From: Dustin Balderach
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018
To: Tye Chapman
Subject: Relaxing at Refugio Paine Grande
All continues to go beautifully (pun intended) down here in Torres del Paine. We just finished a great big dinner here at Refugio Paine Grande. A super nice lodge located right on the shores of the turquoise waters of Lago Pehoe with amazing views of Los Cuernos and the south side of Cerro Paine Grande. A truly perfect spot. We had another fantastic day on the trail. We don’t climb to the tops of any mountains on this trip, but today was our ‘summit day’. Our long day began down at Refugio Cuernos where we climbed up from the shores of Lago Nordenskojd and into the picture-perfect French Valley. There is a reason why this valley is one of the park’s biggest attractions; it’s absolutely stunning. Throughout the day we heard and saw seracs pealing off the hanging glaciers of Cerro Paine Grande and thunder down the mountainside into the valley. We observed all this safely from the far side of the valley. This was an unexpected surprise for the group who where all mesmerized by the sights and sounds. The entire group made it all the way to the head of the French Valley to the ‘British Lookout’. Well worth the effort! We then made our way out of the valley, past the shores of the deep blue Laguna Scotsburg, and down to Refugio Paine Grande to complete a nearly 12 hour day. The infamous Patagonian wind picked up for the last hour or so. To top it all off, the rain threatened all afternoon but never materialized which means the goretex stayed in the pack for a third straight day. This is a good streak for Patagonia!
Tomorrow we are heading up to check out Grey Glacier spilling into Lago Grey. Hopefully the weather will hold and we’ll be able to kayak among the icebergs tomorrow afternoon!