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Skottsberg Bridge

In 2015, CONAF – the Chilean agency entrusted to manage Torres del Paine National Park – asked ConservationVIP® about the viability of building a new trail in Torres del Paine. The new trail, on the south side of Lago Skottsberg, would roughly parallel the existing section of the “W” trail between Refugio Paine Grande and Campamento Italiano and would relieve severe overcrowding on that section of the W. The proposed route followed an old horse trail which crossed the outlet stream from Lago Skottsberg. Fording the stream was not a problem for horses, but we knew that some hikers would have trouble crossing the stream without a bridge.

We agreed to help the Park by constructing a suspension bridge with the help of some of our volunteers and park rangers. Construction of the 66-foot (20 meter) span began in February 2018. Because of logistical challenges it was only 90% complete by the end of the construction season in March 2018. To finish the project, another group of volunteers returned to the Park, repaired problems caused by weather which damaged the partially completed bridge during the winter, and then completed the construction in February 2019.

Below you can see some photos of the bridge construction

  • Readying materials for helicopter 16 February 2018
    Readying materials for helicopter 16 February 2018
  • Dan and rangers assembling west tower 4 March 2018
    Dan and rangers assembling west tower 4 March 2018
  • Unfinished west anchorage 17 March 2018
    Unfinished west anchorage 17 March 2018
  • Rangers placing hangers & floor beams 21 March 2018
    Rangers placing hangers & floor beams 21 March 2018
  • Placing hangers & floor beams 21 March 2018
    Placing hangers & floor beams 21 March 2018
  • Hangers, floor beams, stringers 23 March 2018
    Hangers, floor beams, stringers 23 March 2018
  • West end anchorage & tower 25 March 2018
    West end anchorage & tower 25 March 2018
  • Skottsberg evaluation of winter damage 20 Jan 19
    Evaluation of winter damage 20 Jan 19
  • Skottsberg Bridge: Mark (left) & Edmund fixing stringers 30 Jan 19
    Mark (left) & Edmund fixing stringers 30 Jan 19
  • Richard & William installing cable bracing 31 Jan 2019
    Richard & William installing cable bracing 31 Jan 2019
  • William & Edmund placing stringers 1 Feb 2019
    William & Edmund placing stringers 1 Feb 2019
  • Building Skottsberg Bridge 5 Feb 2019
    Building Skottsberg Bridge 5 Feb 2019
  • Skottsberg Bridge essentially complete 6 Feb 2019
    Skottsberg Bridge essentially complete 6 Feb 2019
  • Hiker on Skottsberg Bridge 6 Feb 2019
    Hiker on Skottsberg Bridge 6 Feb 2019

We are very grateful to Richard, the structural engineer who volunteered countless hours designing and organizing the logistics for the Skottsberg Bridge. Hikers from around the world will benefit because of the generosity of Dan, William, Mark and Edmund – our volunteers who worked long and hard on the construction. We are also very grateful for the generosity of an anonymous donor who funded the project.

To learn more about ConservationVIP’s role in building the new trail, see the Volunteer Trip Reports on Torres del Paine Volunteer Trip page. You can read about the related Boardwalk project here.

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