It might be a sunny 60 degrees while you’re packing for your hike through Torres del Paine National Park. But don’t be fooled. You need your gloves. The weather is unpredictable and often rotates through the four seasons in one day. It might be sunny when you wake up, raining by mid-day, snowing by 3 and sunny/blue again by dinner.
I learned this lesson the other day when temperatures plummeted midway through my ascent to the towers. As the weather worsened, my hands went numb, and tasks I usually complete without a thought suddenly occupied me for a longer than I’d like to admit.
Among the most daunting of my challenges were:
1. Opening the wrapper of a granola bar 2. Zipping up my rain jacket 3. Pushing the ‘take a picture’ button on my camera 4. Tearing duct tape off the roll to stick over the hot spot on a hiking partners’ heel 5. Unclipping the waist belt of my daypack 6. Unsnapping and unzipping my pants’ fly / re-snapping and re-zipping my pants’ fly (It’s especially embarrassing if you manage to accomplish the former, but not the latter.)
A moraine made slightly less impressive by freezing hands
For those of you heading out for a day in the park, I recommend you wear a synthetic outfit and broken-in boots and pack the following items, even if you don’t think you’ll need them:
Warm gloves Warm hat A fleece or wool pullover Rain jacket Sun hat Sunglasses Sunscreen More than 1 liter of water A snack A first aid kit
Despite my trials, I made it to the towers the other day. Here they are and here I am: