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
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.