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Erratic Rock Info Session








The exterior of Base Camp in Puerto Natales who host the daily info session about trekking in Torres del Paine National Park.

Intro: After reading online that the Torres del Paine info session at Erratic Rock shouldn’t be missed, we decided to attend to be as informed about our upcoming “O” circuit trek as possible.

I first heard of Erratic Rock when I was searching online for guided treks in Torres del Paine National Park, in particular the circuit trek. There were a few companies that I was debating going with, but because of their rigid schedule, and our desire for flexibility, I knew that they weren’t going to be viable.

After browsing through Erratic Rock’s website, I learned that they not only do organized treks with guides, but also rent gear and have their own hostel. So from staying at Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales, to renting their trekking gear and even going on one of their trekking tours, they really are a one-stop shop for trekkers.

The entrance to Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales who run a Torres del Paine trekking info session each day at 3PM.

Although we didn’t end up going with Erratic Rock on one of their organized treks (or any other tour company for that matter), we did attend their 3PM info session on trekking in Torres del Paine National Park. I was going on a research frenzy in the weeks before leaving for Patagonia, and one piece of advice I kept reading from past trekkers was to attend this event, which takes place everyday at the same time (3PM), at the same place: Base Camp, which is a shop right next to Erratic Rock. Best of all, the info session is completely free to everyone.

Even though I felt pretty confident with the trekking info I had gathered already, Charlene and I had some free time after lunch and our last-minute grocery shopping spree, and decided it wouldn’t hurt to attend the info session.

The good news was that our hostel (We Are Patagonia B&B) was only about 2-3 blocks away from Erratic Rock and Base Camp. The bad new was that we lost track of time and didn’t head out until about 2:50PM. So by the time we arrived at the info session, the entire place was jam packed, so much so that there were no seats left and we had to stand at the back of the room.

Even the space at the front was filled with people sitting on the ground! So one word of advice is to arrive early (maybe half an hour or so), especially if you don’t want to stand during the entire hour-long session (although you are free to leave anytime).

The info session in full swing at Base Camp, next door to Erratic Rock, which covered all aspects of trekking in Torres del Paine National Park.

The info session was led by one of the staff members of Erratic Rock, who started out by introducing herself and giving an overview of what she would cover. She touched upon everything, from an overview of Torres del Paine National Park, its most popular trekking routes (“W”, “O”, and “Q”), the “dos and don’ts” of the park, advice on what to bring and wear, and a little bit about the expected weather conditions.

I won’t go into everything, but let’s just say I highly recommend you attend this meeting, even if you think you know everything there is to know about trekking in Torres del Paine National Park. At the very least, it’s good to reassure yourself of the info you already have, ask questions, and maybe meet a hiking friend or two.

From the top of my head, I would say the most memorable mental notes I took from the info session were:

  • The weather is very unpredictable and changes rapidly, so prepare for everything from rainy and windy days to hot and cold ones.
  • The water in the park is safe to drink and you don’t need to bring any filters (I brought a Steripen to the park just to be safe but didn’t even use it once).
  • If you’re staying at Campamento Torres (the campsite closest to Los Torres), you’ll need to make reservations at Campamento Italiano, otherwise you’ll be asked to turn back when you get to Torres (they enforced this rule when we got to Campamento Torres).
  • You can buy snacks and even breakfast/lunch/dinner meals at certain more-established campsites, i.e. Refugio Dickson, Refugio Grey, Refugio Paine Grande, and Refugio Chileno, but they’re quite pricey (food wasn’t bad though).
  • Yes, there are a few ladders you’ll need to climb up and down on the trek with your backpack (Charlene asked this question after seeing some photos online).
  • Depending on how bad the weather is, you may not be able to cross John Gardner Pass and thus have to stay an extra day at Campamento Los Perros (if you’re doing the circuit trek and going counterclockwise, which was what we did).

Although our legs were getting tired about half an hour into the session, we ended up staying and standing for its entirety, since we thought all the info being covered was useful. Plus, I needed to buy two fuel canisters for the trek from Base Camp, and didn’t want to cause a scene while the session was still going on :).

The gear rental area at Base Camp where you can hire trekking poles and camping equipment, as well as purchase fuel canisters for cooking.

So in summary, we highly encourage anyone planning or even just thinking of trekking in Torres del Paine National Park to attend this 3PM event at Erratic Rock. And if you’re looking to buy or rent trekking gear, find a friend or group to hike with, or book an organized trekking tour, then this is the place to visit. If you have any reservations, just do a Google Search for “Torres del Paine Trek” and you’ll see that Erratic Rock’s website is one of the top hits.


  • 1: Highly suggest attending this informative session for tips on each of the various treks (presented in English).
  • 2: Show up early to guarantee a seat before the presentation.
  • 3: Purchase your fuel canister and other supplies/rentals needed for your trek at their store next door.
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