Zeit  2 Tage 4 Stunden 15 Minuten

Koordinaten 4721

Hochgeladen 9. Februar 2017

Aufgezeichnet März 2014

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719 m
239 m
0
32
64
127,21 km

angezeigt 2436 Mal, heruntergeladen 23 Mal

bei El Chaltén, Santa Cruz (Argentina)

When some years ago I first studied this route, it seemed to be a pioneering endeavour. Now it seems to have become folklore in the so called "adventure-cycling" arena.
Actually, this crossing between El Chaltén and Villa O'Higgins allows to link the classical tours of southern Patagonia (Paine, Calafate, El Chaltén) to the Carretera Austral. To be honest, it does not involve that much of cycling, since most is done by pushing and by boat. Specifically, one can distinguish the following stretches:
1) unpaved road from El Chaltén to Lago del Desierto;
2) boat through all the whole Lago del Desierto;
3) pushing from the Lago to the Portezuelo;
4) cycling from the Portezuelo down to Candelario Mansilla;
5) boat from Candelario to Puerto Bahamondez;
6) unpaved but nearly perfect road from Bahamondez to Villa O'Higgins.

1) is straightforward, and may be very spectacular in a clear sun day. I had this while coming back from Piedra del Fraile, see for example my track Marconi - Pollone - Cuadrado.
2) marks the main difference with respect to what I had studied years ago. Namely, at the time one was expected to push on a bushy path throughout the whole side of the lake, an operation accounting for several demanding hours. Now the availability of a boat connection makes all very simple. The boat was cheap, I guess that with increasing popularity the prices will readily rise!
3) is perhaps the most peculiar stretch. Allow for it a whole afternoon, because with loaded bicycles it is hard work. The photos demonstrate well the nature of the terrain
4) is also scenic, you have the rare experience to cycle on a little airport - the little one of Laguna Redonda. Consider, however, that this is a rule in southern Chile, and you can do the same also in Caleta Tortel or similar isolated spots. You end up in Candelario Mansilla, a truly unique place, connected to civilization only by a boat running twice a week - this, at least, in summer. Here you find only the station of Carabineros and the house inhabited by Justa Mansilla, a descendant of Candelario.
5) is the most spectacular phase, due to the unique colour of the lake, and to its oceanic waves, which can also forbid navigation at all. We needed to wait one day in Candelario, camping in the meadow above Justa's house, and because of the high waves the boat ferried us directly to Puerto Bahamondez, without the usual detour to the glacier. In spite of this, I guess, they make us pay the whole price, which incidentally is totally disproportioned to the standards of the region. To be honest, I guess that even high waves were also an excuse, probably they wait that both in Villa O'Higgins and in Candelario there be plenty of waiting tourists (nearly all cyclists), such to maximize the income... Namely, we navigated with such powerful waves that I cannot figure out how the previous day they could be expected to be higher.
Finally, 6) accounts only for seven kilometres, not many in comparison to the 1240 more that are waiting for you on the Carretera Austral!

Mehr anzeigen external

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El Chalten

Fluss

Rio de Las Vueltas

Wasserfall

Chorillo del Salto

View on the popular waterfall.
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Pasarela Las Vueltas

Brücke

Puente Rio Electrico

See

Laguna Condor

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Fitzroy Expediciones

Brücke

Puente El Puesto

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El Puesto

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Capilla de Loreto

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Harbour Desierto

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Glacier view

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Carabineros Desierto

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Uphill stretch

Pushing is mandatory here.
Aussichtspunkt

View on Lago del Desierto

With the Fitzroy looming in the background, this is perhaps a great moment fro people coming in the reverse direction.
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Narrow stretch

See

Laguna Larga

Here we camped.
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Portezuelo

Orographic saddle and border crossing. One of the most original in the world!
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Aerodromo Laguna Redonda

Brücke

Bridge after Aerodromo

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First view on lake

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Panorama on Lago O'Higgins

Larger version on Google
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Abandoned buildings

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Rocks

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Carabineros

Schutzhütte

House of Justa Mansilla

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Harbour of Candelario

Aussichtspunkt

Panorama from the boat

Larger version on Google
Explanation on PPH
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Entering north branch

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North branch

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Puerto Bahamondez

Actual south end of the Carretera Austral.
Aussichtspunkt

Two-color point

Brücke

Puente Grosse

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Villa O'Higgins

Farthest village of the Carretera Austral.
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Best Fries

Sakralbau

Iglesia

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