Torres del Paine Hotel Las Torres
Hotel Las Torres

World’s wildest race

In a spectacular start under the crystal clear mountains of Torres del Paine, the 2011 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race began with a wild ride for the racers as they tailed a herd of horses down the dirt track on the opening cycling leg of the event.

The teams face a 60 km ride on the dirt tracks of the park, passing over three bridges and enjoying fantastic views of the Torres and Cuernos del Paine. They will then reach the Hosteria Lago Grey, where they will switch to kayaks in front of a spectacular ice-filled lake.

The 56 competitors from 15 countries compete in the nine-day race across the  Chilean Patagonia.

Each team has four athletes who compete in separate disciples, including sea kayaking, cycling, trekking and climbing. The race  will continue until Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race is gaining a reputation as both the toughest and wildest race in the world, having run editions through the diverse region of Chilean Patagonia, including Tierra del Fuego, the Darwin Range, Torres del Paine, Straits of Magellan and the Beagle Channel.

The challenge, the isolation, the unpredictable weather, and the unexplored landscapes all add to the mix – and the glory of finishing, and finishing first, is what everyone strives for.

Thanks to the continued support of Wenger, maker of the genuine Swiss Army knife and precision outdoor equipment, and other sponsors, up to 60 international athletes have the opportunity to take on the most rugged and diverse challenge known to expedition racing.

Chilean Patagonia is rewarding, but you have to earn it,” says race organizer Stjepan Pavicic. “When planning the course for the race each year we always make sure it is a good mix of virgin terrain and stunning views and I guarantee that 2011 will be no different – it will once again show competitors just how spectacular the scenery in this region of the world can be, but for sure it will test them to their limits.”

Sources: www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com, The Patagonian Times