This may well be the most fantastic view in the world. An emerald green lagoon, suggestively transparent at its mouth, lies calm at the bottom of a wall scarred with waterfalls and dark lines of waters past. This curves into a long steep slope of rock, in parts coated in glacial ice. Then, erupting out of the ice like a petrified blast of sound the towers themselves. Sublime, fantastical, incomprehensible teeth set into the prehistoric jaw of a divine beast. We sit in the bottom of its terrible mouth. A cloud passes over swiftly, afraid to linger too long.
I assumed that the name ‘Torres del Paine’ came from the Spanish word ‘peine’ meaning ‘comb’ – if you were to turn a comb upside down, blow it up thousands and thousands of times (the tallest needle is 2884m) and then petrify it, you’d end up with something not far off these towers. But apparently combs have nothing to do with it; ‘paine’ means ‘blue’ in the indigenous Araucanian language.