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Circuit O - Stage 4. Camp the dogs at the Gray Shelter

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Unlike the previous stage from the Dickson Shelter to the Dogs Camp, this stage can become by far the heaviest and longest of the entire Circuit O in Torres del Paine. That is why many choose to stay in the Camp the Pass if the legs fail them, since the long descent ends with the patience and physique of anyone. We talk about nothing less than1,700m of descending slope by 1,204m of rise.

Apart from the rise and fall, this fourth stage is famous for the "fearsome" step of John gardner, a step that two very nice Chileans we met on the route made us very black. For them, the passage of John Gardner was like the apocalypse, vertiginous and very windy, the last more than true, the second far from that reality.

From Camp the dogs to the Gray Shelter

Departure from the dogs camp

We left just after dawn, like at 8:30 in the morning, since it was a long route. It had rained the night and not only that, it was very cold, so much, that we consideredrenew sleeping bag.


Torres del Paine - Route O-Camp Los Perros - Refugio Gray
Torres del Paine - Route O-Camp Los Perros - Refugio Gray

The beginning of the route already let us see what the first part of the stage is, uneven and steep, very steep. At first all the way was a succession of mud and puddles through a forest full of moss and a lot of scrub, until it reaches a certain height, at approximately 800m, which is when all vegetation is lost to take a somewhat slippery path of stones.

The John Gardner Pass

On the way up, deep down we could see the passage of John gardner, at 1,210m, without snow, something strange by this time (April). The pass is famous for the strong wind, which already lurked at the beginning of the route, but nothing to do when you cross the pass, which becomes hurricane. Before reaching the John Gardner Pass the slope made us a little zig zag, until reaching a great milestone that is in the step welcoming some spectacular views towards the Gray Glacier. We can say that the step is simple, without risk, without vertigo, it is flat, seriously, very flat, except for the stretch of climb, but the step itself is far from being something dangerous.

The views are fabulous, to make a Wow, with that huge glacier that reminded us of Kristinartindar in Iceland. About him a lovely rainbow That seemed perpetual.


Gray Glacier
Gray Glacier

A descent with more than 1,700m of slope

From here begins a long descent, with the glacier on the right but unfortunately we saw him gradually hide due to the thicket of a forest. Inside the forest the path is very slippery and the occasional cock we take. Between the unevenness, fatigue, etc ... is more than assured. After 2 or 3km of zig zag we arrive before the planned Camp the Pass, where the guard asked us if we camped or continued until Gray Shelter, which was about 3 and a half hours.


Walkways near the Gray Shelter
Gray Glacier

From the Camp he passed the descent begins to be somewhat less intense, but a descent that deceives since it is a rise and fall. Before this section we ate by a waterfall, we recommend it !, with incredible views of Gray Glacier, yes, with a lot of wind.

Arriving at the Gray Shelter

The rise and fall became tired, but after 10 or 15min the forest cleared "thanks" to a fire that was a few years ago and that clears the view towards the Gray Glacier. Then comes one of the two "small" attractions of the stage, one runway that went through a narrow canyon and that gave a lot, a lot of vertigo. Later another gateway appeared a little shorter, but with the wind causing us some other problem. Eye when going through these, you can not pass more than 2 or 3 people at a time and with wind, careful, it can be dangerous.


Gray Glacier

We were already approaching the Gray Shelter, a symptom when taking a long flat path, which overlooked the huge white and well equipped Gray Shelter. The bad thing is the staff, as in Dickson, who were not the kings of sympathy.

As an anecdote in the shelter we met a Chilean who was doing the Circuit O in honor of his wife, who died a few months earlier. A great and a great person. His words moved us much of the journey.

More information in our article Map, route and tips. The O and W circuit in Torres del Paine

Recommendations to consider

Gray Shelter

The Gray Shelter is the best equipped on the route. It has even a bar, sofas and drinks area. This in a spectacular enclave and it has not only a camping area, but also rooms with bunk beds and a tent.

  • The price for camping amounts to 6,000 pesos
  • The shelter with beds comes out for 19,000 pesos
  • Tents / tents are rented at 9,000 pesos
  • There is no electric current to charge mobiles except in the shelter
  • If you have breakfast at the shelter, calculate 7,000 pesos
  • A bottle of wine costs 10,000 pesos, a beer 2,500 pesos and a hot dinner about 15,000 pesos
  • There are cold water showers outside and if you sleep in the shelter there is hot water
  • There is no internet or coverage

Travel insurance

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