Torres Del Paine: A day by the glacier, and then through the burn zone (days 2-3)

We spent our second day in the area around Glacier Grey with five us taking a day hike up the trail the passes the side of the glacier (Monica stayed behind to rest her recuperating but sprained ankle).  The weather was pretty good and we had a great time working our way up the valley.  We especially enjoyed the exciting mountaineering ladders that were in place to exit the deeper gullies.  After an enjoyable dinner at the refugio and a restful night, we woke a bit early to head out for the long hike to Refugio Cuernos.  This day would be long because the recent fire closed Refugio Paine Grande where we would otherwise have stayed.  The day started with light rain and low clouds and we spent the morning hiking along the north side of Laguna Grey.  It was spectacular to look back to the glacier and the lake but also a bit depressing to walk through the fire zone.  We reached R Paine Grande at lunch time and it was clear that they were lucky that the refugio did not burn down in the fire.  After another hour of hiking through the burn area but with clearing weather and the spectacular “cuernos” (horns) in front of us, we reached Campiomento Italiano, beyond the burn zone.  A spectacular surprise was the glaciers and icefields on the northeastern face of Cerro Paine Grande which constantly pushed thundering snow avalanches far above us.  After some rest at C Italiano, we headed down to Refugio Cuernos on the shores of the oddly named Lago Nordenskjold.  Monica especially was glad to reach the refugio –  11 hours of walking with her sore ankle had led her to bruise her big toes and they were really sore.  But we all made it through the hardest leg of the trip.  Felicitaciones a todos!

Full pictures here.

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