.All Trips / Chile / South America

A Mountain with Horns: Cuernos del Paine, Chile

Paines Massif, Torres Del Paine (132)

I’ve been a lover of mountains for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the painfully flat plains of Manitoba (and I mean f-l-a-t, like a pancake), and still vividly recall seeing my first mountains when I was a toddler of about 2 or 3 years old. These were the amazing Alberta Rocky Mountains visited on one of many family vacations to Banff.  I was fascinated by mountains then and remain so to this day. 

I have seen many beautiful and interesting mountains in my life and have a list of favorites — the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Ama Dablam, Mt. Assiniboine, Cascade mountain, Mauna Kea, and so on.  But there is no mountain formation I find more interesting than the three “horns” of the Paine Massif (Cuernos del Paine), the tallest of which is 2600 m high.

This grouping of mountains resembles the horns of a primeval beast.  The distinctive banding is due to the juxtaposition of soft sedimentary rock (darker color) and harder light-colored granite.  Because of the three-dimensional horned configuration of mountain, its banding and the effects of glacial erosion, the appearance of the mountain changes constantly as you move around it, depending on your point of view, as you can appreciate from the accompanying photos.  Also, the weather here is ever changing — sometimes sunny, but with fog, mist and rain constantly moving through.  In fact, our guide told us that most travelers refer to the park as “Torres del Rain”, so the mostly clear weather we enjoyed on our visit was a real bonus.

Here then is a gallery of images of this fascinating mountain:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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