TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
WINTER BREAK | PATAGONIA, CHILE | Jan 3-14, 2024
Join us for a two week winter break adventure in Patagonia! This experience will start with a flight to Punta Arenas in the far southern tip of Chile, which is where we’ll officially kick off our adventure. From Punta Arenas we’ll head north by vehicle towards Puerto Natales, which is one of a few gateway towns to Torres del Paine National Park. From here we’ll prep for what will be an unforgettable 8 day trek on the O Circuit through the heart of Torres del Paine. This classic trek circumnavigates the entire Torres del Paine range and starts with fabulous views of these iconic mountains, before traversing you around glaciers and icefields, beautiful lakes, valleys and the landscapes that make Patagonia one of the most recognizable and treasured wild places in the world. This is a popular time of year to visit Torres del Paine, and with that we can expect to have plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with like minded travelers from all over the world.
After completing this roughly 75 mile circumnavigation of the park, we will be picked up by our local operator and taken back to a hotel in Punta Arenas to clean up, relax, repack, and enjoy a night of sleep in a real bed before the journey back north to the US. A quick transition will have us back on a plane, flying north to start the spring semester with memories from this trip that will surely last a lifetime.
January is the heart of the summer season in the southern hemisphere, and with that will come the traditionally better weather by Patagonian standards. Weather in Patagonia in January is more mild than other times of the year, but its unique geography and climate means that participants should be prepared to experience challenging weather including intense wind, rain and even high elevation snow showers. Participants should prepare to come ready for adventure, challenge and the fulfillment that tends to come from spending time in nature with good people. This trip is not a suitable trip for beginners, and trip participants must come with prior experience hiking and the ability to hike for multiple days on uneven, rugged established trails while carrying a backpack of 30-40lbs (13-18kg) for up to 12 miles (20km) at a time with up to 2,000ft (600m) of vertical gain/descent. Trip participants will be required to participate or show record of participating in a minimum amount of backpacking trips with OEL prior to the start of this program.
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What is Bison Bikes?Bison Bikes is a bike share program originally created as a student organization through Bucknell's Student Government. Outdoor Education & Leadership (OEL) now manages this program through our Rental Center. Bison Bikes provides longer term rentals each semester to current Bucknell students at no cost. Students can request a bike through our portal (website). Students will have the opportunity to enter their name via a request form for a period of two weeks prior to the start of a designated semester. A random selection process then takes place and requests are filled. Bike size availability may also contribute to the selection process. Students are able to schedule appointments for ongoing maintenance and other related needs throughout the semester. Regular maintenance costs are taken care of by the program and not the responsibility of the student. Significant damages or a lost/stolen bike is the financial responsibility of the student. Each bike rental includes a bike lock and helmet.
How do I rent a bike through Bison Bikes?Prior to the start of each fall and spring semester we will make our Bike Request form available here on our portal (website) for a period of 2 weeks (announced in advance). Simply complete the information requested and submit. Regardless of availability, our staff will be in touch within 2-3 regular business days following the two week period to confirm the status of your request. Bikes will be assigned based on random selection from the entries received through our Bike Request form. If a bike is available, you will be asked to schedule an appointment to pick up your bike, bike lock and helmet. At the time of pick up, you will also need to review and agree to our Rental Agreement and Liability Form. You will be required to schedule a return time towards the end of the semester per the expectations outlined at the time you originally picked up the bike. You can always Contact Us directly with more questions about the bike request and rental process.
Damage PolicyRegular use of bikes will result in basic maintenance needs (flat tire, chain pops off, brake issues, etc.). Repair and/or maintenance needs as a result of standard wear and tear can be serviced by OEL Rental Center Staff at no cost to the renter. If damage occurs to bikes as a result of abuse or neglect (running it into a curb, attempting to ride down stairs, etc.) renters will assume the responsibility of fees for repairing or replacing bikes/bike parts as required. Repair and replacement fees will be reviewed and assessed by the Bison Bike Student Manager and/or the OEL Professional Staff. Failure to pay damage fees within two weeks from the date they are shared with the renter will result in the renter's information being sent to the Finance Office who may place a hold on the renter's account.
Lock PolicyEvery Bison Bike renter is provided with a bike lock upon bike rental. Renters are required to use the lock distributed by the OEL Rental Center for their Bison Bike. Bikes must be locked appropriately around the frame and front tire when not in use. If a bike is found unlocked or locked inappropriately, the bike may be confiscated and the renter will be issued an initial warning. If a second offense occurs, the bike may be confiscated and the renter will be suspended from Bison Bike rentals for the rest of the semester. If a renter fails to lock the bike responsibly or does not use the provided lock and the bike is stolen, they will be held responsible for the bike theft. The renter will be responsible for paying all fees associated with replacement of their stolen equipment. Failure to pay replacement fees within two weeks from the date they are shared with the renter will result in the renter's information being sent to the Finance Office who may place a hold on the renter's account.
Return Date PolicyAll Bison Bikes will be due during a designated date window/range toward the end of each semester. This will be pre-determined by the OEL Rental Center and shared with the renter at the time the bike is rented. It is the renter's responsibility to schedule their return during this period of time. Failure to return a bike during this period of time will result in late fees as explained in our Late Fee Policy.
Late Fee PolicyBikes, locks with key, and helmets must be returned during the pre-determined time period as agreed during initial pick up. Late returns of the rental package - bike + locks/key + helmet will incur a flat late fee of $10/day until the cost of the equipment is reached. Bikes, locks with key and helmets returned at different times will result in itemized daily late fees of $10 for the bike, $2 for the lock/key and $2 for the helmet per day until the cost of the equipment is reached. Failure to pay replacement fees within two weeks from the date they are shared with the renter will result in the renter's information being sent to the Finance Office who may place a hold on the renter's account.