ultramarinus – beyond the sea


Valle Frances is one of the toughest trails in the W-trek.  Along with las Torres and Glacier Grey, the panoramic view inside the Valle Frances (French Valley) has been considered by many as the highlights of Torres del Paine.  We were hoping to finish the hike and return to Camping Italiano within 5 hours, so that we could make it for dinner at Refugio Cuernos.  The sky was dull and the wind was strong.  After dropping off our backpacks at Camping Italiano, we immediately hiked up the boulder path in the valley to a lookout of Glaciar del Frances. Occasional small avalanches from the glacier would break the silence with a roaring sound.  At midpoint of the hike, we arrived at an opening with the first panoramic view of the surrounding mountains at both sides of the valley.  After 2.5 hours of hiking, we finally reached Mirador Britanico, where we appreciated a closer panoramic view of the mountains.  We didn’t stay long as it had started to rain.  We heard that the weather could be very unpredictable at Valle Frances.  We would not want to descend the steep boulder paths in slippery conditions.  At last, we arrived back at Camping Italiano after slightly less than 2 hours of descend.  We were delighted to find that there was still plenty of time for us to find out way to our destination of the day, Refugio Cuernos, though our feet were already quite exhausted from the steep ups and downs in the hike in Valle Frances.


* * *

Read more on Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in 2013 South America:
Day 62.1 – Introduction
Day 62.2 – Mirador Cuernos, Torres del Paine
Day 62.3 – Camping Pehoe, Torres del Paine
Day 63.1 – Pudeto, Torres del Paine
Day 63.2 – Paine Grande to Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine
Day 63.3 – Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine
Day 64.1 – Glacier Grey to Paine Grande
Day 64.2 – Mirador Pehoe
Day 64.3 – Palette of Spring
Day 64.4 – Refugio Paine Grande
Day 65.1 – Paine Grande to Camping Italiano
Day 65.2 – Valle Fances
Day 65.3 – Camping Italiano to Refugio Cuernos
Day 66.1 – Refugio Cuernos to Valle Acencio
Day 66.2 – Refugio Chileno
Day 67.1 – Las Torres
Day 67.2 – Descend
Day 67.3 – Asado de Cordero, Puerto Natalas
Day 68.1 – Punta Arenas
Day 68.2 – La Marmita, Punta Arenas

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought

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