Brian returned in early January from a W Trek in Torres del Paine with his family. Here he tells us about his trip…
It was a great trip to one of the most extraordinary spots in the world.
How was your trip?
We had a great trip and the W Circuit exceeded my expectations (which I did not think possible).
What was the highlight of your trip?
Each day was memorable. My favourite segment was the day trip to the Towers—the weather held and the Towers were magnificent.
The French Valley was also stunning and our guide’s advice as to how far up the valley we should hike before turning back was spot on.
What did you think of the operator and their guides?
The operators were very solid and Victor, our guide, was knowledgeable and very friendly.
The hiking speeds of the group were very different which created challenges for Victor as to who he would accompany on each day’s hike. I’m not sure how he could have handled it differently, but there were long stretches where we generally were on our own. Most members of the group were experienced enough that we did not need him to guide us and I believe he understood that when he decided which group to support during each day’s hike.
How did Swoop Patagonia do in helping you plan and arrange your trip?
Swoop’s role was seamless with the local operator, which I appreciated.
I don’t know how much thought went into our group’s configuration, but our group worked well together. We enjoyed each other’s company, which was a bonus given how much time we spent together.
How was your accommodation on the trip?
The refugios were nicer than I had expected. Clean sheets on the bunks were an unexpected treat and made carrying sleep sacks unnecessary.
Is there anything you wish you had known before embarking on your trip?
One selling point you might want to further emphasise is the option for members of a group to skip the French Valley and/or the Torres del Paine. My wife was concerned before the trip as to her ability to handle the entirety of the W Circuit. Consequently, she chose to skip Torres del Paine and the French Valley. Although I believe those are two of the absolute highlights of the trip, it gave her a comfort level on the other hiking days.
I also did not realise that there was a porter option. A little guidance on tipping the guide would have been helpful as well. We tipped $50 U.S. per family member but I don’t know whether this was the appropriate amount.
Thanks again, it was a great trip to one of the most extraordinary spots in the world.