During my recent hike around the Torres del Paine circuit, I had a very difficult time setting up my Notch at the Cuernos "campground". Most sites were plywood platforms with very few attachment points (just the odd bent over nail), and there were wind gusts of maybe 30-40 mph coming from different directions. I had no extra cord, just 20ft. or so of plastic twine. There were several rocks on every platform that other people apparently used, but extra cord was not available at the store.
I stared at the platform for 15 minutes or so, trying to figure out a way to set up my tent. I finally picked out a few nails and remnants of previous tents that I thought I might be able to use, and started to set up. The two nails for the end stake points were a good distance apart, and I found two attachment points for the side that weren't too bad, but it was still hell to get the tent up because of the wind gusts that were coming every 30-60 seconds. I could get the poles up and start to tighten the lines, but the line tensioners would not hold their position when a gust came and instead would slip out to the knot in the end of the line. And to make it worse, the end of the line would usually cross over the section attached to the tent, making it very hard to get unstuck and retension the line. I thought that maybe this was a locking feature that I was unaware of (hard to describe), but when I tried to use it in my favor, the line just slipped easier. Once I managed to get everything tensioned up properly before the gust came but the tensioners still let loose when a gust hit. To prevent the lines from slipping, I tied a slippery half hitch against each tensioner. This was enough to keep the line from slipping, but made the process of adjusting the tension in each of the lines very tedious. It didn’t help that the plastic handles on the trekking poles were rather slippery on the plywood, making it easy to knock them out of place. Once I did get everything setup, I pulled the lines TIGHT. It took me about an hour total to get the tent setup.
Here's a pic of the eventual setup:
I used two rocks, one for one of the peak guy lines, and the other to pull out one of the struts that wasn’t behaving right due to the slightly crooked setup.
Once set up, it withstood the winds quite well. While everyone else’s dome tents were whipping around, the Notch didn’t move. It rained overnight so the tent loosened up a little, but the winds thankfully died down some as well after a few hours.
Other tents didn’t fare so well. There were two casualties:
My friend had a Fly Creek UL2. He gave up on the platforms and hunted around and found a patch of dirt to set his 11 stakes into. His tent survived, but the tradeoff was having a bunch of dirt blow into his tent (and mouth, nose, ears, etc.).
So, the Notch seemed plenty strong for these winds, but the line tensioners are not up to snuff. If you ever stay at Cuernos, either book a bed or rent one of their tents that are already set up and nailed to the platform.