FAQ - Patagonia

Do I apply for a Visa? Does Chile have any Entry Reciprocity Fees?

No visa is needed. But you may be charged a one-time-per passport fee of $160 dollars upon arrival in the Santiago airport. Good news: This is scheduled to be null as of March 2014. We will confirm.


How far will I hike?

Day 5 = 3.5 hrs (11km, 6.8 miles) |  Day 6 = 10-12 hrs (22 km, 13.6 miles) |  Day 7 = 4 hrs (11km, 6.8 miles) |  Day 8 = rest |  Day 9 = 8-10 hrs (17.25km, 10.7 miles)

You will notice that the distances on the "W" are measured in time. This is very typical internationally, but completely unacceptable to the American way of thinking. So, I have clocked each trail and done a bit of conversion for you.

The trail sign in the image above shows our hiking path on Day 7. The walking time is approximately 4 hrs, and the distance is 11Km, or approximately 7 miles. This is our typical day.

Note: Two of our days are long and tiring (13.6 miles, and 10.7 miles). There is a shorter distance and difficulty level available on Day 6 (6.8 miles) and Day 9 (optional), if desired. But for those with enough stamina, the rewards of standing high inside the French Valley (Day 6) and at the base of The Towers (Day 9) are unparalleled.

Total distance = 37.9 miles (minimum of 20.4 miles)


In what kind of physical shape should I be?

If you excercise regularly by walking, hiking, or running, you are a good candidate for this adventure. You should feel comfortable hiking 10 miles over moderate terrain.

Though our typical day is less than 7 miles, waking up the next day to walk 7 miles again is quite something else if you are not accustomed to doing so. Please don't hesitate to inquire with your specific fitness/health question.

Do we have a local guide on the W trail?



Will I be camping?  Do I bring a sleeping bag?

No.  No.


What else should I know about the weather?

It's very windy in Patagonia.


 What is the photo instruction like?

The tour is limited to only 6-8 people so that Paul has plenty of time to offer customized and personal instruction with each participant every morning and evening.

And if the light begins to do something extraordinary outside, those who desire to leave their warm coffee at the lodge will follow Paul outside for a moment of spontaneous photography.

You are not required to have attended a Light Finds camera class, or Smokies workshop, but both are highly recommended in order to have your camera basics nailed down prior to the adventure. We will cover everything from the art of seeing light in nature to editing in Lightroom and Photoshop.

More importantly, you will catch Paul's infectious love for light and the life-long joy of adventure photography.


Is this an extreme Paul Hassell adventure or a relaxing vacation?


The two images above should answer this question.

You will not be leaping crevasses or climbing ice mountains. However, the adventure is designed to be adventurous. So, a fairly fit person should expect to be quite tired at the end of the hike into the French Valley or the steep hike up to The Towers. Plan to dine well, rest well, and return with stunning photos.


What will I eat while on the W trail?


Meals on the W trail have always exceeded client's expectations. The staff at Cuernos (below) just served us homeade bread with our breakfast right out of the oven, then packed our tasty lunch (above) for the trail.


What will I carry?


A small daypack is enough. You will only carry your clothing and camera gear. As a general rule, around 15-20lbs.

Our sponsor F-Stop will supply you with the right pack for the journey, if desired. I highly recommend these packs for this tour. See complete video of me unpacking mine HERE.

NOTE: Mine is a bit heavier than yours will be due to laptop and some extra photo gear that I don’t recommend for all.


Do I have a private bedroom and bath?

Generally, Yes.

However, two locations while in the backcountry are dormitory style (bunk bed).


How do I store my digital photos along the way?

All you need is a simple 320GB or 500GB external harddrive. I recommend Lacie Rugged. You will format it to a mac and backup using my laptop. Carrying your own lightweight laptop or iPad is fine. But most people opt out due to the extra weight.


How will I travel while on the tour?

Private van and Catamaran


What animals will I see?

Guanacos (like llamas). Condors. Penguins. Flamingos. Nandus (like ostriches).

Be prepared to crawl around and do the kind of photography where you may have to wipe some dirt off your elbows at the end of the day.


Will I wake before sunrise?



When else will I take photos?

In a sense, all the time. Your eyes will be "open" and seeing gorgeous light all over the place. There is something very special about seeing the Paine Massif up close and personal, rather than from miles away at overlooks. The only way to do that is on foot.

Come join us for the most remarkable adventure photography in the world.