Silence Valley, we'll leave our camping equipment and stoves in here.