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South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Seasons Overview and a Note on Permits

Torres del Paine, Season Overview and a Note on Permits. The weather this season was the worst since at least 1996. From October to late March, we had maybe ten days of good weather for climbing. But March was excellent: we had more nice days in this month than in the rest of the season. April was good as well. In these months, the weather is more stable, and when we have a nice day, it is more or less always (there are no rules in Patagonia) followed by more nice days. The only problem with the climbing in March and April is that the days are shorter (it is light from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in March).

A word about permits. Climbers must first contact the Chilean Embassy to ask for a DIFROL (Direccion de Fronteras y Limites) permit. This border permit is free; climbers simply need to send a copy of their passport and a brief note explaining where they are going to climb. If they can’t to do it beforehand, it is possible to get a permit in Puerto Natales, but it takes five days. One can also do it in Santiago, where it will take perhaps one day. However, since it makes no sense to waste time and money in town, I recommend that climbers secure the permit before arriving in Chile.

Once in Paine National Park, contact the administration of CONAF (Corporacion Nacional Forestal, the forest service of Chile). With the DIFROL permit and U.S.$100 per person, you receive the final climbing permit. The permit covers all the climbs that you want to do while you are in the Park.

Hernan Jofre, Chile