The O Circuit of Chile's Torres del Paine National Park is a stunning glimpse into the incredible biodiversity of southern Patagonia.
- Circumnavigate the Paine Massif, with stunning views of surrounding peaks and the impressive triad of vertical granite towers which give the park their name.
- View the incredible biodiversity that make this a UNESCO designated World Biodiversity Reserve.
- Witness the Magellanic penguins on the shores of Magdalena Island, the greatest colony of penguins in South America.
- Discover the ever-changing landscape of southern Patagonia, from rolling grasslands to imposing peaks and massive glaciers.
- Travel by boat and foot to Grey Glacier to experience the massive expanse of glacial ice spanning 270 km. Explore the cracks, rivers, lagoons and tunnels in their striking blue hues.
- Benefit from the leadership of an RMI Guide throughout the trip, gaining from their experience, communication, and care as you venture to the Patagonian backcountry and see why RMI continues to set the standard in guiding excellence.
The Full Circuit Trek around Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, near the southern tip of Patagonia, takes us through some of the most idyllic landscapes on the planet. Popularly known as the "O", this 10-day loop encompasses the shorter "W" route, but also ventures out into the more remote stretches of grassland, old-growth forest, and glacial moraine on the northern side of the park.
Each day brings trekkers new visual delights as we explore the exotic flora and fauna that inspired the studies of Charles Darwin.
We circumnavigate the Paine Massif, taking a side trip up the Valle Francés to gain excellent views of dramatic peaks such as La Aleta del Tiburón ("The Shark Fin"), Cerro Catedral, and Los Cuernos, or "horns". Our journey culminates with the eagerly awaited visit to the base of the three vertical granite towers that give the park it's name, Torres del Paine. The blustery Patagonian winds and cool, wet climate, as well as some interesting maneuvers through John Gardner Pass, pose the primary challenges during this hilly, but non-technical 80-mile trek.
RMI's Torres del Paine Trek is a fascinating adventure into the heart of Patagonia. We have designed our trip to offer an experience that is the best visit to one of the world's great places: we trek through the idyllic landscape, view the spectacular biodiversity of the park, traveling through grasslands that give way to forests, that give way to glaciers and mountains, all within an approachable time frame that gives you the full experience of the famous O Circuit Trek. The trek is open to individuals in good physical condition.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to lead the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as a leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from lodging to airport transfers schedules, so that you can focus on preparing for the adventure instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Torres del Paine treks are led by RMI's foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience in South America and on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide, held to our standards, and who can effectively communicate with you and the local people, cannot be understated. Our professional guides make possible the experience of safely completing the adventure. We have a close relationship with our local outfitter in Chile, whose years of organizing Torres del Paine treks is evident in the outstanding local staff who help us. Our relationships there are the key to our trip's success.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our Torres del Paine Treks. While the trek is a non-technical journey, we are deep in the Patagonian backcountry. Our guides are trained, experienced, and certified by rigorous American standards in wilderness and high altitude medicine, avalanche training, and Leave No Trace techniques. We have spent considerable time in the mountains and know how to do so safely and comfortably; we don't rush to the end of the trail, but instead focus on using techniques that allow us to adjust and even excel. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trek.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to [email protected].
Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.
Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions. Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance also provide travel insurance.
When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:
- Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
- Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
- Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.
Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:
- Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
- Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), and more.
- Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
- 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses, and military veterans.
- Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
- Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries, and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a canceled trip, paying your travel medical bills, or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories / warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Travel to Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) typically takes 18 - 27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times. Flights generally arrive in the afternoon on Day 2 of the itinerary.
Departing flights must be booked for 3 pm or later on day 13 of the itinerary.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Chile. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Santiago: For most flight itineraries, travelers pass through immigrations and customs at the Santiago airport. This requires passing through immigrations, collecting your bags, and passing through customs. Once you exit customs, take the elevator to the third floor and recheck your bags onto your domestic flight to Punta Arenas.
Punta Arenas: Punta Arenas is a small airport. Upon collecting your bags, a taxi will take you to our hotel.
The provided ground transportation in Chile as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Food - If it is cooked, boiled, or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Santiago.
Chile Country Facts
Chile is a country of immense beauty, stretching for 2,700 miles along the southwestern coast of South America. Chile's fascinating geography (a thin ribbon of territory that stretches from the northern Atacama Desert to the Torres del Paine at the southern tip) and geology (the country contains hundreds of volcanoes, more than fifty of which are active) combine to make it one of the interesting destinations on earth. "Chile," wrote Chilean Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, "was invented by a poet."
The country's high-income economy has helped produce a stable and prosperous nation, leading Latin American nations in competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low percentage of corruption.
Chile is a multi-ethnic, multicultural country whose people, subsequently, identify their nationality by citizenship rather than ethnicity.
Santiago, the country's capital since colonial times, was founded in 1541. The city's downtown has 19th century neo-classical architecture and winding side-streets, but the growing city also sports a growing entertainment scene, a rising skyline, and sprawling suburban growth. For those with some extra time, Spanish language courses for travelers are readily available.
For current weather conditions, check YR.NO.
The primary trekking season for Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is during the months of December through February. This equates to the height of the southern summer, and offers the best weather and very long daylight hours due to the extreme southern latitude.
Summer temperatures are relatively cool, due to the latitude, with an average summer temperature of 16°C or 61°F.
The people of Chile are generally very warm and friendly to tourists. Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.
A handshake and nod show respect when greeting someone. When entering a shop or home, politely use a greeting such as buenos días (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Similarly, upon leaving, even if you've had only minimal contact, say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later).
Chileans are typically proud of their country and culture. They are well-educated and tend to be cosmopolitan and progressive. Because a majority of Chile's population originated from Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, travelers typically have little trouble fitting in.
Electricity in Chile is different than in the United States. Chile has standardized type C sockets and plugs. Type L plugs and power points are still commonly found in older buildings.
Both are used for 220-240 volt, 50 hertz appliances. U.S. appliances will require plug adaptors, converters or transformers. Please visit www.worldstandards.eu/electricity for more detailed information.
The current currency of Chile is the Peso. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
We suggest bringing $700 - $1,000 total for personal spending money including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.
Cash machines are readily available in Punta Arenas, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Everyone approaches tipping a little differently. Whether or not a person tips, and how much, is completely dependent upon the individual; here are some suggested tipping guidelines for your trip.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard. Some restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee to bills in which case, no further tip is required.
Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $200 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.
Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life And Then Go Climb A Mountain
Physical Fitness Training
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For the Torres del Paine trek, you are preparing for:
- Hiking/trekking with a 30-35 lb load
- A 6+ hour days
- Using core strength and flexibility to navigate uneven terrain
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual's success on an adventure such as this.
What You’ll Need
A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.
The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.
RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.
Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!
- Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.
Pack & Travel
120+ liter bag(s) made of tough material with rugged zippers.
Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.
Protects your pack from rain while on the trail.
A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on or while sightseeing. This will not be used on the trek. If you have some other preferred way to carry a few miscellaneous items, then there is no need to bring this day pack.
Sleeping Bag & Pad
We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.
Wool or synthetic.
Regular sunglasses will suffice on this program; glacier glasses are not required.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light, and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, softshell, down, and synthetic options.
Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.
We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
Synthetic or wool.
Noninsulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and trekking pants. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots.
A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.
A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.
Large enough to fit over your trekking boots to guard against mud and snow.
Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.
First Aid & Medications
We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have while traveling. Please talk with your guide before taking medications.
At a minimum, we require the following medications:
Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).
Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.
See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.
One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).
Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops. Make sure to select the 30-minute version.
Bring as needed.
We recommend lining your day pack and duffel bag with garbage bags to keep items completely dry. You can also use waterproof pack liners.
Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.
We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
We recommend SPF 15 or higher.
Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.
Practice using this before coming on the climb!
For showers on the trek.
Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.
A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.
For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.
We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.
Valid for six months beyond your return date.
The first two pages of your passport.
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the best shape of your life!
It is nice to bring a few of your favorite trail snacks to supplement the provided lunches but keep your snacks to around 1 pound. Bring some drink mix to add to your water as a tasty way to stay hydrated.
With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals in the cities are on your own. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals on the trek are included. As indicated in our Trip Itinerary, all meals are included beginning with breakfast on Day 4 through lunch on Day 12.
During the trek drinking water will be provided. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks when not on the trail (at hotels, restaurants and while traveling).
MOUNTAIN LUNCHES AND SNACKS
Our lunches on the trail typically consist of a sandwich, granola bar, some fruit, and chocolate. This is enough food for lunch but we recommend you bring some of your own snacks. Keep these personal snacks to about a pound for the trip.
Mountain snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner!
The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.
Recommended mountain snack items: candy bars, energy bars, GORP mixes, dried fruit, nuts, cookies, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Chile does not allow the following items through Customs: cheeses, fresh meats, dried meats, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. Other food items may pass inspection but that decision is at the discretion of the customs inspector. Items which are generally okay include jerky and dried fruits as long as they are in their original packaging.
Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, or cereal can be expected for breakfasts along with hot drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa, or cider.
Dinner normally begins with soup and ends with dessert. Healthy meals with a vegetables and meat are served as the main course. For example, we’ll have pork tenderloin over green beans and a light sauce or a local salmon filet and sautéed peppers for the entree.
Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation.
- Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, or check from a U.S. bank.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.
- Balance payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.**
- **Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
- A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.
- Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.
*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.
The $1,500 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
- If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $1,500 per person deposit will not be refunded.
- If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, we strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.
We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.
- RMI Leadership
- One night at a hotel in Punta Arenas prior to the trek, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- Two nights at hotel in Puerto Natales prior to the trek, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- One night at a hotel in Puerto Natales after the trek, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- Private transportation between Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales - Torres Del Paine - Punta Arenas
- All group trekking supplies such as tents, stoves, etc.
- All meals while trekking
- Park fees and permit fees
- Trekking support
- Outfitter staff
- International round-trip air fare and travel expenses to/from Punta Arenas
- Transfers between the Punta Arenas airport and hotel for arrival and departure flights
- Meals in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales
- Any additional hotel nights in Punta Arenas not included above
- Recommended insurance policies (medical, evacuation, trip cancellation, etc.)
- Personal gear
- Excess baggage fees
- International airport departure taxes and Chile entry visas
- Customary guide gratuities
- Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $200 per person)
- Satellite telephone, air charges and internet use
- Personal expenses, room charges and beverages
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently hazardous. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, but they cannot eliminate them. Objective hazards include rockfall, icefall, avalanches, slides or falls by individuals and rope teams on steeper slopes, weather-related problems including cold, heat, high winds, and other unnamed dangers that can occur while climbing.
You are choosing to engage in an activity in which guided and non-guided climbers have been injured or killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:
- Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
- Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
- Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
- Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
- Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
- Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
- Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
- Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
- Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
- Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
- Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.
Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.
RMI may consider conduct to be in violation of the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.
All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.
RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).
Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.
The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees to enter another country, tests required to return to the US, and/or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, etc.
Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.
What are the huts like?
The huts vary from large lodges with full service bars and restaurants to small hostels that are clean with lots of character. The rooms are all communal with approximately 6 beds in each.
What are the facilities like?
There are flush toilets at the huts and camps. All the huts have communal hot showers. We bring our own towels and soap.
How hard are the days of hiking?
The days range from 5 hours to 11 hours a day of rolling terrain. There are some uphill and downhill sections that can be quite demanding. Adding a 30-pound pack also contributes to fatigue during the day so be prepared by training well. The trail is mostly a nice dirt path with some areas of mud or roots to walk across.
How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?
There is no cell coverage in the park but WIFI is available at 5 of the huts for a fee.
Are there places to charge my electronics?
All the huts have generators, so you will be able to charge your electronics when the power is on in the hut. We will not be able to charge electronics the two nights we stay in tents.
What is the weather like?
In Patagonia the weather can be warm and sunny one minute and cold and rainy the next. We pick a great time of year to go where we are likely to have nice weather, but we need to be prepared for anything. Typically, the winds will be strong over the passes and prove to be a challenge to walk against.
How long is the entire circuit?
We walk the O and the W around the Torres Del Paine Massif which covers 100 miles.
What is food like on the trek?
Breakfasts are toast, eggs, oatmeal, and coffee or tea. Lunches are sandwiches, granola bar, fruit, and some chocolate. Dinners are soup, an entree of a protein and starch for example local salmon fillet over quinoa with sautéed peppers, and a local desert. It is nice to bring a few of your favorite trail snacks to supplement but we provide plenty of food. Adding a drink mix to your water can help to stay hydrated.