After a successful day one in the Torres del Paine National Park, in southern Chile, we were ready to embark on day two. Our group got split into two groups and I, sadly, got assigned to the group that was leaving earlier that morning… The good news was that part one of our day was going to be a glacier hike! Yes, we were going to go by small boat to the Grey glacier, climb to it from the moraine, and then walk all around it. Well, not ALL around it but a portion of it.
Hiking at Grey glacier in the Torres del Paine National Park
I woke up 30 minutes earlier than I needed to, not on purpose. Lights had not come on at the refugio and I had not expected this so had not let with headlamp out so I tumbled my way to the restroom down the hall… Fun times!
The boat ride was uneventful, very short – around 20 minutes. Getting off the boat was tricky as there was a big gap and we had to jump to a narrow ledge on the rocks. No accidents in either group, glad to report! From there, I began the hike along the moraine to get to the glacier proper. It took about 2 hours under a constant drizzle. It made me nervous that the rocks were wet with the soft rain so I probably went slower than my normal. But it was slate which was surprisingly not slippery but the mistruster in me wouldn’t take risks I did not get to appreciate how beautiful this part was until the return hike back to the boat when I was more awake, it was not raining, and I was riding high after the time on the glacier!
In any case, we got to the glacier and we were excited to get to the spot where we would enter the ice field. At that spot, the gear was waiting for us and a brief class on how to walk on ice and not die. We put on the crampons (mine looked like Peary or Amundsen used them over 100 years ago…), learned to use the ice pick, and climbed onto the ice.
It had stopped raining shortly before getting to the ice which was nice as we had no rain throughout the rest of our glacier hike and the sun was out most of the time. We greatly enjoyed looking down crevices and watching pools of water on the ice that look like mirrors. We spent somewhere between an hour and hour-and-a-half doing that at it was really enjoyable and a great experience.
I couldn’t help but compare it to my helicopter ride onto the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand. On the one hand, flying the heli to the glacier saved time and we spent more time on the glacier. On the other hand, climbing the moraine was a neat experience. However, I have to say I’d prefer doing Franz Josef over this one as we got to crawl in ice caves and do things like that over there. But I enjoyed this hike nevertheless because glaciers are amazing and I was with good friends!
Making it from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande
We made it back to the Refugio Grey to have some lunch prior to getting going on part two of our day: hiking back to Refugio Paine Grande, where we had landed by boat the day before. The lunch was a delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs as you can appreciate from the picture below!
We started off at 3 PM. It rained a good bit so I did not take many pictures that day (the good news was that the rain was hitting us from behind vs. the front). It was not a big disappointment, though, because we were on the same trail we had walked the day before in the other direction. It finally cleared up when we were getting to the end point (around 7 PM) which was nice. I got a couple of pictures in…
Day 2 was one for the books and, in spite of the rain, was pretty incredible! And after a great meal (meat with mashed potatoes and red wine and a brownie!), time to rest!
——– Read more about the trek ———
Day 1 at Torres del Paine
Day 3 at Torres del Paine