Despite similar terrain, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine  attracts fewer climbers than Argentina’s Parque Nacional Los Glaciares , perhaps because climbing permits have been expensive here. Permits are currently free, but climbers must present Conaf with climbing résumés, emergency contacts, and authorization from their consulate.
For sensitive border areas (most of Andean Chile), climbers must also have permission from the Dirección de Fronteras y Límites (Difrol) in Santiago . It’s possible to do this through a Chilean consulate or at Difrol’s Santiago offices; if arriving in Puerto Natales  without permission, try requesting it through the Gobernación Provincial (tel. 061/411423, fax 061/411992), the regional government offices on the south side of Plaza Arturo Prat. Turnaround time is 48 hours. Ask Conaf for more time than you’ll need, as each separate trip could require a separate fee.
Climbing and mountaineering may be undertaken independently, but local concessionaires can train or lead groups or individuals with less experience on snow and ice. Puerto Natales ’s Big Foot Adventure Patagonia, for instance, has a Refugio Grey base camp, where it leads half-day traverses of Glaciar Grey (US$110 pp) and has longer trips up to three days (US$500 pp). Except for warm, weatherproof clothing, they provide all gear. For more detail, contact Big Foot Adventure Patagonia (Bories 206, tel./fax 061/413247, www.bigfootpatagonia.com ).
Big Foot also arranges guided three-day, two-night kayak descents of the Río Serrano for US$500 per person.
The only concessionaire offering horseback trips is Río Serrano-based Baqueano Zamora (Baquedano 534, Puerto Natales, tel. 061/413953, www.baqueanozamora.com ). Just outside the park boundaries, though, Hostería Las Torres (Magallanes 960, Punta Arenas, tel. 061/710050, www.lastorres.com ) has its own stables.