Logo Patagonia.png

GPT06 (Descabezado)

De Wikiexplora
Revisión del 14:33 9 abr 2024 de Quentinclavel (Discusión | contribuciones) (Season 2023/24)

(dif) ← Revisión anterior | Revisión actual (dif) | Revisión siguiente → (dif)
Saltar a: navegación, buscar

Add a new log entry always on top in the appropriate season sub-chapter and use format:

* Start Date to Finish Date (use Format YYYY-MMM-DD) / Duration in Days / Hiking or Packrafting / Travel Direction (SOBO for Southbound or NOBO Northbound) / Chosen Route and/or Option Name (RR for Regular Route) / Names or Alias

Summary with remarks to route that are considered useful for other hikers and packrafters. Include alerts, suggestions and personal perception of attractiveness and difficulties.

Add a sub-chapter by placing two "=" before and after the new sub-chapter heading ('==Sub-Chapter Heading==').

Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions

GPT 06 route options


Routes: Section 6 leads through the spectacular landscape of the Descabezado volcano. There are three main routes: the regular GPT route, from Parque Ingles to La Mina / Los Cipreses (or vice versa), the Condor Circuit from Parque Ingles to Vilches, which is also popular with non-GPT hikers, and the longer, off-the-beaten-path Descabezado Circuit, which begins at Laguna del Maule and ends in La Mina. Optional trips to volcano peaks include Descabezado Grande, Descabezado Chico and Volcán Azul.

Right of way issues: Most variations of section 6 will pass by Don Victor at km45.5 of the regular route. Even if you don't pass by there, you are likely to meet him at some point on the trail. He requires prior authorization to go through his land, although only some hikers have been able to obtain such authorization, since he seems to not always reply to messages. Without authorization, it is advisable to try to avoid him, especially on the way into his land, since he might turn you around. This makes a start from Vilches unadvisable. You can minimize the probability of meeting Don Victor by taking a CC route closer to Descabezado Grande, described by Natalie below (as of March 2024 this route is not yet part of the track files), but this is not an easy route, especially if there is snow. An alternative is to do the Descabezado Circuit, but finish in Parque Ingles. This shorter circuit still goes through via almost all highlights, but entirely avoids Don Victor. You can also connect to section 5, which similarly avoids him.

Starting from Parque Ingles also has restrictions, see the trip reports below. In particular, there are only a limited number of hikers allowed, and you should not disclose your plans to go via Don Victor's land if you don't have authorization.

Notice that starting from La Mina requires authorization from the hydro company. See the GPT manual on section 6 for details.

Season 2025/26

Season 2024/25

Season 2023/24

2024-04-03 to 2024-04-05 // 2,5 days // Hiking // NOBO // RR // Quentin Clavel (GPT6)

What an amazing section !

I was lucky enough to have all the volcanoes and mountains covered by snow as it was heavy rainy just before I begun this section !

The result is blowminding landscapes, but struggle near the pass, to deal with the mix of snow and soft volcanic ground aha.

I started from El medano, where the shop and most of the cabanas were closed (there's few options to sleep here, cabanas and camping too, but as it was the end of the season, everything was closed). I was lucky enough to found a nice habitant that purpose me to stay at his house for the night for 20K CLP and saved me from a big storm and heavy rain.

I took the option F then E (basically the road from El Medano to the central hydrauelectruca) because I needed to resupply as the shop in El medano was closed. I found my happiness in La Mina where there's two basics shops (pasta, tomato sauce, biscuits, chips... (but no bread, or fresh products like fruits, cheese, ham ...). Here there's possibility to sleep on cabanas as well. There's a hotel/restaurant just one kilometer before La Mina, but no-one was there.

I arrived at the gate of the central, knowing that it will be hard without authorisation. I've sent an email to Rene gaillardo as mentioned on the hiker's manual, but no answer. So I dealt with the security guards at the entrance.

After long negociations the best option (and fastest one to let me pass this day) was to have a writing authorisation to pass from the carabineros. I've been driven to the carabineros by the security guard, and then have hard negotiations again. They finally wrote a paper where I had to explain my expedition and give lot of informations. And they asked me to go on a police station when I finished the section for let them know that I'm still alive aha.

Anyway, this allowed me to pass.

But if you're going NOBO and don't want to struggle like that, don't contact Rene Gallardo, he's not working at the Central anymore, the key contact is now Natali Veloso, that you can contact on that mail address : Natali.veloso@enel.com

Then you hike threw the central on a boring gravel, and arrive to the junction where you find lovely volcanic ground and going up up up to the pass of Los Hornitos. From there it's just landscapes from an other planet, with a very easy to follow path, but not in an easy ground as it's quite sandy.

Views on Laguna del Caracol was amazing ! As the whole circuito condor on RR ! One of the best section of my GPT so far, alone in the world in this absolute incredible landscape ... Blowminding !

I continued threw the pass El estadio PK 33,8, here the snow was very present and the path harder to follow. I continued to the amazing spring del Azufres, very nice landscape to have a hot bath and quite big vapores, nice break during the day !

The crossing over Estero El Volcan (X2) was quite demanding and I had to figure it out and check during long times for the best way to cross. Then I took the variant H to linked the GPT 6 to GPT 5.

  • 2024-Mar-08 to 2024-Mar-16 / 8.5 days / Hiking / Descabezado Circuit / Control Fronterizo Laguna del Maule - Los Cipreses/ Option 02 + RR + Descabezado Chico / Alex & Christophe

This 170km loop was our last section after 3 months on the GPT. It has been one of the most hard, exhausting, and technical section but also one of the most remote, wild, and magnificient we did. We didn't see any humans during 8 days. The extrem wind and cold temperatures, the infinite CC in open areas, the white landscapes without any shadow, and the D+ in soft sand were constantly forgotten thanks to the lunar landscapes. Here are some added informations for the GPT06-02 to the ones given by Natalie & Tomáš.

Day 1 : We took the bus at 7:30 from Talca to Armerillo. Then we hitchhiked to the beginning of GPT06-02 and began at 11am. After the first pass (-35.94909, -70.45347), we followed the track but going down thru the landslide seems to be a better option. We slept next to the river where there was a good wind shelter (more or less) at (-35.934832, -70.459308). That's a good spot to have the sun early in the morning, which was appreciated since it was -4°C during the night. Day 2 : The second path (-35.652, -70.43356) was pretty steep and unstable in the last meters but easily doable. The puesto seemed to be unoccupied. There was water every 1 or 2 hours. Then we took the {06-02F} as it looked to avoid swamps and we slept next to the river at (-35.827017, -70.399535) to have the sun as long as possible and to have it early in the morning. Day 3 : After the pass at (-35.785707, -70.403584), the landscape changed drastically! We took the {06-02E} to avoid the swamps of the other side. It worked but we had to cross the rio san Francisco. Small ford, but not jumpable. We stopped at (-35.693111, -70.427244). There was a clear source and a blue lagoon to take a quick bath. We had wind all night long, maybe there's a better place next to the lagoon. Day 4: It must be possible to find a camp spot around (-35.667931, -70.422663). After that point, it begins to climb and there's no more flat place. We took the {06-02D} and it was a good option out of the elevation and the crazy wind. When we arrived at the snow limit, we went 20m down to find a good way in the snow. Then we had to run in the flowing sand to the rocks and had to clamber the last meters between two wind gusts throwing us sand in the eyes. It was pretty scary because of the wind conditions but doable. Finally on the plateau, we had to manage with winds at 80km/h and sandstorms. I would definitely not pass in case of bad weather or with stronger wind. We took a break at (-35.613055, -70.423114), first water since the pass. Then we followed the GPX track but the OSM offers to take the westside of the river and it looked to be better as we had to go up and down in the sand many times. Finally after this exhausting day, we found a camp spot with a kind of wind protection at (-35.560315, -70.441588). Day 5: After a long morning with a NW crazy constant cold wind, we stopped at the hot springs. We tried many places but never found a source warmer than 30°C. After a quick bath, we filled our water bladder at the last point mentioned by Tomas & Natalie (-35.48544, -70.5994) to go to sleep to the pass. There was still a ton of snow next to the pass but didn't see melting snow on the way. There are different camp possibilities with a stunning view in the last 600m before the pass but we slept at (-35.494194, -70.622529) to climb the Descabezado Chico the next day. Ok wind shelter. Day 6 : We woke up at 6am to go to Descabezado Chico before the sunrise. We crossed a melting snow river at (-35.49828, -70.621259). Even if the last part is steep rocky and sandy, the climb is easy. We reached the summit in 1h20 and had one of the best sunrises of our lives ! There are some places to be sheltered from the freezing wind and enjoy the view. Back to the pass, we followed more or less the track because there was still a lot of snow and some ways didn't look to be the best to follow. Next to Lago de la Mollera (-35.49782, -70.635864), we went down to the lake because we didn't see how to avoid a snow wall and because it was looking to be a nice path to go down (breaking news : no)... We managed to go up a little bit further (-35.501361, -70.641377). When we arrived below Cerro Colorado, we took water in a blue lagoon and we hiked the crest on the left side to avoid deep sand (-35.524775, -70.661721). Then we stayed on the left side of the Cerro Colorado to go down (-35.525073, -70.670594) until the river. That was a quick and good choice. Finally we managed a flat and more or less wind sheltered camp at (-35.55463, -70.708441). Day 7: There was still a ton of snow at the pass and made our own track in the snow slope a little bit upper than the GPS track to cross more safely. We wanted to follow the high route described by Natalie & Tomás to avoid Don Víctor but as we saw how much snow there still was, how already tired we were (but not as much as our shoes) we decided to take the RR to go south. When we watched the high route from the RR, there was still a lot of snow patches. We finally stopped at Water, Camp [48.1/1837]. Not the best idea because it becomes a freezing hole during the night. Day 8-9: We followed the RR, nothing more to add to other posts except that we never met Don Victor !

  • 2024-02-29 to 2024-03-07 / 7.5 days / Descabezado Circuit - Laguna del Maule to Los Cipreses / option 02, off-trail variant, 03, RR + Descabezado Grande and chico / Marilyne (+Fangwen and Tobi for first 3 days)

First section on the GPT and I found it amazing! I won’t repeat anything that Tobi and Fangwen have mentioned below that also applies to my trip. On day 5, I used the variant suggested by Natalie&Tomas that avoids Refugio Blanquillo and Don Victor. I had met with 3 park rangers earlier in the day who questioned me about my plans and asked if I was planning to go to Refugio blanquillo. When I assured them that I would not they went on their way. I watched them and their 6 horses run over a steep patch of snow and it gave me the confidence to cross it too, otherwise I may have tried to find a different route as a fall there would have been highly consequential.

Had to cross many patches of snow on Natalie & Tomas alternate route and it includes a stream crossing that could be very dangerous in the wrong season as it is above a waterfall.

I climbed Descabezado Chico on day 4 and Descabezado Grande using route 3 on day 6. The Grande climb took 6+ hours and I didn’t have any desire to keep fighting scree fields after so I skipped Azul. At the end of that day all my stuff and me were very dusty from that climb. On day 8 I exited at the hydroelectric station Los Cipreses. A security guard that saw me running down the road to catch the bus offered me a ride to the main gate and we had a pleasant chat. Caught the 3:30pm bus to Talca around 4pm. They seem to start late from Medano. Very sunny section, I used a small solar panel on my backpack and ended up the section with all my electronics fully charged.

  • 2024-02-29 to 2024-03-08: Fangwen and Tobi (+ parts together with Marilyne) / 8.5 days Descabezado Circuit variant, Laguna del Maule to Vilches (option 02 -- variant 02D -- RR -- option 05)

What a fantastic trip! Two experienced GPT teams had independently recommended this circuit to us, and both described it as their favorite experience on the GPT. Natalie&Tomas have an extensive trip report below. I don't have a trip report from Markus&Jenni, who hiked this circuit in 2019, but they provided us with very useful waypoints. If you are interested, message us (Special:Emailuser/Tobfang) and I'll ask if I can share this data.

It is advisable to start this trip from Laguna del Maule. This way, you can easily lengthen the trip (by climbing the three volcanos) or shorten it (by exiting in Parque Ingles) towards the end of the trip. Also, you start at 2000m, which is a nice in the summer heat. It took us 8.5 days; we had food for 10 days and intended to climb some volcanoes, but when we got there it was quite windy, so we simply went straight to Vilches.

This hike is definitely off the beaten path: the arriero Christian at S 35° 50.549', W 070° 24.114' said that we were the first hikers this season (in March!). He was very friendly and shared a delicious melon with us. Our favorite places were a beautiful valley with white sand, and a refreshing Laguna at S 35° 41.643', W 070° 25.651' and the Laguna Aquas Calientes at S 35° 30.441', W 070° 31.990'. The latter is not actually a hot lake, but there are several small streams of warm water. We camped right at S 35° 30.129', W 070° 31.514', right next to a really nice hot pool.

Things to watch out for: although water was generally abundant, there are some spots where water is a bit more sparse (especially late in the season) and you might have to carry for up to one day. See Natalie's trip report for details. Additionally, earlier in the season there might be snow fields. The winter in 2023 had a crazy amount of snow, so even though we went in March we had a lot of water from snow melt and the two passes at 02D (S 35° 39.116', W 070° 26.016') and S 35° 33.137', W 070° 44.275' had steep snow fields. It was a bit sketchy, but okay. For the first pass, there are other options up, which may open up earlier. For the second pass, Option 2B traverses a lower pass (we didn't go there). A lot of hiking is on cross country, much of it on sand or gravel of different firmness. Sometimes you sink in, sometimes not. Flat or downhill travel is generally efficient, uphill is slow. Bring (mini)-gaiters, not just because of sand but also spikey plants. Also, sun protection is crucial, you won't have any tree for a week.

Logistics: Interbus (call them on WhatsApp: +56 9 9886 5872) runs a bus Mon-Fri from Talca to Medano (which is a bit further than la Mina). As of March 2024, this bus left at 12:30 and 19:00, returning to Talca from Médano at 7:20 and 15:30. From Médano hitchhike to the border checkpoint. It's not super easy, and you might only get as far as the furthest mine, roughly 5km before the border checkpoint. Alternatively, use a ride sharing app to go to the border checkpoint. We were able to get via multiple rides all the way to the border checkpoint, but it took some time (we arrived at 5.30pm). If you want to check out Laguna del Maule, tell the border guard that you're not crossing into Argentina, and they will let you pass. But the border checkpoint is closed at night (between 6pm and 9am?) and you're not supposed to cross it then. We quickly went to the lake and back before it closed. Vilches Alto has a daily bus service to Talca at 12:30 and 16:00.

  • 2024-Feb- 22 to 2024-Feb-27/ 6days/hiking/SOBO/06/RR + volcano Decabezado/Paulina

Amasing section!

Day 1 I took a bus from Talca to Molina ( a lot of buses per day, still in February and later to Parque Ingles ( several buses per day in the season, most of them till 12 pm). As it was a rainy day, my plan was to walk only to El Bolson. I did not have the entrance because I could not pay on the website with my card. I told to the Rangers that I would like to go to Los Cipreses, they where like I need the permition of the landowner to do it. I just ignored it. At first they were saying that it would not be possible to camp on El Bolson the next 2 days. But I waited about one hour, reasked several times, and finally one of the Rangers went with me to the place where you can buy ticket for camping El Bolson ( 7000 CHP), also they told me that I did not need to buy the park entrance. The El Bolson camping is just huge, I don't understand all the mess with the acces. When I came up, the guy from the camping just took my name and passport number, but did not ask to show the camping payment confirmation, or park payment.

Day 2 ( El Bolson- Termas de Azufre) The trail was visible all the time. At this time of the season, no snow on the pass. Termas de Azufre are amasing, so it's good to come there not very late to enjoy them. Just next to the river, there are a few spots for tents. This day I also met one chilean couple doing curcuito condor, and at Termas a chilean family with kids on horses with an arriero. The famous owner of the land did not show up this day and the next days.

Day 3. To refugio Blanquillo At first there are a lot of animal trails, so you need to check with gps which one is a good one. The ford on the river on the way to the pass was short but kind of difficult ( almost to the waist, I'm 1,69 cm, strong current). It's because of a heavy 2 days rain two day before. Later I met people doing curcuito condor from the other side and they told me that the rangers did not want to let them do the trail because of this river high level. But I think that after some.more days of a dray weather it's not a difficult ford.The rest of the trail was easy to follow with beautiful views. At refugio, I met one couple doing curcuito condor and two chilean couple who came to climb Volvano Decapezado. Very nice meeting. The refugio was already closed. The hot spring was not really hot.

Day 4 Together with chilean hikers, we climbed Decapezado Grande. It's a long hiking day, but it's really worth to do it. The way down is easy and very fast.

Day 5 to Laguna de los Hornos

About 20 min. from the refugio, there are a lot of different animal paths ,so you will need to consult a gps to see which one is a GPT one. The views around Laguna Caracol are amasing, I think it was my favourite part on this section of an extreme beauty. No navigation difficulties on the trail. Indeed,laguna de los Hornos is in a big part dried.

Day 6 till La Mina

I agree that it's really worth to climb the volcano Los Hornitos. It's a very short way up.The rest of the trail is at first a descend in a deep sand ( so you can go very fast) and than a walk on a gravel road ( I found the valley very nice, I was amased how fast the landscape changes). I got a ride about 2 km from Los Cipreses, very nice people, they took me to the shop in los Alamos , but as the owner was not there they took me to a shop in La Mina ( 500 m before the restaurant La Cordillera). You can find there several little shops, if you go around you can complete the resupply for the next section ( mostly pasta, tuna, tomato souce, ramen, eggs, instant souls). No camping gas. I camped in a little, very nice camping/ garden with a grape shade in a restaurant La Cordillera place ( 3000 ChP), they have also cabanas but I don't know the price. A really nice place to stay and chill, you can eat all the fruits in the garden. The lady from the restaurant was very nice, they serve nice,food, not expensive ( I paid 18000 for camping, breakfast, big dinner, juice, and a good portion of pisco sour).

For the next section, it's kind of easy to hitch-hike ( there are a lot of local workers on the road) to the beginning of the trail.

  • 2024-Feb-13 to 2024-Feb-18 / 5.5 days / SOBO / RR / Gabriele - Trails of Wander

Day 1 - Parque Ingles - Laguna Las Animas. Hernandez bus from Molina to Parque Ingles 8:10 am. I had park entry and camp permit for El Bolson that I bought on-line. I indicated to the Guardiaparque my 6 days itinerary RR to Los Cipreses, no issues but had been told several areas are private land. Met only one hiker after El Bolson (See note below).

Day 2 - Laguna Las Animas - Termas de Azufres.

Day 3 - Termas de Azufres - Camp along Rio Blanquillo near Vegas Manantial Pelado RR + small section of OH-Tl-V 06-01. I did not ford Estero El Volcán at Ford 06 [29.4/2190] as with the high snow/water year I felt it was unsafe or risky at best and made little sense to try at that spot. I continued CC on the right bank of Estero El Volcán for about 300-400 m to reach the snow field where I crossed safely without even touching water at all. The CC section had only a handful of spots requiring short scrambles, but no issues. For reference, I crossed the snowfield to reach RR at -35.31196, -70.44898. Given the current water level condition I think this is an easier and safer option. Originally intended to camp at Laguna Manantial Pelado for the night but the valley below looked great with all surrounding peaks so I camped there.

Day 4 - Camp near Vegas Manantial Pelado - Camp South of Laguna Caracol (Camp 06 56.3/2034). Based on the conversation I had two days earlier with a Chilean hiker who was doing the Circuito Condor regarding Don Victor the dueno/owner of the land traversed on day 4, including Descabezado Grande, I decided to avoid encountering Don Victor if at all possible. I did not follow the RR directly to the refuge Blanquillo at 45.5/1887 but kept away from it and walked CC to reach RR further South where it climbs up. I did not meet him and cannot say if he was at the refuge, which I only saw from the distance. After reading and listening to multiple reports regarding the situation with Don Victor land ownership it seems to me that the best approach is to avoid or minimize contact with him if possible, in order to reduce escalation of further problems for future hikers, in particular Chileans hikers who appear to really have very hard time gaining approval from him to simply traverse his land.

Day 5 - Camp South of Laguna Caracol - Laguna de los Hornos.

Day 6 - Laguna de los Hornos - Los Cipreses. I reached Los Cipreses at about 1 pm on Sunday. The guard at the gate of the Hydroelectrico Los Cipreses told me there are no buses down to Talca on Sunday. I hitchhiked on 115 and got a ride to Talca fairly quickly.

Water was plentiful for the entire route. Limited snowfields traverse with no issues. 100% full sun exposure all day after El Bolson. Windy at higher elevations. Harsh and dry environment with a lot of sand and dust. Lots of steep climbing in sand. Overall easy orientation and easy trails to follow but GPS track needed. Magnificent hike.

  • 2024-Feb-08 to 2024-Feb-14 / 5.5 days / SOBO / RR 01c 01e 03 03a/ Matthias de Austria

Bus from Curicó to Molina at 9am, immediate connecting bus to Parque Inglés. Buy a ticket online for the national park (8500 for foreigners, 100% surcharge! If the international debit card selection doesn't work, just try the national one, my card only worked there). You can also add the authorisation for El Bolsón online, but you have to pay for it in cash at a ticket office in Parque Inglés. 80 people per day are allowed for Bolsón, everything is sold out at lunchtime. Night in Parque Ingles at Hostal Valverde 40k for one person in a 4 bed room (solo use) with own toilet and washbasin but shared shower, towel costs extra, quiet, next to river for bathing (lots of local families though).

At 8am next day, a Wednesday, there are around 50-60 people at the ticket office for Bolsón. I went to the locked gate at the start of the RR and quickly climb over it hoping noone saw me, as I'm not planning to stay in Bolsón anyway. Better not to mention that to the rangers. Also, only gas cookers are allowed. After about an hour, I'm just a little way off by a stream when a ranger rides past on a motorbike. I don't know if he saw me, maybe he thought I was coming back from Bolsón. So if you hear a motorbike, it's might best to change direction shortly and head towards Parque Inglés, or even better, start much earlier in the morning.

I bypass Bolsón heading south at 01A, shortly after the bridge at -35.4973,-70.9052 is a large private area, no trespassing sign. I don't want to set a bad example for the numerous day trippers around and take a path along the stream (southern side) to the waterfall. Once out of sight of people and Bolsón, I briefly climb up the steep slope and CC to option 1. Water shortly before start of 01c. Next water at -35.5226,-70.8653, even with a small pool.

Don Victor is the large landowner in the area. His hut is, as far as I understood, the refuge Blanquillo at 45.5/1887. Hikers used to be welcome on his land, but after they left a lot of rubbish behind and invaded his hut, he no longer allows them and sends them back. However, he (sometimes?) makes exceptions for foreigners. You could ask him for permission via whatsapp, but he was so flooded with requests that he can no longer be contacted during the season. I just took a chance and went to his land. A rider around 37.1/2382 asked me what I was doing here, I asked him if he was Don Victor, to which he replied in the affirmative. I then introduced myself, said what my destination was, where I came from and that I am aware of the problem of dirty hikers, but that I am very careful with nature. He then allowed me to continue. I met him twice more in the following days, at Blanquillo 45.5/1887 and at Water 48.1/1837, and he reminded me not to throw away any rubbish.

At the refuge I met a Chilean-German couple camping, they came from Los Cipreses and didn't know that it was forbidden to enter this land, but Don Victor allowed them to stay after they argued with German cleanliness (I guess he had never been hiking in the Alps before the regular cleaning teams cleaned everything, otherwise his trust in the Europeans would probably not be so great).

Fordings: All very easy, path at Laguna del Caracol is no longer under water. No snowfields to cross. The water level of the lagunas (except Manantial Pelado) is dropping rapidly, I estimate about 10 to 15cm per day.

Water: Plenty, except for hiking up Descabezado. Bring as much as possible from Blanquillo.

Summit day Descabezado: Very strong, cold winds all day. A good windbreaker, hat and gloves are essential. Only cloudy day since I've been in Chile, 20 minutes after I left the summit it cleared up. Extremely strenuous ascent on very loose gravel, almost every step sinks in deeply and slips (I weigh 100kg), takes 6 hours from base camp to the summit, even on the easier route. Descent effortless, under 2h.

Camps: Day 1: Laguna Manantial Pelado Day 2: Basecamp -35.5978,-70.7957 (I widened it, smoothed it out, deepened it and extended the stone wall. Nevertheless, the winds up there can be massive, you have to brace the tent well.) Day 3: Next to the not existing anymore hot springs at 45.6 Day 4: Laguna la Turbia Day 5&6: Laguna des los Hornitos (rest day, just beeing naked all day swimming and lying around in the sun) Hornitos and Turbia were nice for swimming, the others really cold.

No problems at Los Ciprese, friendly guard spoke good english, gave me water and wifi. Bus to Talca (3500 peso) at main street came around 15:50-16:00.

Absolutely incredible landscape. I'm here for dream routes like this. Perhaps the best hiking week of my life. GPT01-04 was nice, but GPT06 is in a completely different league. I loved it and I deeply miss this kind of remoteness in central europe.

  • 2024-feb-2 to 2024-feb-6 / 5 days / Hiking / NOBO / RR / Juliet and Martin

Day 1 parque ingles - Lagunas las animas 18km d+1200 d-100 Departure at 6:30 a.m. to pass the conaf. No worries First part to el bolson. At el bolson we can refuel with water. The campsite attendant asked us for our conaf ticket. After explaining to him that we were going to laguna animas, he let us pass without any trouble. Continuation to laguna animales without shade but no snow. Bivouac spot on the beach but no shade, or to the west on meadows to pitch your tent, but used by a herd of horses. The trail is generally easy to follow as it is marked by stone markers.

Day 2 laguna las animas - Therma de azufre 11km D+400 D-700 Shade-free day. Lots of trails in the sand. We didn't manage to find a good bivouac spot (mainly because of the heat coming from the ground). Water spots regularly, especially early in the day.

Day 3 Therma de azufre - El banquillo refuge 20km D+ 900 D- 900 The indicated crossing point was not crossable for us in our opinion (no experience in river crossings), so we decided to walk along the river bank in the rocks for several km. We crossed the river higher than indicated thanks to the snow. Water spot regularly as several rivers crossed. Arriving at el banquillo, we were disappointed not to meet Umberto. Very good bivouac spot with several pitches already made.

Day 4 El banquillo refuge - laguna de los hornitos 20km D+ 900 D- 900 Most of the climb is up to the pass after the laguna. Quite a physical climb in the sand. But we did it in about 1h30. The rest of the day was pretty much the same. Regular water stops too. No problem following the trail. A little extra for a new encounter with a herd of horses. Bivouac spot around the lake. Nice possibility before descending to the lake (indicated waypoint camp).

Day 5 laguna de los hornitos - los alamos All downhill to los cipreses. The first part is in sand, so it's a quick descent. Once on the road, we were often overtaken by cars. No one asked us for a permit (or offered to hitchhike). We passed guards at the exit/entrance to the power station, who offered us water and no problem getting through. In los alamos, a small store selling a few products such as pasta, ice cream, batteries, etc. It's run by a lady and her husband. They also sell beds for sleeping. They're very welcoming

Buses to Talca at 7.30am and 3.30pm. Not many cars passing through. We didn't get picked up hitchhiking.

  • 2024-Jan-27 to 2024-Jan-30) / 3.5 Days / Hiking / SOBO / RR + OH 01+03+06/ Joscha

Day 1: RR [0-10,1] + OH06-01A + OH06-01[10,7-25,1] + RR [36,9-44,6]

A few small streams at OH-01 and one bigger one near Laguna Manantial Pelado (ankle high ford). A few snow patches above 2300 m, but you can easily walk over or around them. Water is flowing at all the marked locations.

Day 2: RR [44,6-45,8] + to Descabezado and back on OH06-03 and OH06-03A + RR [45,8-55,7]

River at 44,8 was a little over ankle high ford in the morning. The climb up to Descabezado has a lot of steep gravel slopes, which makes it tiresome. Water is flowing at all the marked locations.

Day 3: RR [55,7-58,3] + to Los Quillayes and back on OH06-06 and OH06-06A + RR [58,3-59,6] + OH06-C + RR [62-69]

OH06-06A is a steep gravel climb, but worth it. Really nice view from Los Quillayes (but similar to the view from Pass Hornitos. Pass Hornitos has some bigger snowfields on the southern side, but its easy to walk around them. OH06-C was pretty steep at the end, so maybe the RR is more convenient. Little above ankle high Ford north of Laguna de los Hornos in the afternoon.

Day 4: RR [69-80] + OH06-E + OH06-F

Small Shop (I bought some Pasta) and Restaurant in Los Alamos. I tried to continue on the RR from Los Alamos to El Medina. But at 81,3 km the trail vanished and I wasn't able to continue. Therefore I walked back and walked on the paved road OH E+F to El Medano. Camping + Thermas in El Medano costs 7000 Pesos. There is a small shop, but it is very expensive (e.g. 1 Ramen Cup costs 2000 Pesos).

GPT06 has some really spectacular views. Especially Pass Hornitos and Volcan Descabezado. There is no shade, so the sun is gonna burn you all day. This + the sand/gravel is demanding for your body and your equipment.

  • Jan-26-2024 to Jan-30-2024 / 4.5 days / SOBO / Oh5, Oh 3, RR / Matthieu

Amazing section, from the entrance in Vilches to the end in los cipreses. Sand and lack of shadow are the main difficulties.

Right of way : that was my first fear. Concerning guardia parques : en parque ingles, they say that they cannot let officially hikers go to the volcan, as duenos asked (OH1 passes by 4 differents private properties). But if you have a message by don victor it's ok. So no need for discussion there just take a ticket to el bolson and no more words. El bolson was closed for a few days for maintenance, so i just got out of parque ingles. At Alto de Lircay, guardiaparque told me that it was my responsability to enter don Victor's property without his permission. You can legally turn back into the park (or coming from parque ingles) paying for another day at the end, at the entrance, if you want to come back by altos de Lircay after the volcan. - Don Victor : I had the chance to meet him near the valle del venado, on a horse. I asked for permission to enter his lands and continue south, that he offered me easily with promess to not let garbage in the zone. I was glad to meet him out of his lands, I don't know how he would react into. He especially asked to guardaparques to say to hikers that it was not permitted to go on his lands because it's always full of trash, and he has to clean it up all the time. He told me that foreigners were more respectfull than locals though. His phone is off all season because it became a public number, and he has to many calls to enter the volcan. So if you want permission better send a message before season. To note, his lands go at least to the laguna caracole, don't know after. I saw another chilean hiker walking up the volcan, didn't seem to be a problem for him.

Water : often present on RR, in the lagunas or the oasis. A good stream just before the top of the volcan to. No need to carry kgs of it. No water at the volcan basecamp though, so I carried it from the puesto.

Snow : From now on, no snow issues from the entrance in Vilches to the end at los cipreses, so no need for crampons (with entrance by option 5, I don't know for the entrance by RR). Few patches you can easily bypass before and after the third pass 59km. No patches on the way to the top of volcan.

River crosses (1.78m) : only once Rio blancillo, at the first Ford (water to knees). Then I stayed on the right side of the river until the end. I had to walk inside for 1 minute, water to hips, but no current so it was easy. I bypassed the two other crosses this way.

Camp : valle venado (conaf), really friendly worker there. - Basecamp Volcan : beware, I made the mistake to not plant my tent well with heavy rocks, and the pikes in the sand are no use... so when I came back from the volcan it was upside down with strong wind... a whole adventure to pack everything ! - Oasis at water 48km. - Around 70 kms, some nice camping spots near the river at the right side of the road.

Volcan : up to the top by option 3, then down by variant 3A. Taking the variant directly seems like hell, lot of sand. More rocks on regular option 3. Physically demanding, but no other particular difficulties.

Proposition of new option : as the right of way may evolve badly in the future, I suggest a new option road from el camping valle venado to tricehue, following the rio claro. I asked to the guardaparque at the campsite, he said that there are people doing it usually. This year the river is to strong though, so maybe in march or next year.

Buses at the end : the lign is from talca to el medano, a stop at the exit of los alamos on the road. From el medano : buses 7h30 and 15h30, monday to Friday (dont know for week ends). From talca : 12h30 and 19h At el colorado, buses to talca more often.

  • 2024-Jan-11 to 2024-Jan-17 / 7 Days / Hiking / NOBO / O5, O3, O3A, RR, O1 / Vlad

A spectacular section to end my 5-week trip on the GPT. I’ve never experienced a landscape like this before and the weather (straight up sunshine for the whole week) was a welcome change after the unrelenting wind and rain of Patagonia. There were no other people outside of the start and end of the trail in national parks. Beautiful and desolate wild camping near the volcano. That said, it was very rough on my gear. The dry sand, abrasive rocks, spiky bushes did some damage to my shoes (erased on tread on the soles after sliding down scree slopes for 2 days), socks (holes after rubbing on rocks since I did not have gaiters), trekking poles (they were in a poor shape already but the rocks and sand finished them and the tips got sanded off), pants (got some holes as well).

Day 1: I took an overnight bus from Puerto Montt to Talca (22k CLP, very comfortable, booked through Rodovairro.cl). After arriving in Talca, there was a bus to Vilches at 10:30. I got off at the last stop and made it to the PN Altos de Lircay entrance around 1 PM. I asked the ranger about access to Descabezado land since I texted the owner, Don Victor (WhatsApp +56998863554) but he didn’t respond to me. The ranger said that Don Victor doesn’t respond at the moment but he said it was okay for the rangers to allow hikers to leave the park and go to his land.

I was charged 8.5k CLP for park entrance and 10k CLP for 2 nights camping inside the park. This is because I wasn’t allowed to start hiking to Valle el Venado the first day (trail closes at 11:00 am even though it’s only 19 km 🙃) and had to camp at the park entrance, then another night once I get to Valle el Venado. It was a bummer as I already had limited time for this section, but it allowed me to go for a day hike up the mountain in Altos de Lircay and watch a beautiful sunset. The forest in Altos de Lircay is beautiful with teeming wildlife and abundant wildflowers. I saw a woodpecker, a fox, colorful iguanas, a snake, giant spiders, and endless wildflowers.

You could maybe get to Altos de Lircay on time to start hiking the same day if you leave on the 7 am bus from Talca. They give you a paper at the park ranger’s office and I was asked for it 3 times by different rangers throughout my trip.

Day 2: Walked from Altos de Lircay to Valle el Venado with a side trip to see the waterfall. Met a group on horses. A few river fords that were all below knee level. Got to the campsite at Valley el Venado which wasn’t very nice. Horse poop everywhere, had to clear the spot for a tent. No one asked to check if I paid for the campsite. The group on horses camped somewhere up the valley from the refugio as I heard them and saw some come down to use the bathroom.

Day 3: I did the 3 fords of river Blanquillo as suggested on the GPS track. The first one is at the spot where river is widest, so it was only knee deep. On the second ford, it’s narrower and the current was strong, it was crotch deep for me (178 cm). Third ford knee deep. In hindsight I should’ve just stayed on the left side of the river and only crossed it once in the end.

It was a very short day, 10 km, but I thought it would be nice to arrive at Blanquillo refugio early in case Umberto was there. However, when I got there, the refugio was empty, and I couldn’t find any hot springs. I don’t think the bathing pool is there anymore. I scouted around for half an hour and only saw horse and cow poop in every little stream and pool of water. I followed one of the streams about 100 m uphill to get clean drinking water but I still saw poop on the banks.

Since Umberto wasn’t there, I cooked dinner by the refugio and kept going to the Descabezado basecamp (-35.59773, -70.79645) 3.4 km further and 600 m of elevation higher up from the Banquillo refugio, which made the next day’s climb up the volcano shorter.

The sunset at the Descabezado basecamp was out of this world.

Day 4: I left from basecamp at sunrise since I didn’t want to walk in the dark. I had to cross a few not steep snow fields at the beginning but nothing at higher elevations. Every snow field higher up is easily bypass-able. That said, the climb up to the crater still felt brutal to me. There’s absolutely no sure footing, everything is just a scree slope. When ascending, you can either climb up the 45 degree scree slope or try to walk on the rocks which are easier to plant your foot on. I chose the rocks but they too were sliding sometimes, even large boulders, so I had to be careful not to let a giant rock fall directly on my other foot. It took me 4.5 hours to reach the crater from the basecamp following the less steep option 3. It was very windy, cold, and the sun was shining directly in my face early in the morning as I was climbing up the volcano so it was a little difficult to see the path sometimes.

On the way down, I saw my tent and was trying to slide down the scree slope directly towards the basecamp roughly following the steep option 3A. Going down was actually really fun and effortless. But be careful and still check GPS regularly when you descend, as there are some scree slopes that end directly in a vertical plunge down to the ice field below.

I refilled my water bottles with ice cold water flowing from the snow field here (-35.60455, -70.78525), using my trowel as a spout. I’m glad I did because when I got back to basecamp, the water I stashed there in the morning was as warm as a hot soup after baking in the tent in direct sunlight all day.

I was considering staying at basecamp location for another night because it’s such a visually stunning spot with gorgeous sunsets and incredible stars at night, but it was just way too hot to remain there so I packed up and went back down to Banquillo refugio. Unfortunately, Umberto was still not there so I just enjoyed the company of cows and went to sleep.

Day 5: I went north in the white sand dunes following Banquillo river which nurtures a breathtaking oasis in the desert. I thought this area was way more beautiful than the Banquillo refugio (especially with all the cow poop there) so I wished I kept going a little further the previous night and set up camp somewhere by the river in this area (-35.53354, -70.79191). Disclaimer: I didn’t actually look for a spot that was flat and sheltered but that whole area just felt like a paradise so I think one could find a suitable spot for a tent there.

Right at the fork of the trails where one can choose to take Option 1 or continue on RR to Termas del Azufre, I ran into arrieros transporting hundreds of goats through the snow-covered slopes, it was a beautiful scene and a blessing for me as their footprints helped me find a safe way in some semi-steep snow sections I had to cross after 2400 m. I chose to follow Option 1 to El Bolson because the RR on the right at the fork looked like it had loads of snow still. Even on Option 1, I had to be careful and kick-step my way through the snow fields as I had no crampons and my trail runners had virtually no tread left on them after being ground on the volcanic rocks and sand the previous couple of days.

One particularly dangerous spot is here (-35.51932, -70.82684) just after Laguna Manantial Pelado. It’s a big snow field that started melting and formed a lake that’s not on the map. It was breathtakingly beautiful going west, but if you were coming from the other direction you could not see the collapse of the snow field until it’s too late and you’re on the edge, so stick to the trail and walk on the side of the valley in that spot.

I got to El Bolson just before sunset. It was surprisingly a beautiful and scenic campground and not too crowded on a Monday night. I spoke a few words to the people in the refugio, they just told me to set up my tent and didn’t ask to pay for camping.

At Bolson, I met a group of Chilean students from Talca who spoke really good English and we had a lot of fun eating dinner together, smoking weed and going to swim in the nearby waterfall the next morning. There are trails going down the cliff to the swimming pools here (-35.49801, -70.90767). It’s a really pristine swimming spot, just be careful and don’t get too close to the waterfalls as we heard there was an accident the previous night where a rock fell off and pushed a person over the edge of the waterfall so they plunged down into a pool below.

Day 6: Hiked from Bolson to Parque Ingles entrance, where the ranger once again asked for my paper registration from Altos de Lircay documenting my trip. The shops at Parque Ingles are really tiny and would not be sufficient for another section resupply in my opinion, I just bought some fresh fruit and hitched a 3 KM ride to Siete Tazas. By the time I got there (19:00) all the trails were closed and the ranger told me to go find camping at Valley de las Catas. It was 13k CLP (ouch) for 1 night camping with inclusion of the ticket for a 3-km loop on the southern bank of river Claro to see Siete Tazas. The campground had a hot shower which was very welcomed, but otherwise I think Siete Tazas was not worth it and I wish I spent my last day attempting to hike up to Laguna de las Animas instead. Though I don’t know if it would even be possible as the entire rim of the mountain seemed snow covered so there must’ve still been a very steep, yet short, snow field one would need to cross to get over the pass.

Day 7: I took a morning walk out of the campground and caught a 11:30 bus back to Molina, then a bus from Molina to Santiago for a flight home the next day.

  • 2024 Jan 07 / 4.5 days / SOBO / RR / Anh

There are many good reports, so I'll keep it short.

With my information, I could simply walk from Parque Inglés without registration. But I want to hike legal & support Conaf. So I had to register and pay online (not in cash at other national parks) with my conaf account, then offline paper formular. Fortunately, the 2nd payment for Campsite El Bolsón (compulsory) was in cash (200m from Conaf). It had taken me more than an hour.

There is a lot of hiking in volcanic sand (rough, fine). At this time there are still many snowfields from 2000 Hm upwards. There are streams under the snowfields, some of which only have a thin layer of snow (danger of collapse). Ford km 29.4 is quite critical (hip, strong flow in the morning)

I met two boys at Refugio Blanquillo. They had been hiking for two days on a different route (no RR GPT06) with a text description from the internet (no hiking map/GPS track). They learned & understood that it was very dangerous and could get lost at any time. Luckily they met a hiker with GPS & inReach, otherwise I would have taken them with me.

  • 2024-Jan-03 to 2024-Jan-08 / 6 days / Hiking / round trip anticlockwise / O5 - O3 - RR - O1 - O1c (Condor Circuit) / Lotti and Alex

Originally we wanted to do the Cóndor Circuit, but after we read about the troubles some of you had, we decided to take the safer option 1 to avoid the snow and landslide above Termas de Azufre. This route felt very safe and the snow was not a problem at all. We ended up with a beautiful round trip from Altos de Lircay to Valle Venado, then to the summit of Descabezado, then Valle del Indio and back to Altos de Lircay. The landscape is incredibly beautiful and diverse, and we enjoyed it a lot. The scariest part for us was fording the Rio Blanquillo on day 2.

Day 1: Altos de Lircay - Valle Venado on option 5 (Sendero de Chile) We stayed at Hotel Picamaderos in Altos de Lircay, which is a very nice and relaxed place right next to the park entrance of Altos de Lircay. To enter the park we had to show the CONAF officers the WhatsApp message that Victor send us as a permission for entering his land at Refugio Blanquillo. The hike through the forest was very nice and shady and we enjoyed the view from the mirador where we got a nice overview of our route for the next days. Crossing Rio Claro was easy, not deeper than knee deep. We camped in a shady spot next to Valle Venado.

Day 2: Valle Venado - Refugio Blanquillo - Descabezado base camp (option 5 and option 3) Easy walking until Laguna el Blanquillo which was really beautiful. After that the path crosses Rio Blanquillo several times. We tried to avoid it at first because it looked quite intimidating, so we followed some stone men to climb around and walk higher up the valley. When it was not avoidable any more, we forded it. For me, with just 152cm of height, it was intimidatingly deep (almost to the hip) and it had really strong currents. Alex had to help me across, and with him walking in front of me, it worked. We arrived at an empty Refugio Blanquillo, picked up some water there and walked up to Descabezado base camp which has no water.

Day 3: Descabezado Summit We left the base camp early at 6:00 and took the southern option 3 trail which was well marked by stone men at the beginning. We used our crampons to climb up some ice fields effectively, but I think they could have been bypassed as well. On the way down we took the steeper option 3A sliding down on soft pumice stones which was a lot of fun. We picked up our tent, walked back down and set up our camp at Refugio Blanquillo. There we searched a while for the hot springs, but couldn't find them.

Day 4: Refugio Blanquillo - Valle del Indio (RR and option 1 NOBO) We walked on the regular route for about 8 km until the junction where we changed to option 1. After that we crossed several smaller streams that were not on our map. Snow started around 2300m, but it was easy to walk on and we didn't need our crampons. Laguna Manantial Pelado was incredibly beautiful with its icy shores. There were some camp spots there, but it was much too windy for us to stay there for the night. We kept walking over the pass and down the valley until we found a shady spot in the middle of the valley floor of Valle del Indio.

Day 5: Valle del Indio - Altos de Lircay (Option 1C) After the wild vulcanic landscapes of the days before, this day's scenery was not as spectacular, but the hiking was easy and we even met some wild horses. We camped at Punta 6 inside the park Altos de Lircay, where we found a camping spot right next to a very nice swimming hole in the river and met the first people after 5 days of loneliness.

Day 6: Altos de Lircay - park entrance Easy walking in the shade of the forest.

  • 2023-Dec-29 to 2024-Jan-3 / 6 days / NOBO / Variant 5+3+RR+GPT05(VarG+RR)+RR / Matthias + Johanna

The route: Basically the route is the Condor Circuit: Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay - Descabezado Grande - PN Siete Tazas. We bypassed the part from km 19.4 (Termas) to km 27.4 (pass Portezuelo Las Cruces) via GPT05(VarG+RR) due to the reports of Lilian and Michael & Cassia. By the time we started our tour, Michael had written only a much less intimidating post on the Facebook group (only indicating difficult route conditions). So it was a lucky ad-hoc decision after the difficult descent from pass La Calle the day before not to try their route!!

The conditions: Snow +- above 2250m, rivers below snow-filled watersheds with high water levels! Overall quite demanding to us!

Day 1+2: Easy walking from park entrance (Lircay) to Vegas Blanquillo („basecamp“ Descabezado).

Day 3: Ascent to Descabezado Easier than expected but tedious above 3400m due to volcanic ash and steepness. Snowfields below 3400m can be bypassed or safely crossed (surface like a mogul piste). The steep snowfields above can by bypassed. We climbed the right (southern) „couloirs“ on the right margin (beneath the red rock), loose rocks are the main difficulty.

Day 4: Vegas Blanquillo - Termas Azufre About 5 km on snow. Some short steep snow passages, soft snow on snow bridges. High water levels. Easy walking until a height of ca. 2550 (km 32.5) when going down into the valley of Estero Volcán. Next 250hm downhill tricky as while we tried to avoid the quite steep snow on the slopes, we faced the difficulty of avoiding unstable snow bridges in the valley floor. We were happy to have our microspikes with us! Also parts of the summer path seemed to be washed away (around km 30.5) as seen from afar. Forded the river ca. 500m upstream of the place indicated on the track files (50m south of the now collapsed snow bridge of Lilian). Strong current, water up to mid of thighs. Additional fording of the (today roaring) creek coming down from Cerro Colorado (km28.5).

Day 5: Termas Azufre - Valle del Indio: Difficult fordings Trail washed away ca. 1 km after Termas. We went up 100 hm to bypass (possibly you could also bypass by descending ca. 50 hm). Edgy fording of Estero Volcán at ca. 35°28'56"S 70°46'13"W. Strong current, water up to lower waist on the far side for me (188cm) and up to upper waist for Johanna (163cm). I could give her a hold from a rock there! Then ca. 500m north 2 easier fordings back to the western side of the there split river. We did not stick to RR here (we did not divert from path at „trailhead“), as there was no possible crossing of the river visible and the path seems to be very difficult with large loose rocks and steep slopes). But possibly one could avoid the two fordings by RR and then climbing the rocks near the riverbed. There are no further fordings of Estero Volcán (km 24.6) as river is flowing on the eastern side of the valley this season. Loose volcanic ash on parts of the ascent to pass Portozuelo Las Cruzes. Snowfields easy (could be bypassed or safely crossed on the afternoon of the hot day). Laguna Las Animas partly ice-covered, we swam next to the ice :-) After the pass going down to Valle del Indio there is steep snowfields (former wedges) on most of the rim. Only 4-5 m, but even with microspikes it was too dangerous for us. You can bypass snow by walking some meters to the right (west) from the pass and walking/climbing down the rock pillar (solid).

Day 6: Easy walk down to Park entrance Parque Ingles

Camp sites: Valle Venado - Vegas Blanquillo (Descabezado basecamp) 2 nights - 500m north and 50 m uphill of Termas - valleyfloor Valle los Indios

Basecamp Descabezado - Right of way: No access given to hikers without a guide to cross the NP to Descabezado. We chose to hire a local arriero who accompanied us the first three days (Pancho 997635447), who got a permission to camp from the land owner in advance. Even though he is a local and has his own cows feeding up there, he had to discuss at the three „checkpoints“ at park entrance, as he had no written prove with him. The man living at the basecamp was not there in the end, selling some cows in the valley ! Nice swimming pool with tepid water 5m north of camping site, for drinking water go the long way round the swampy valley to a source on the other side ca. 20m west of the hut.

  • 2023-Dec-19 to 2024-Dec-25/ 5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR/ Michael and Kasia

Day 1 We had camped at Rocas Basalticas campground the night before. When we arrived at the gate they asked to see our permission to camp at Bolson. We didn't know that that was required and spent some time going back and forth with them. We finally went to Rocas Basalticas down the road and got them permission to camp at Bolson and they finally let us in. The walk up is pretty, all the snow is gone. All fords are easy. There were a few tábanos, but not many. CONAF did a reroute on a small section of the trail higher up. If you're watching GPS you go off the route, but just follow the sign to Bolson and it goes there. Campground has water and toilets.

Day 2 We hiked up through Valle del Indio. The route is a little tricky to find and we were moving slow so getting a lot of meander in the GPS marker. Looking for cairns was helpful. Two thirds of the way up there was still snow. By that time it was slushy. We had opted not to buy crampons at the last minute, so we made our way across kicking into the snow. The last 15 m to the pass was an almost straight up in snow. After the pass there was very little snow until the rise up to Laguna de las Ánimas. After that it was a complete snow field and the lake was frozen. We managed to kick out a pad for the tent and camped in the snow. Really beautiful sky that night.

Day 3 A long day with very little distance covered. Full sun, we both got sunburns despite sunscreen and covering. The snow was heavily pockmarked so it was hard to walk through. It took much longer than we anticipated. We ended up camping just below the pass. We were concerned about wind, so we tied the tent down really well. Fortunately it was a calm night.

Day 4 We continued on RR. There were several steep ups and downs, mostly on snow, as well as some intimidating traverses. The snow was getting to the point where we were a little uncertain if it would hold or not. We saw a single set of tracks, assume it was Lillian as it looks like she was a day or two ahead of us. 2 km before Termales Azufre we crossed a very steep section of snow. On the way down Kasia fell and hit some small rocks. She got some bruises and cuts, but nothing broken. I tried to slide with the backpack off and in front of me, but I fell too and the bag started tumbling down a steep sandy slope. I chased the bag, fell and rolled twice, and finally managed to jump and tackle the bag about 5 m before it went over the edge. It was a dangerous move, but I had not had a chance to take the GPS off the bag before it started sliding, and without it we couldn't get out and couldn't call for help. It was a long hike back up due to the incline and sand. We made it a little further and then ran into an area of trail wiped out by a landslide where it was impossible to get footing, even without the packs. Every step would cause more sand and rocks to slide down. It was about 18:30 at that point. We backtracked about 100 m to a gap between a snow wall and a large rock and set up a provisional shelter for the night.

Day 5 After waking up the next day, we tried to see if rest and fresh eyes would give us a better perspective. After discussing it we realized that there was really no way forward or back. We decided it only option was to use the SOS button on the Garmin. I pushed the button at 10:00, and by 16:00 there was a helicopter flying through the valley looking for us. I was surprised that it happened so quickly. They had to land in the valley, and since we could not get ourselves down, they sent a GOPE team of three guys up and the helicopter left for the night. It took them about an hour to get up to us, and then another two hours to do enough provisional maintenance on the trail for us to get down. We camped with them in the valley for the night and the helicopter came to get us in the morning.

  • 2023-Dec-25 to 2023-Dec-26/ 2 days / Hiking / NOBO / off RR / Jens, Nolwenn, Yannick

To enter the Hydroelectrico Los Cipreses you need a permit, which we did not get in advance. The guard at the gate said we could get it by emailing his boss. As it was Christmas Day, it was not possible to get the permit. The guard told us to take a route along the perimeter fence. We did that until we couldn't get further. We entered the compound through a hole in the fence and walked to the end of the road on the right side of the river. The bridge on the map is destroyed. The current was too strong to cross. Turned around and went back.

  • 2023-Dec-18 to 2023-Dec-21 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR+{06-D} / Lilian

It is the most amazing section from GPT01 to here so far!

I hiked RR, it is still covered by tons of snow, i recommend use ice axe and micro spikes if you want to hike from Portezuelo Las Cruces(pass) to El Estadio(pass), there is some really steep snow slope. (RR-TL-V)

Parque Ingles have a restaurant and a tiny store selling food, fruits, drinks and some 230g gas canisters.

I hopped the gate to the park at 6:30. No one was there.

There are 3 main pass for RR.

First pass, snow start at km14.3(2050m), not difficult for climbing up to pass[15.4/2257].

Laguna Las Animas(lake)[16.7/2286] is still frozen, very beautiful. I climbed up on some rocks at the north side of the lake, then mostly choose my own way to climb up to pass, because RR look steep.

Arrive the pass[19.4/2547], if you are not comfortable with snow, it is the LAST CHANCE to turn back.

Pass is flat and dry, you can camping here but windy.

There are no RR after the pass because covered by many snow, find a way go down to valley by snow slope, then walk all the way on snow to km20.2, you can see the trail but on the other side at km20.2, steep go down the snow slope then connect to RR.

Follow the trail about 5min, you will go into a big valley, trail and the whole valley covered by snow, but you can see a trail is at the far away other side of valley.

Go your own way to water[22.0/2279], i think it is lot ways to go down, but dont too close to cliff side, it is steep and easily to fall off.

After you arrive water[22.0/2279], then straight forward to km22.6.

A large flat area can fit lot of tents at the downhill side of km22.6.

After km22.6, the most dangerous part begins, from here to km26, lot of steep snow slope you need to cross, be careful, kick step and don't slide.

Km26 is another large flat area for camping, i camped here with nice sunrise.

Snow continues to km26.6, but easy way. The first pass's snow end.

About the second pass, snow start at ford[29.4/2190], strong flow and look like up to thighs, i cross it on snow bridge.

Stay on east side until km31.25, then stay down walking in the valley, easier than on the slope.

Although full of snow, but I think it is easy to go to the pass[33.8/2695] from here, so i dont mention the details. It is also easy to go down, most of them are gentle slope.

Snow end at km41.4, but mostly you can find some flat sandy spot start at km39.1.

Hot spring[45.6/1881] : completely dry. Some camping spots with rock wall nearby.

Water,camp[48.1/1837] : amazing oasis in desert! Clear and cold water, some shade, also lot of swallows flying in the sky catching some food for their kid.

Km49.1 - km49.8 : best view point of Volcán Descabezado Grande and Volcán Azul! If you want to camp with stunning views, bring water at oasis then climb up here, lot of sandy spots beside some rocks, enjoy you sleep with volcano.

Km53.2 - km54.7 : Laguna del Caracol(lake), maybe because too much snow melts? Trail underwater, you need to walk in the lake shore for a while.

Camp[56.3/2034] : oasis again! Crystal clear and cold water! It is possible to cut off from km56 to x[57.3/2073] directly, stream flowing slow and up to knee.

Third pass, steep climb up to km57.9, if you follow RR, then you will turn right and face some steep snow climbing up.

If you look up at left side, there is some foot steps straight climb up on a dry slope, which is no snow but looses sand.

I go for the left one to the pass, ok but steep and really tried.

Most of the snow is after pass, from pass[59.3/2518] to km61.5, first go to east side go around the snow, then you will find a trail, follow it a little then go your own way in snow valley.

I follow RR, mostly easy to go down until km61.5, a steep slope. I don't want to take the risk, so i crossed a snow bridge to a sandy slope at south side. Go down the slope and rejoin RR about km62.1.

Ford[63.4/1909] : i crossed the river before a huge rock, below knee at morning. The huge rock also provide some wind protection, i saw some camping trace beside it.

Volcán Los Hornitos : km65.3, {06-D}, just beside RR, no need CC, a trail leads you to the top, just climb up 70m! Go for it!

Lastly with no luck, i saw a car going down just 10min before i arrived the road, then no more cars, so i walk all the way to Los Cipreses.

Met a super friendly worker at Los Cipreses, he give me some cherry to eat and a ride to Los Alamos. A tiny shop there , if you are not picky, a little pricey but enough food resupply for 1 people six days. It have a sign "Almacen" at its front gate. You can ask locals where it is, i saw many workers go to there buy things.

2023-dec-3/ 4 days / hiking / SOBO / RR & 6 option 1 / Lukas en Tess

As this was our first section on the GPT and there still was a lot of snow in the mountains we decided to play it safe and folow option 1 from el Bolsón. It is less steep and less long above the snoweline about 2000m at the time. It went great but Tess burned her eyes so good sunglasses are definetly a must when hiking in the snow. From there we continued the RR at Laguna del Caracol we had to walk in the lake on the edge, no idea if that's normal but it was funny. The next and final big obstacle was the pass on k59 we decided to try and bypass it because it looked very steep with a lot of snow and ice and Tess with her burning eyes had a hard time looking at any snow at her feet. So we went up right next to it (north). Realy though rock scrambling but we managed. Going down the next valley was okay with the snow but crossing rivers covered in snow is tricky so try to avoid it. Walking into los Cipreces we were told we were not supposed to be there but still we had lunch in the cafeteria and they fixed a ride to bring us to the road, realy nice people there. From there we hitchhiked to el colorado where we stayed for two days to let Tess' eyes heal.

Season 2022/23

  • 2023-Mar-14 to 2023-Mar-19 / 5 days / Hiking / SOBO / Parque Ingles - Los Cipreses / Noemie

Parque Inglés - El Bolsón - Termas de Azufre - Blanquillo - Laguna Hornitos - Los Cipreses

First try on the GPT and amazing section to start. There were buses from Molina at 10am and 5pm going to Parque Ingles. You must arrive there before 1pm and buy an entrance for El Bolson (with camping) to enter the Park. It's also possible to camp in Parque Ingles (7.000 CLP/night). When I entered, CONAF asked me where I was going, if I had a GPS, and gave me some kind of permit to show in Los Cipreses. I wasn't asked to show it when I arrived there though. Landscapes and panoramas were extremely beautiful and very impressive. There was still water in all marked points and fords were easy to cross. Trail is easy to follow almost everywhere, except after Termas de Azufre (be careful to look for the right pools on the map and do not go up too much, I ended up in a place with almost boiling water). The whole section is full of beautiful sand dunes, so gaiters were extremely useful. In Blanquillo, you are supposed to get an authorization from the dueño to stay there, but it looks like it is not really enforced. I spent a day in Blanquillo to rest, drink maté and learn how to make sopaipillas with Umberto. I hitchhiked from Los Cipreses to San Clemente (one hostel, two supermarkets, decent to resupply) so I can't comment on the bus schedule. However, to come back to Los Cipreses/Termas del Médano, be aware that there is now only a bus leaving at 3pm from Talca, going up until La Mina. I took a small bus to Colorado on morning (every 45 min.) and hitchhiked easily back until Laguna del Maule for GPT 07.

  • 2023-Mar-21 to 2023-Mar-25 / 5 days / Hiking / NOBO / Vilches — Volcan – Parque Ingles / Iris, Alexis

Our last section on the GPT for this year! We started in Vilches Alto with the option 06-05 because we rented horses with the arriero Jose Lopez. The beginning is placed in the Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay, which requires a permit to go until the Volcan. The entrance fee is also 7k pp. We finished our first day at Camp, CONAF {06-05} [10.2/1158]. I believe we mostly followed the GPS track.

On the second day, we continued with the horses until Hot Spring {06} [45.6/1881] (Banos del Blanquillo) still following the track. We then were disappointed because the arriero left us here whereas our agreement (clearly stated by messages before the rent) was to climb the volcano with the horses (it turns to be not possible, too steep). Thankfully, we had an excess day of food so we could attempt the climb the next day. We also met Umberto, the guy staying in the refugio, who was extremely friendly. He told us to start the volcano climb early in the night to avoid heavy winds.

On Day 3, we started the ascent at 2am with our headlights. 6h30 later we were on the top, with the morning lights rewarding us and stunning landscape. The ascent was extremely tiresome (sand material), as always with volcanos, and it was very cold but the crater and the views were very worth it. After a breakfast at the top, the descent, mostly running, took us about 2h. We rested for the rest of day at Banos del Blanquillo and even got a sopapilla making class with Umberto.

On Day 4, we followed the RR in the beautiful Descabezado landscape. Expect no shade but stunning dunes of white sand. There is plenty of water during the day because you will cross at least 2 rivers that were not dry this late in the season. The trail is easy to follow (because that is the only one) and is also part of the Circuit of the Condores. However, after Ford {06} [29.4/2190], you have about a dozen of options and the navigation until Hot Spring {06} [27.4/1986] (Hot Sping del Azufre) is more challenging. We decided to ignore the GPS and follow our instinct - just aim for the fumerolles. There you can enjoy a hot bath in one of the three hot natural pools (along some weird soft alguees).

On Day 5, we simply followed the RR until Parque Ingles. The trail is well marked until the end, you just have to enjoy multiple highlights in the landscape. Of note, when reaching El Bolsón, the CONAF ranger forbid us to bath in the pools because it was too late (3PM) and told us to leave the park before 5:30. He was not friendly and also checked the entrance tickets of Livan Ray. We got extremely lucky and caught a bus leaving Parque Ingles when we reached it (it leaves at 5:00).

This hike concludes our GPT adventure. We loved to start it riding horses to feel a bit more like the trails main user. The final day hiking and the volcano ascent were astonishing, truly one of (or even the) best section of our GPT.

  • 2023-Feb-03 to 2023-Feb-08 / 6 days/ Hiking / SOBO / RR + Descabezado / Louis, Rémi & Noé

Our first trip on the GPT, plenty of water, we didnt carry more than 1.5L each. Here is our trip :

Day 1 - Laguna Las Animas - 18km - +1200m/-100m We entered the parc illegally at 7:30 in the morning as some others hikers have done reading the wiki. We did this because the parc was full for the next 3 days. I can only advise you to book in advance on internet (conaf). We slept at a camping in front of the entrance for 7k CLP per person. Plenty of buses goes up there from Molina in 2 hours. At least a dozen. Same for going back. If you buy your ticket online : if you sleep at El Bolson, you can enter the park until 3pm, if you go further with only the El Bolson ticket, you can entered until 11am only! So, we hiked until the Laguna las Animas, a rather long day for the first one. The camp on the beach was quite windy too.

Day 2 - Termas de Azufre - 11km - +400m/-700m A short day, nice to enjoy the hot springs in the afternoon. The pass in the morning was very windy too.

Day 3 - Refugio El Blanquillo - 20km - +800m/-900m A long but beautiful day. Leave early the camp to avoid hot temperatures while ascending the pass. Well welcomed by the arrierio Umberto ! Very kind.

Day 4 - Volcan Descabezado Grande - 16km - +2000m/-2000m We did the ascent without our bags, we went back to our camp in the night. It's long and hard. According to Umberto, 12h are needed in total, we did in 10h. Same, Leave early to avoid hot temperatures.

Day 5 - Laguna los Hornitos - 20km - +900m/-900m Another nice day, passing next to Laguna Caracol. The descent from the pass is a bit annoying if you didnt follow the track (as we did). So, advice : follow the RR and go down on your right. The Laguna is very dry, just enough to have a bath. Hard to maintain the pitch of the tent in the dry dirt.

Day 6 - Los Cipreses - 15km - +100m/-1000m Last short day to end this beautiful section. The gravel road is a bit boring but passing pickup are proposing you to get you down to the main road. Here, only one bus at 7am. And a little shop selling ice cream, chips and drinks. We hitchiked to El Colorado where plenty of buses are going down to Talca for 2 000 CLP (+ 400 CLP per bag)

  • 2023-Jan-24 to 2023-Jan-30/ 7 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR + Descabezado / Martial

First trip 6 days on GPT being a wonderfully intense experience ! Lunar landscapes, silent and remote, few but great people. No particular difficulty. Started park ingles with a mandatory 7000peso night at quiet camping near the river and bought ticket for Bolsón overnight 8$. Finally did not stay at Bolson a half day walk from entrance and camped in Laguna de las Animas instead. Great spot for Condors watching. After that follow Will’s advice and put on your mandatory gaiters till the end of the section ! + Walking on sand can be tough for the ankle. Don’t resist and don’t do too much !! Learned it the painfull way.. Trail visible but don’t get confused at termas Azufres especially if you try the (very) hot pools ! RR way is up the valley. Camp with water possible before the pass. The way down called « la Calle » is beautifull sandy dune remote desert. Exceptional. Aimed for Blanquillo refugio aka best basecamp for Descabezado intent. Meet Umberto the arriero at the hut and ask him where the termal pool and the drinking water are. He may be offended if you don’t show up and is a nice generous guy ! Also had a Chilean horse riding group intended the Descabezado so were a nice bunch by the camp fire. As weather window was fine, I decided to try a high camp in order to preserve weak foot from a very long ascent (10h). Took plenty of water as they are only glaciar dirty patches up there and aimed for Descabezado to Cerra Azul osm trail just as Nat and Tomas did (so i could have a chance to summit both also). Finally chose not to cross the nasty glaciar but found a very well sheltered highcamp here (-35.60569, -70.76147). Incredible sunset ! Not advisable in case of rain coming (a storm was growing in Argentina so stayed prepared for an emergency descent). Next day summited Descabezado at 11AM with no wind ideal conditions. Dive your front foot flat in sand just like snow climb when it gets to steep ! Nice ski descent sensations straight to the termas for a well deserved rest at the termas ! Also met Carlos a local climbing half way up so we would share joy later at the camp :). Exit through RR is also nice but regreted haven’t camped here (-35.67102, -70.83649) for there was some playfull trouts to catch with my survival fishing kit ! Beautiful view from the pass to sandyland and then landscape changes and recommend OH variant C descending (less overgrown). Trail not so visible till laguna los hornos witch i climbed volcano to enjoy the crater caldera. After that descent to los Cipreses is kind of boring and hot so was definitely happy to find a camping by the bridge after the gate with lovely Victorina and her family here (-35.81524, -70.83224). They have been incredibly carring, fed me and brought me to the termas caves (also worth it) in El Medano !

  • 2023-Jan-16 to 2023-Jan-25 / 10 days / Hiking / NOBO / Descabezado Circuit variant: OH 06-02 & 06-03 Laguna Maule to Vilches w/ volcans / Natalie & Tomáš

An extremely long description so my apologies but hopefully it will help someone. We Started in Laguna del Maule and ended in Vilches with inclusion of Descabezado, Azul, Descabezado Chico and Colorado.

All fords super easy or jump-able. Only times water was scarce was Descabezado and Azul (technically there is melt water from glaciers at Azul), the afternoon around Descanezado Chico and also water was scarce around the Laguna des acquas caliente because I would not trust drinking that water (some springs are cold water though). Weather turned bad only once while we were climbing Azul, the change happened rapidly and we went from blue skies to total white out (~10m or less visibility) within an hour. Other than that weather was amazing, a little cold at night and a little warm in the day.

Happy we started in Laguna del Maule and finished in Vilches. This saved elevation gain and let us decide whether or not we had enough food in the end to climb Descabezado, Azul, chico and for Tomáš Colorado.

Day1. Starting in Talca, due to a certain someone (me) I accidentally sent Tomáš and I too Molina on a bus instead of "la mina" so our day was very messed up but we still managed to take a bus to Colorado and hitchhike to the start of this route. Buses from Talca to la Mina go at; 7:00am, 1:00pm (only to la Suiza), 3:00pm and 7:00pm. We took a bus to Colorado due to time and hitched the rest of the way. The last hitch was in a snowplow truck and he dropped us off miraculously at the start of the trail and before any customs or checks.

OH-TL-V {06-02} (109.1). Straight away the trail is hard to see, do not take the road-looking trail on the side of the mountain because it ends, stick to the gps. However soon we were walking on the correct route through the sand and down to a creek with fun boulders. Easy to follow. After this first creek we followed option OH-CC-A (06-02) {98} For only -5km until making camp in-between a river and and canal with flowing water. Bogs in this area slowed us down a lot.

Day2. OH- {06-02} -[ (93) & (86) ] This day seemed long, we crossed two passes, one small (-35.94909, -70.45347) and one much larger (-35.88855, -70.46776). I liked the entire area south of the second pass, many beautiful camp spots, water was available almost to the top of the pass and there is also a nice waterfall/swimming pool located roughly around (-35.90452, -70.45218). Trail to first pass was easy but trail between first and second was much more cross country, there are many animal tracks, I followed the gps and Tomáš followed a trail closer to the river and we both ended up at the same spot... After the second pass, the GPX goes cross-country right away, but one can follow a trail that goes left and later reconnects with GPx.

After the second pass there is a small plateau and then it follows down a creek with water until you must cross an east hill and go towards your first mountain puesto to the east (noone home). There is only a little bit of water here, better water at the creek you came from and or a few creeks ahead.

From the puesto (-35.86707, -70.47589) there is a good trail that trvaerses the slope ahead. We should have camped but we continued. There were a few nice creeks that were passed along the way. We were forced to make a "make-shift" camp before hitting a much nicer plateau because it was dark and I was not having a good day 😅. It is about 6 km between the puesto and the plateau.

Day 3 OH {06-02} [78.6] + [75.7] + [63.6] Easy day, only one small pass. There is an ex-carabiniero puesto at (-35.84277, -70.40285) and a highlight was two rivers, one at (-35.76317, -70.42051) and one river at (-35.74734, -70.45623). The GPX is marked as trail a bit further than the actual trail goes (the trail continues to a puesto down-river). You need to go down a ridge and ford the river, there were some footsteps that can be followed. We walked near {06-02E} along a river filled with sand and not great for drinking but there is a creek that starts/ends here (-35.72759, -70.44125). We camped near this way point in the sand but it got windy at night, we wished we camped a bit further from the river in the little hills where it was considerably less windy.

Day4 OH {06-02} [59.6] + [29.1] + {06-02D}

This day we passed a large pass (-35.65200, -70.43356) via {06-02D}. This option was more direct and involved a very short and easy scramble onto a windy plateau. Surprisingly lots of water up towards the pass, last one being (-35.66343, -70.42666) , however the water available had a lot of sand in it, fyi. From camp we followed a cow trail until a lake like feature (-35.70057, -70.42733) and then went cross country. I hope my cairns marking the turn for {06-02D} survive.

After the pass the true Descabezado environment begins. We both made note of how terrible it would be to be on this plateau in bad weather, very open and CC. Next water source would be a couple of creeks here (-35.61215, -70.42156). From a break at this creek we ended up going straight down the creek bed. Kind of exhausting mentally and would not be possible in early season due to water levels but it shot us out directly in line for making a green camp here (-35.56164, -70.44009).

Day 05 OH {06-02} [29.1] + [20] Lagunas de aquas calientes day. An easy day with a lot of time spent at Aquas Caliente, true to the name. Trail from camp was easy to follow until (-35.53519, -70.46551) and then it went CC to the Laguna. If shelter is needed in this open landscape we found a rock shelter here (-35.51276, -70.51035). The creek feeding the Laguna was fabulously warm in places - either at the source of the creek or at a spring on the right side about 100m upriver. Tomáš found the proper source of the spring here (-35.50395, -70.52347). It is easy to get sunburn why bathing mid-day though. There are some camping spots near the creek. After this Laguna there is a nasty and windy sand stretch until a creek located here (-35.48980, -70.57667). On this stretch I chose not to follow the sand but detoured on more solid ground to the east (-35.48839, -70.56200) and was glad I did. Later on we found snow melt here (-35.48544, -70.59940) and loaded all the water we would need for night/morning and exploring Descabozado Chico the next day.

Day 06 OH {06-02} [20] + {06-02C Chico} + [4.5] Descabozado Chico + Vulcan Colorado (Tomáš)

Went up and around the crater of Descabozado Chico in the morning which I highly recommend. The crater is easy to walk around and gives an amazing 360 experience. The climb up is tedious but non-dangerous scree that makes for a super fast decent. Make sure you have enough water because water is scarce there. I saw a waterfall on the NE side the lake but did not go to it, Tomáš got water somewhere off trail around here (-35.51226, -70.65626) and I drank out of the next lake -35.52036, -70.65873 (questionable, but nothing happened to me). From the lake the next pass begins and I stupidly made Tomáš and I carry 5L of water up it because I did not think there would be water on the south side (both of us overlooking the river indicated on the map)...I was wrong, no water high up but lots of water down low. For the pass we opted not to follow the route because it was thick steep sand so we instead climbed a more solid ridge here (-35.52506, -70.66854). Tomáš went to continue up Vulcan Colorado and I boringly traversed to the normal pass and enjoyed a very fun sand ski down the south side. The Vulcan is a steep but not technical hike up, the crater can be walked around with a steep but fun descent on the other side in SW direction. This pass would be very tiresome climbing up due to sand. If you are coming from the opposite direction and do not trust the lagoon water then you should aim for (-35.51226, -70.65626) or bring water.

Everything this day was CC. I found it to be the hardest day navigation-wise but still not troublesome. We finished the day in a nice valley before the next days climb here (-35.55427, -70.70793). The water around this area is a bit sandy but better further up.

Day 07 Last pass and New route possibly

From camp a trail existed to the pass at -35.55228, -70.73791. There was a little bit of snow at the top but since there were already steps made, it was zero problem. Lots of water on the SE of this pass but only a trickle of water on the NW side at -35.54575, -70.75672. This water trickle point is where we left the trail to make a short cut to Descabezado. To our surprise our route worked and in 4hrs we were making a camp at 2630m next to the approach trail to Descabezado, therefore saving a lot of time, distance and elevation. In our route there was only one difficulty and that was a deep gorge and creek "jump" at -35.57904, -70.77929. Personally I would not recommend this in early season because the consequence of falling in the river might take you down a waterfall and the traverse may otherwise be nasty if there are still snowfields around altitude 2700m. The gorge is fed by the glacier in the crater of Descabezado so in the morning it should be better but the water is very dirty.

I drew the route on my photos of the pass if anyone wants them. Otherwise here is my description of our route.

From the small trickle creek at -35.54575, -70.75672 head SW up the creek bed in the direction of this easy pass ***-35.55513, -70.76977. Nearby spots would work too except for the pass directly above the creek bed, the other side of that one had snow and rocks. After this pass I believe it is easiest to just go straight down and up like a half pipe rather than trying to traverse and keep elevation, we aimed for a middle looking plateau on the other side, this middle plateau took us to the proper crossing of the gorge here, -35.57923, -70.77864 (más o menos). We jumped the gorge and climbed easily up the other side although the other side looks like a scramble it was actually just walking. We travesed this altitude for a little longer (although I would suggest easier walking a little lower) until we made camp in a ravine very close to the Descabezado approach route. Our camp even had a small amount of flowong snow melt so it was heaven in my mind! (Camp with water; -35.59280, -70.78723).

Day 8 Descabezado & Azul.

This is turning into a novel so I will keep this short. We left our tent in place and set off early to do Descabezado and Azul as a day trip. Descabezado was straightforward, it seems the trail will change slightly every year depending on who makes the tracks (neither the route in oSM or GPT seem to follow the actual trail from about 2600 to 3300). If wanting to make the true summit it looks like you have to go down into the crater, cross the glacier and approach it from the other side. Coming down Descabezado was very fast but we made a huge mistake and left the GPT trail to follow the other osm route that heads east then west called "Descabezado Grande - Quizapu - cerro Azul".

This route should be avoided for many reasons apart from the fact that the other route is easier despite elevation gain (we took the other route back). This osm route took us here -35.61301, -70.75604 which was actually a glacier covered in sand with a small hanging glacier above causing a lot of rockfall, it was a very ugly place and we carefully got out of there and made or way to the proper route to Azul. Despite loosing almost 2hours on an already tight day we continued (although I wasted an extra 30min due to making up my mind🙄). Once again on the way up to Azul we did not follow the normal way but went to the east side of the crater of Azul where the bad osm route is. There were a foot print here and there but it was CC. The crater was amazing but too windy to enjoy much, we saw a few fumaroles. We continued CC to the base of Azul, a tiny bit of snow (or glacier remnants?) but posed no difficulties. The base of Azul is beautiful with melt water if needed. We followed the ridge to Azul, it was more involved than Descabezado but no more than a low 3rd class (it is a bit exposed and steep but almost exclusively hiking). There is a interesting summit tower on Azul but because of the wind and time we had no desire to stretch our limits. Weather moved in fast and before we were off the ridge of Azul we were completely covered in a white out, maybe maximum 10m of visibility. Navigation was incredibly hard but we took our chances and took the other ("valle") OSM route down and luckily it was a very easy route and we were down below the clouds and able to see again. The rest of the night was CC back to our camp ~1030pm. It as a good day.

Day 9.

From our camp in the ravine we headed CC and then onto the trail that lead to the puesto at basecamp Blancquillo and from then on we were on a good trail. While walking down we opted to stay in sandals and just walk in the river, it was refreshing. We didn't have clean water until the valley bottom at the CONAF camp (valley El venado) where there was also lots of pear trees and yellow plum-like trees. Many people there (first people seen). We made camp at the river before the pass (Mirador del valle del venado) but the walk from the CONAF camp until then was slower than expected because it was along a river bed with confusing tracks.

Day 10.

Good trail up and down from Mirador del valle del venado with lots of water and trees for shade. Took us almost half the time we thought it would take. Note that you cannot actually camp at campsites/restong areas on this trail after the Mirador. The CONAF guards asked us where we were coming from and when we said Laguna del Maule he just sounded impressed and let us go on our way. There was a decent restaurant with empanadas, beer ext near the bus stop . There was a posted schedule of the bus but it clearly did not follow this schedule so if you are there just ask the many locals around what time the bus comes, we caught the 1230 bus.

Great trip, beautiful views and details and just the right amount of challenge.

  • 2023-Jan-20 to 2023-Jan-23 / 3.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Ondrej

I got to Parque Inglés from Santiago de Chile by taking a train to Curico (advice: if you want to travel by train, buy a ticket online at least 2 days in advance as it books out quickly). From Curico I took a blue collectivo to Molina and then a bus to Parque Ingles.

At the park entrance I was turned away by a CONAF officer because I bought a “day trip” ticket (El bolson - para día) and not the one with overnight camping. For the ticket I bought they allow entry only by 11:00am. I did not explain that I will continue beyond El Bolson - maybe I should have done that but did not want to get myself into more unnecessary discussions. CONAF said they cannot change my ticket to the “camping” type and when I tried to book the other one, it was booked out for the next two days, so the advice is book early and the right ticket type (el bolson - camping)!

I ended up camping at the Rocas Basilicas for the night.

On the first hike day hopped the gate to the park at 7:00. No one was there so no issues. I hiked to Thermas de Azufre. It was a very long day. There is no shade at all after El Bolson. I made a provisional shade using my tent’s footprint during lunchbreaks. Once I arrived to the Azufre hotsprings, a few arrieros were there. I decided to camp further up the river.

On the second day I hiked to Refugio Blanquillo, met a settler who resides there for three months each year (if I understood correctly). The scenery before the refugio was otherwoŕldy and beautiful. Gaiters, good hat, sunscreen and sunglasses were my most loved pieces of gear. I camped at the first “camp” waypoint after Refugio Blanquillo. Amazing place to camp (but no grass), with a good stream and even some small shade thanks to the bushes.

My third day was quite straightforward, I made it almost to Los Cipresses but decided to camp close to the last “water” checkpoint, shortly before the gate with the guard. It was alright but I would recommend walking all the way to the shop and camp there for the night.

On the fourth day I walked through the gate with the security guard. I also met a number of the power station workers and all were friendly. We waved at each other. The guard at the gate was nice, took my passport number and name. Once at the shop I found it was closed (9am). I needed to get to El Medano to join GPT07 and decided to continue hiking through Los Alamos. It might have been to early (10am) as also the almacén in Los Alamos was closed. The road after Los Almacén was uneventful and a bit sketchy at places, so I forded the river at the “bridge” waypoint after Los Alamos to get to the main road and hitchike to El Medáno. Got a ride in approx 20 min. El Medáno is a great base - the thermals are nice and there is an electricity socket next to the toilets. They have shade for the tent too. There is also a restaurant with filling foods and a small shop.

Overall a fantstic section but I wasn’t expecting the heat to be that oppresive!

  • 2022-Dec-31 to 2023-Jan-3 / 5 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR / David and Erika

Get to TH Parque ingle before 1:00 pm, otherwise they close it for entrance. We did get internet and got the correct CONAF ticket -the one heading to El Bolsón. Once you get out of the park and into the Cuesta Las Anima, the wild parts begin. Hope you got your dirty girl gaiters; cause you’re going to need them. Sand city. Gaiters worked great. Remote and desolately beautiful. Water up at the end of Laguna del Caracol, at the river that comes out of the ground, you have a dry climb ahead. Walk out was straightforward. Got a lift from ENEL employee.

  • 2022-Dec-28 to 2022-Dec-29 / 2 days/ Hiking / SOBO / RR / Tomáš

I connected in Thermas Azufre from GPT 05. I recommend it as a camping spot. I have seen the tracks of people staying on the western side of the valley but I think it is better to ford, there is anoce trail there on the eastern side. There is a place with and island where I needed to remove my shoes just for about three meters (the stream was not strong enough for me to keep the shoes on).

I took a detour to the lake at the pass - nice. No snow anymore. Reached the Refugio Blanquillo (which is a puesto, an arriero had two dogs and a thousand shep there), met a group of tourists on horses and two Chilean hikers there, so crowded all of a sudden. The pool there is indeed lukewarm. The water from the stream is said not to be good - I filtered it (for the first time on GPT) and was fine. But if not climbing the volcano, I would recommend to camp 2 km further at the next water source. I no longer carry water with me and just drink a lot when I find a source, there is a lot of them, even in the semidesert (the sand is actually white pumice from the volcanoes). It is quite dusty, my hands got dry and that normally does not happen to me. I agree with the recommendation to apply sunscreen at least three times a day!

The second day I walked all the way to the main road. Stthe pass, there is still a bit of snow but white manageable. Going down from the lake, there is no water until around half or one third of the minor road in the valley, beware. Walking-wise, this was the easiest section on GPT for me. At the mainroad, the camping at the shop after the bridge was closed. I hitched somebody in he truck who knew the owners, called them and they came to open it for me. 5000 pesos but I gave the lady 10000 as she had to drive here to open the aging for me. There is electricity and cold shower and shadow. Almost nothing at the shop. The bus is said to leave at seven. I slept and now will try hitchhiking.

  • 2022-Dec-20 to 2022-Dec-24 / 5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Will

Amazing trail! It's quite desolate but the landscape varies enough to always keep things interesting. Trudging up the sandy hills could be demoralizing, but getting to run down the other side more than made up for it. Water was still plentiful though not much snow was left, I only had to cross a few small patches. Thankfully heat wasn't a problem at all for me, I even felt cold a few times with the altitude and wind.

Caught the 5pm bus from Molina to Radal for 3000 pesos, then a van came by a few minutes later to take us to parque inglés for another 3000. Was nice to meet a bunch of Chilean hikers, who were all going to El Bolson and back. We camped at the Rocas Basílicas campsite right at parque inglés, 7000 pesos next to a beautiful river.

I had phone signal at parque inglés, so I bought the pass online for 8 USD. There was no one at the Conaf office at 7 30 the next morning, so I just hopped the gate and walked through.

I ran into a few arrieros relaxing at the Azufre hot springs, the only people I saw along the trail. They were friendly but it was tough to understand their heavy Chilean Spanish. They said I could camp with them but there wasn't a ton of room so I walked on.

There were some geysers shooting up from the muddy riverbank near the gpx track so I took a wider route around. An arriero also told me to take a trail higher up along the dunes so I followed that to the ford. The ford looked tough so I kept walking 2ish km along the other side until I could easily hop across. But it was slow going, probably not worth it.

I ended up having to camp on a random sand dune. I had some trouble getting my tent to stay up tied to rocks, since I couldn't get stakes in. I'd definitely recommend using tieouts you can really secure to rocks, or even a freestanding tent.

The rest of the hike went smoothly. I easily made it to los cipreses in three days of hiking from parque inglés. The guard was super friendly, inviting me in and giving me a bunch of water. I camped across the street from the shop near the bus stop, ask at the shop if you want to camp there. The guy running the camping was also super nice, he messaged the bus driver and told me it would be at 9 or 9 30 the next morning, because it was a Saturday (it was also Christmas eve). The bus ended up showing up at 9 45, and costed 3200 pesos to Talca.

The side trip up Volcan Los Hornitos was very worth it, there's a fairly gradual trail up and you can just sprint straight down. I didn't even need to bring any water (just some gummy bears).

I got by without gaiters, but bring them if you can. I should have used more sunscreen, the reflection off the sand is strong.

  • 2022-Dec-17 to 2022-Dec-20 / 2.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Martin & Helena

Joining section 6 directly from the previous one with a little challenging connection trail (see our comment from section 5), we continued to the Hot Spring del Azufre. On the way there is one steep traverse. We used hot spring to cook our rice which really saved us as we run out of gas. The landscape on the whole section is amazing, we really enjoyed it! Ascent to the pass is nice and gradual, hiking in the sand is a little slower, but the opposite when going down. We camped at the El Estadio, almost no wind that day, great place to sleep . In the morning we continued on a nice and easy trail, great views around the volcanos… short break by the laguna thats great for swimming. We camped a little before the camp marked in the gps, there is one place, probably used by arrieros, with a fireplace and a few rocks around it. Being out of the gas we set a fire using wood that was already in there and some others we gather during the day. The view to the volcanos must be one of the best we have seen here so far! The next day we continued to the last Hornitos pass and through the valley, again really nice hiking on a clear trail. Last few kms on the road and since we missed the only bus to Talca that is leaving early in the morning (7:00) and did not have luck with hitchhiking, we stayed in a camp right next to the road. Its just a few meters before it, in the same direction we came from. On the left side is a house with some old advertisment sign (coca-cola or similir) on its fence, and the lady there has a small shop. The camp is on the other side - cold shower, toilets, electricity and access to the river, all for 5000 for 2 people. We even got sandwiches for dinner as there was no other place around to eat. Overall, when combining both sections we recommend to plan carefully, but its definitely worth the effort, especially this section 6.

Contact: @martin_hanzelka @helenneka

  • 2022-Dec-14 to 2022-Dec-16 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Anna&Christopher

The section is pretty tough, but beautiful with a quite unique landscape. We definetly would do it again.

Recomendations: bring lots of suncreme, a good hat, gaiters.

How to get there: We took a bus from Santiago (terminal at the metro station Universidad de Santiago) to Curico. Across the street from the bus terminal in Curico leaves a blue bus to Molina for 1k CLP. From Molina we hitchhiked to Parque Inglés. You have to be there before 3 pm to be allowed to hike up to El Bolson. To camp they charge 8k CLP p.p and the park entry is also 8k CLP p.p.

The first day we started early from El Bolson. From midday on it was super tough due to the white sand which makes walking really tiring and reflects the sun which makes it super hot without shade. The next day was pretty similar. The whole section there was plenty of water. There was no much snow left at the passes, so we had no trouble without spikes. On the last day, after arriving to the dirtroad (8 km from los Cipreses), we got offered a ride after a while and the guy brought us directly to El Médano. The shop there has pasta, rice, bread, tomato salsa, mayo, chips, biscuits/chocolate and suncreme (but quite pricey). In El Médano we camped for 6k CLP p.p.

  • 2022-Dec-03 to 2022-Dec-06 / 3.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Véronica

Route: Parque Inglés - Laguna Ánimas - Termas del Azufre - Termas del Blanquillo - Laguna del Caracol - Laguna de los Hornos - Los Cipreses

A beautiful, remote section of true mountain wilderness. It took me 4 days, but only 2 hours hiking the dirt road to Los Cipreses on the last day (so very doable in 3 days). The only people I saw were a couple of arrieros at Termas del Blanquillo who told me they hadn't had a winter as snowy as this one in over 10 years. I was glad to have my microspikes for the vast snow fields near/on the passes. A couple places would have felt quite unsafe without them.

Notable tidbits:

Took a bus from Molina at 5pm (on a Friday) to El Radal, then hitchhiked to Parque Inglés. I camped there the first night for 7000 pesos. Pricey, but at least I had a beautiful and secluded spot by Rio Claro.

The stretch between Las Ánimas Pass and Termas de Azufre had some sketchy traverses across disintegrating scree slopes that were downright nerve-wracking. I suppose if you go down to Laguna Mondaca, then back up to the Termas, you may not encounter this hazard. But I did get to observe a condor soar above my head on thermals for an hour as he surveilled his domain, that was super cool.

For the first ford after Termas de Azufre, I crossed further upstream than indicated on the GPS track (see Carlos's comment below). It looked a lot safer there than downstream. There's continuous snow for about 3 km going over the pass after Thermas de Azufre, best to cross in the morning to avoid postholing when the snow gets too soft.

Los Hornitos pass has a large, very steep lip of snow (leftover cornice) on its south side. It's possible to go around it by heading north for 50-100 meters and then making your way down on the volcanic sand.

The spring between Termas del Blanquillo and Laguna del Caracol is a beautiful little desert oasis in an orherwise hot and dry stretch. It was a splendid spot to camp.

There is LOTS of water. Laguna del Caracol and Laguna de los Hornos are both full of clear, refreshing water. A lot of the "water" GPS waypoints are actually fords this time of year (easy ones), and there's a lot of other water sources not listed on the tracks. But the section is very exposed, no shade, and very hot in the midday sun unless a breeze is blowing.

No issues with the guards at Los Cipreses, they were friendly and let me pass no problem. From the first bus stop on the road, I hitched easily to Talca to resupply.

Season 2021/22

  • 2022-Feb-20 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Molly

Amazing section! I found the landscape to be very varied despite the lack of vegetation - and even with many pretty flowers near the streams. I personally found it to be a great ending to my GPT journey, a big contrast to the landscapes further south. Would make for a tough start though. Plenty of water. Met one hiker doing Circuito el Cóndor and three Chilean tourists on horseback. No arrieros, but plenty of cows and horses. The weather was cold and windy, sometimes veritable sandstorms which meant I almost couldn't open my eyes - maybe sunglasses could have helped. I wore my long pants over my boots instead of gaiters - should have listened to the advice, so much sand!

Signs on the way to parque inglés say that you can only buy tickets online - don't know how strict they are, but no cell phone coverage at parque inglés and long before in case they insist. You have to be there before 15 to be let through to El Bolsón. Easy 11 km to El Bolsón through a young forest. No water at the first "ford" waypoint. Campground has toilets and showers, it's the only place you're allowed to camp until after Valle del Indio. Nice enough place next to the impressive Colmillo del Diablo. In hot weather it might be nice to camp here to take the long ascent in the morning. Laguna de las Animas would be a good campsite plus a nice place to swim. The first "water" waypoint afterwards is also great for camping - there is a nice little meadow. Las Animas pass is gorgeous! After Termas Azufre there are many confusing paths. They mostly seem to lead to the same place, but keep an eye on the GPS. When descending from the 2700 m pass towards Termas Blanquillo, you don't have to cross the stream to your right even though many paths do it. As noted by others, the hot springs Baños del Blanquillo are luke warm - but fine if you want to wash yourself a little and the stream is too cold. The refuge is locked. The next camp waypoint is in a cute valley with many streams, bushes and flowers. No grass, though. Laguna Caracol is beautiful as well, but very bare, surrounded by sand. I really liked the campsite afterwards, with views of both Volcán Descabezado and Cerro Azul. From there, a small CC section to the ascent where the path picks up again towards the Hornitos pass. Even more gorgeous with great and very different views to each site. Volcán Hornitos and the other little craters look really funny and special. Some hail was coming in, though, so I quickly slided down to the next camp waypoint, again a nice flat meadow. No water on the ascent. The first streams at the top of the pass were dry, but the path crosses a stream in 2100 m altitude. If you fill up at the water waypoint before the pass I agree you wouldn't have to carry extra water, the time between these two water points is around 2-3 hours. I climbed to the rim of Volcán Hornitos, there's nothing in there, but if you walk to the highest point the view is nice enough. It took me 20 minutes in total, and it was about worth that. The gravel road is nice the first kilometres, but then it gets pretty boring. The security guard at the end was very nice and welcoming. I camped at the shop just before the road - nice place by the river, 3000 per person with toilets and a cold shower, or 50,000 for a cabaña. From there I hitched the 3 km down the road to Restaurant Cordillera, nice enough, great with a beer, meat and fries. Bus left from the bus shed at 7:20 next morning - think it depends whether it goes to El Médano or not

  • 2022-Jan-20 to 2022-Jan-25 / 6 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Carlos

Route: Parque Inglés - El Bolsón (Colmillo del Diablo summit) - Termas del Azufre - Termas del Blanquillo - Laguna Caracol - First bus stop on CH115 road.

I hiked this route only a couple of days after Verónica & Jo. Not much to add except:

First day just hiked to El Bolsón (easy 4 hours), pitched my tent on the gorgeous campsite, left the heavy load and climbed the imposing "Colmillo del Diablo" (easy hike on a trail that goes around the back of the mountain).

From Termas del Azufre climbing to the pass I followed a faint track on the steep loose slope instead of crossing at the first river ford. After a few hundred meters the track takes you to a flat wide rocky area (just before the slope becomes impossibly steep), where you can very easily ford the river (I didn't even get my feet wet).

Plenty of buses Molina - Parque Inglés. But only one bus from el Médano - Los Cipreses to Talca, at around 7 am, which returns at 15:00. Only week days. Basic camping just in front of Los Cipreses shop (only ice cream, drinks, choco bars, biscuits): $4.000 pp.

  • 2022-Jan-10 to 2022-Jan-15 / 6 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Veronika & Jo

Route: Parque Inglès -> Laguna de las Animas -> Termas de Azufre -> Descabezado base camp -> Laguna del Caracol -> Laguna Hornitos -> First bus stop on 115-CH

The five nights we just spent in a tent was the longest stretch we have ever gone without a decent bed on a hike. We skipped Radal, Laguna Mondaca and Termas de Medano, but still hiked in 6 days what others did in 3-4. We're basically easing into the GPT, gaining some fitness and experience before taking on the harder challenges.

As others have said: the views are otherworldly and stunning. We felt like Touaregs traveling from oasis to oasis in the Saharan desert. Except that there actually are plenty of springs and little rivers flowing in most valleys.

Useful tidbits:

- There really is no shade after El Bolsòn. Either you make your own (e.g., adapting your tent to not trap heat) or you dress like a Touareg (loose clothing fully blocking the sun). For us, this was the hardest to deal with. We got up early but often stopped hiking at 13:00, enjoying the lakes or even just sitting down doing nothing that takes energy.

- High-heeled boots and long trousers work well to keep the sand out.

- Confirming Shn0rhelez: going up from Termas de Azufre until the second ford indeed passes plenty of water, no need to carry any.

- Laguna Hornitos is drying up and hence less beautiful than the other lakes. Maybe it's better to camp at the start of the Hornitos plateau (SOBO, so north entry) as the area is flat and there is reasonably clean running water there.

- There is no bus to Talca from Los Cipreses on saturdays or sundays. We asked at the shop and got a ride to Colorado from the brother-in-law of the shopkeeper for 15000 CLP.

- In supermarkets, you can buy alcohol desnaturalizado cheaply in the nail polish section, or alternatively, use alcohol de quemar from the combustibles section.

  • 2021-Dec-26 to 2022-Jan-04 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR /

From Parque Inglés to the entrance of Reserva Achibueno Buy your ticket online for “El Bolsón” on the CONAF website and get to the trailhead before 3pm 4hrs hike to El Bolsón, a great place with waterfall, great views, nice camping spots, hikers TO CHECK: Bus from Molina to Parque Ingles leaves at 9 am (not positive) on week-ends and holidays Easy hitch from Radal to Parque Ingles coz lots of campers going there on week-ends Be careful a ranger told me the park closes on Mondays It took me around 4 days from Parque Siete Tazas Park entrance to the road Q115 (Central Cipreses) From Road 115 I hitched to a village by Colbún lake where I resupplied : good supermarkets (a little on the expensive side), food truck , pastry shop I didn't like Altos de Lircay NP : after El Bolson (4 hrs in) no fucking shade for 3 days and an half except that of a shelter a little off trail, blazing sun all day, sand sand sand, I found the place so inhospitable, monotonous sights : sand dunes for ever, quite some struggling pedalling in the soft sand, plus I had no gaiters (stupid me) and low heels shoes so that was a bummer. However the place is super special, feels like on the moon (beautiful pictures) and I can understand why many love it Some “hot springs” are actually just luke and others just a hole or boiling hot (I added these informations to the track and waypoints I sent to Jan Dudek) so don't be like me fantasizing all day on that fantastic bath you will get or wait for Jan's update (thanks so so much for all you do mate). After resupplying I hitched on option 7 XXX all the way the Mellado cañon (really nice, by the river all the time), communities. After hiking South from Carizales (which has a very limited “store”) I was short on time and food and realized bare landscapes over the tree line were not my cup of tea (I prefer hiking below 1700 m in this part of Patagonia) so I left RR and took another option all the way to the West to Reserva Achibueno which I really enjoyed : great landscapes, lakes, rivers and met some cool hikers and fishermen

  • 2021-Dec-09 to 2021-Dec-12 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / AR past Laguna Manatial Pelado / Vera & James

We arrived the day before at Parque Ingles and camped the night there. From Molina there is a bus to Radal at 5pm wed-fri, and direct to Parque Ingles on weekends. The only way to pay for park entry is online at www.aspticket.cl.

As an aside, we really liked Molina. It has plenty for resupply whilst being nice and small. There is a fishing shop opposite the Santa Isabel supermarket that sells gas.

Day 1 we headed up the RR as far as just above Laguna de las Animas by 2pm, a brutal climb in the midday sun! At this point the sun disappeared and clouds quickly rolled in, within 10 minutes lightning was hitting the peaks directly around us. We beat a hasty retreat back to El Bolsen and camped there.

We decided to take the alternate route past Laguna Manatial Pelado. A beautiful route if hot and sandy. We have realised the best time time to take on a long, sandy ascent in sunny weather is very early in the morning, after 9am it was brutally hot.

We then continued on the regular route. As has been said before, it's remote and stunning. We had some strong winds coming over Pass de Hornitos, and even some sleet on the final day!

Arrived in Los Cipreses on a Sunday and we didn't see a single person except the security guard. We got mixed messages from him and then the mini shop owner about buses to Talca. I would assume there isn't one on a Sunday. We hitched to El Colorado then got a bus from there to Talca.

  • 2021-Dec-03 to 2021-Dec-09 / 7 days (GPT 05 + 06) / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Kris&Stiina

We also decided to combine sections 5 and 6 to avoid in’n’out to and from Parque Inglés. It took us 6 and a half days and some of it was bloody hard. I have never before experienced my ass being handed over to me by a trail. We got beaten to the point where first signs of weakness started to show and I have to admit we kind of even started discussing a plan B and bailing this ditch trail. But only for a moment, once you hit the rock bottom there is only one way to go - up! It was literally and figuratively, and as terrain improved so did our mood and we laughed off the silly thoughts we had had earlier.

The first 45km of the section 5 were great, awesome hiking and then shit hit the fan real quick. Ascent up from the ford at km 45 was hard but alright. And then came the descent down to Rio Negro (51km), very steep and very loose scree slope. We wanted to make it to Rio Colorado for the night to cross it early in the morning in case there is no bridge. But because the trail or I must rather say the lack of it was really taking more time than we expected, by the time we got to Rio Negro it was already getting dark. The river was very rapid and murky so you couldn’t gauge the depth of it and couldn’t see where to step, we had to really concentrate to cross it, luckily it was only balls deep.

It was dark as we got across it and we continued the fun, albeit type 2 fun, illuminated by our headlamps. Then came the insanely steep gully that allowed you to enter the valley of Rio Colorado. Something was off with the elevation lines on Gaia and it showed that we will be descending right over the cliff, it was luckily only a glitch. As we couldn’t see much ahead we kept descending ever so carefully on this very very challenging terrain, I would even go as far as to say that it was stupid and outright dangerous. But there was no other way, you just had to stay focused. There were also some rocks falling off the cliff under which we were descending. In a sense night was a good time to do it because you couldn’t see all the dangers - only what lie within the beam of the headlamp.

Then came an extremely slow going, pretty much crawling speed traverse down to Rio Colorado, which we fully improvised as there was no trail anyway and got down to Rio colorado about a kilometer before the bridge, where we set up camp abit past midnight.

So yes, the bridge was there - a decent one, seemed permanent and it was a relief that we at least don’t have to start the day by risking our lives fording Rio Colorado. The river was pretty wide and the current seemed pretty fast, it wasn’t murky though but you couldn’t see how deep it really was. But we think it could have been forded in case there would be no bridge. There were a few places that looked doable with somewhat laminar flow. The excitement of the existence of the bridge didn’t last too long as we were slapped back into reality by the difficult terrain, it wasn’t as dangerous anymore as the previous night but difficult nevertheless. Once we got closer to the pass the trail appeared and it was actually pleasant hiking once again.

To sum it up the descent down to the Rio Colorado valley, then traversing it and the first part of crawling out of the valley sucks big time, but the rest of the section is really nice and not too challenging terrain-wise. I wouldn’t want to skip this section because it had some breathingtaking views. Just that on the hard part of it you can’t really enjoy any of it as all your effort is elsewhere.

The guards at Laguna Mondaca were the nicest people we have met in Chile so far. They invited us to stay at the property, gave us food and drinks. They insisted we don’t use any of our supplies or gear. They even provided us with a room with a bed and we got to recharge all of our electronics and got a hot shower aswell. It was perfect! And just to make it clear there are no fancy villas there just a few small simple houses where the owner of the property comes for fishing once in a while. And guards weren’t armed either.

It took us 4 days to get to Laguna Mondaca and not far after it we joined the section 6 which took 2 and a half more days.

Section 6 was really something, we haven’t had such a strong otherworldly experience anywhere else. It was really like being on another planet at times. The blue sky was the only thing that gave it away that we were still on Earth. Really bizarre landscape and definitely the most beautiful breathtaking section of the six that we have done so far.

Regarding the difficulty, compared to section 5 it didn’t feel that difficult at all. Walking on sand is challenging, yes, especially going uphill. But on the other side going down is much easier on the soft sand - you can just run/jog without much impact on your body as the sand absorbs it all. Shoes got completely wrecked and we took many “shoe-emptying” breaks because they were just filled with rocks and coarse sand.

We even took a dip in one of the lakes close to Descabezado and seeing how water is just coming out of the sand and turning into a river was really really cool, just as the whole landscape around there.

We camped at the lake about 5km from Los Cipreses. When we arrived to the road to take bus to Talca the bus stop didn’t have any schedule and the shop close by was closed. So we couldn’t find out about the bus schedule and the traffic on the road seemed pretty dead. But luckily after 15 min of waiting a car that was going to Talca picked us up, perfecto!

Overall plenty of water on both sections, a lot of exposure to the sun, and some challenging terrain. It all together made for a great experience, just what we were looking for. It humbled us and we definitely had to adjust our expectations and recalibrate our way of hiking, it is GPT - not more and not less.

For more stories of the trail, pictures, videos and in case you want to ask us anything you can find us on Instagram: @smallfootprint_bigadventures

Season 2020/21

Season 2019/20

  • 2020-Feb-12 / 2.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / OH to Laguna Manantial / Frank

At Parque Ingles I registered with Conaf, they record your route & where you will camp. Deregistered by email later. Easy 3 hour walk to El Bolson, lots of people camping there but they don't go any further. Took optional route to Laguna Manantial. At 2160M there is a small meadow & stream, this is last water & last camp before the lake. You go over a pass @ 2560M then drop 80M to the lake. Camped on the lakeshore. Termas Blanquillo were only tepid. Camped on a small beach @ S end of Laguna de Los Hornos. The lake is nearly dried out, only a little semi stagnant water left. Best to carry water in from one of the streams a little above the lake. Last 11KM are on dirt roads, you could hitch easily if you want. Met 2 security guards, they were both friendly, no access problems if you are Southbound. Small campsite @ shop on way out. Amazing section, some tough uphill on sand but scenery is like Mars. Definitely use small gaiters or you will be emptying sand out of your shoes every 10 mins.

At the end of GPT06 if you go on the north bank of Rio Maule the route is blocked by a cliff beyond Los Alamos & you need to cross the river to continue. Better to go on the road. After 2KM on the road you pass 2 shops, better food selection than in El Medano. They have accommodation also. At Bridge 17 you can rejoin RR or continue on road but RR is nicer.

  • 2019-Dec-24 / 7 days (GPT 05 + 06) / Hiking / SOBO / Ian Hikes + Tobias

Overview: So, I decided to combine GPT sections 5 and 6 in order to avoid a 30k out and back resupply section into parque ingles. I thought this was a good decision for me and really enjoyed being out there for a week. In my opinion this was the hardest section of the GPT in between sections GPT 01-10. I went the first 5 days without seeing another person which I thought was quite cool. So, these two sections are quite remote, and you are way out there in the mountains. There was also some pretty intense river crossing in “GPT Section 5” that I found to be manageable (keep in mind I’m 185cm and have lots of thru hiking experience.) but still a little difficult. The rivers were also very dark and murky which made it hard to see where you would step. There was also an improvised bridge crossing the Colorado River that I used, and thought was safe to use. These two sections are dominated by a volcanic profile with much of the route on ash and volcanic rock. Most of the route is very exposed and there are not many trees or vegetation that grow in the volcanic ash/rocks. There was plenty of water with springs coming out of the hills everywhere and then disappearing into the sand.

Difficulties: It was slow going walking thru the sand, especially when hiking vertically. Exposure to the sun. River crossings. Isolation and remoteness. Hiking up and down lose rock and scree fields.

Highlights: Hot Springs. Great views of the volcanic region. Mountain Lakes. Sunrise and Sunsets were epic with the landscape.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at ultratrailca@gmail.com

  • 2020-Jan-23 / 7 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Shn0rhelez

Parque Ingles to El Medano southbound/main route ... 7 days duration(2 nights spent on laguna Las Animas)...section passable...Strong sun, no shadow after the park... Gaiters strongly recommended...the SUBsection between termas del azufre and second ford Before the pass (2700m) is full with water... my personal opinion is the backpack weight can be minimized... Good luck!

  • 2020-Jan-09 / 5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Bruno & Martin

Parque Inglés to El Medano 5 days for this amazing section. We started in Parque Inglés in Radal 7 Tazas National Park. Had to wait for one more day because of limited hiking permits towards El Bolsón. 80 daily permits allowed and delivered at 8:30 in the morning, to be minded on weekends when the park is full. Followed Regular Route Laguna Las Ánimas, Azufre Hotsprings, Descabezado base camp, Laguna Caracol and then down to Los Cipreses. Cold section and bad weather towards the end, some rain and freezing wind. Had to camp in Laguna Caracol waiting for the storm to pass and hike the last pass. The use of lightweight gaiters is advised for keeping the sand out of your shoes.

  • 2019-Dec-25 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Tom & Maddie

Parque Ingles to El Medano. Very beautiful (and exposed) section. Lots of water. The track from Los Cipreses to El Medano suffered from a few landslides meaning the route was slower than anticipated. I would consider taking the road next time as there is no loss of scenery. We resupplied in El Medano by basically buying all the food at the tienda (60000 CP for food for two people for the next section). Selection was good enough.

  • 2019-Dec-18 / 5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR from Vilches Alto / Tyler & America

A Stunning section. Vilches Alto made for a great optional start; rather than returning to Parque Ingles. (We came from Talca by bus - 2100 CP). Entrance fee was 6000 and camping 3000 PP. All trails were beautiful and a bit more trodden that sections before. Arrieros at thermal pools (not hot) were welcoming and friendly for us to camp. We took our sweet time in the beautiful section. We bussed from the first road access (south of town Los Cipreses/ OH-MR-V@06-E-#001) to Talca for a good re supply before the long next section, 2200 CP. Bus leaves this stop around 11.

  • 2019-Dec-18 / 2.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR with optional start coming from GPT 5 / Matus & Anna

We combined sections 5 and 6 via optional trail. GPT06 took us 2 days and bit (first day we did just 4km from 6th section). I agree with everything what was written in previous updates. Nice sandy trails. Mornings were freezing cold. No problems while crossing rivers. After optional start regular trail didn't correspond with any trail. We finally took one on the right side and after while they merged. And I don't know who was so commited, but thanks for marking the trail 😊

There is a small tienda with coke and crisps before entering a main road from Los Cipress. If you continue by main road toward El Medano there is restaurant Cordillera where we refueled again. Accomodation in El Medano. I will edit with ressuply options later.

  • 2019-Dec-14 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR (mainly) / Martina & Ivo

As we came from GPT05 and didn't want to go all the way "back" to the Paso Las Animas, we tried the Optional Investigation Route which starts at Parque Ingles right at the other side (South) of Rio Claro. It leads through private property, so we went to the guard, showed him the CONAF Permit (we bought one just in case, and of course they said it's not possible to walk on the other side of the river), explained him that we would only hike through and gave him some cerezas. He informed his Colleagues via radio to let us pass. It was a nice and easy hike. Nothing to add to Linda's remarks for the rest of the trail.

  • 2019-Dec-06 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Linda

Start = Parque Ingles Finish = Las Termas El Medano


Amazing section !!!! Incredible mineral landscapes as soon as you go beyond Laguna Las Animas. It was tough because of the passes (and this was also my first hiking days and I carried too much food ... ) and the ground around the volcanoes is sand ! So it makes each step even more difficult. I loved the contrast between the areas around the volcanoes and the Laguna Caracol is just one of the most beautiful place I've ever seen !!!


- Bus from Molina to El Radal (off season and weekdays = only one bus at 5pm in Molina that stops in El Radal. Weekend : it goes directly to Parque Ingles and the schedule may also be different)

- Hitchhiked from El Radal to Parque Ingles

- First night in a camping in Parque Ingles = 5000 CLP

- The day after, I had to register to CONAF. Office opening at 8:30 am. Entrance fee = 6000 CLP Some people (5 or 6) were going to El Bolson for the day but after Laguna Las Animas, there was absolutely nobody till the end !

- Still snow when you go beyond the 2300 meters high

- Be careful for the last pass Las Hornitos, a lot of snow at the top and it makes it impossible to follow the GPS track to go down. I found my way on the left when you face the valley and then got back to the GPS track

- No problem to go out from the mine. Actually, workers I met on my way down to Los Cipreses suggestedto drop me by car to the main road. The guard was just smiling when he saw me in the car and when I told him I was hiking

- Mini market where you can find basic food (eggs, spaghetti, chocolate ...) in Las Termas El Medano

  • 2020-Feb-07 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Arnaud

Amazing but hard section with a lot of denivelation. As we did not walk the section 5, we took the bus from Molina to Parque Ingles-7 Tazas (many buses, 4-5 buses per day). We registered to the Conaf Office and paid the entrance fee 6000 clp for foreigners. They gave us a mail adress so that we can announce our exit of the parque, to check the security. We walked the first 11km to the campspot El Bolson. It costs 4000 clp per person but has no interest. As the zone is protected, it is possible to freecamp only after el Bolson, before, it is prohibited. The Laguna Las Animas is very very beautiful and is welcome for a bath with the heat of this season. Then the paso las animas is easy and ashes are fun for downhills! We met nobody on the trail after el Bolson. So great! Except at one spot with termas with full of chilenos there. We lacked a bit of water at the laguna el Caracol but found 3kms further (just before the strong uphill) a source with drinkable water. No problem then to exit los cypress. We hitchhiked on the road with workers until the road to los Medanos. We stayed one day in los termas de los Medanos, at the camping and exit quickly (too many noise, people). The water is hot and nice after a hard section like this one. We resupplied at los termas (with pasta, arros, pancito, manjar). No gas available there.

Season 2018/19

Season 2017/18

Season 2016/17

Resupply and Accommodation

You need to carry all the food for the entire trail. There is no food supply after Parque Ingles. If you meet arrieros at one of the Puestos you may ask for some goat or lamb meet but if you are not ready to take an entire or at least half an animal they may be reluctant to sell. Refill your water supply at the marked river crossings and the camps. In between these waypoints your will find only ocasinally some trickling water because water trickles away easily into the volcanic soil.

Resupply and Accommodation in nearby Towns

  • 2023 / Michael and Kasia

Molina: Hostal Nativos is three blocks off the main square. Run by very nice people, they have private rooms with shared bathroom for 25.000 CLP for the room. They also have a nice garden area with space if you need to clean gear. Ferreteria Franco had gas canisters for stoves. Unimarc on the plaza had cans for recharging, but didn't carry the screw route for stoves.

  • 2021 / Vera & James

Molina: It has plenty for resupply whilst being nice and small. There is a fishing shop opposite the Santa Isabel supermarket that sells gas.

Resupply and Accommodation along the Route

  • 2022 / Martin & Helena

Los Cipresses: small shop (only ice cream, drinks, choco bars, biscuits) + camp with cold shower, toilets, electricity and access to the river, all for 5000 for 2 people. We even got sandwiches for dinner as there was no other place around to eat.

  • 2022 7 Anna&Christopher

El Médano: The shop there has pasta, rice, bread, tomato salsa, mayo, chips, biscuits/chocolate and suncreme (but quite pricey). In El Médano we camped for 6k CLP p.p.

  • 2020 / Frank

After 2KM on the road after Los Alamos (to El Medano) you pass 2 shops, better food selection than in El Medano. They have accommodation also.

Transport to and from Route

Parque Ingles

During the main season in January and February several buses go from Molina and Curico to Radal and some even go all the way to Parque Ingles. Outside of the main season there is only one daily bus from Molina to Radal leaving in the afternoon from the rural bus station in Molina.

  • Jan-24 / Joscha

The Bus between Molina and Parque Ingles is run by the company "Buses Hernández". You can check the departure times on their website.

  • 2020 / Frank In summer there are 6 buses a day Molina-Parque Ingles.

Mon-Sat they leave Molina @ 10:20, 11:30, 12:40, 3PM, 6:15PM, 8:15 PM Sunday Molina- Parque Ingles 7:45, 9:30, 2PM, 7:30PM, 10PM 2 hours to Parque Ingles, buses leave from terminal near main plaza in Molina. Parque Ingles-Molina 7:10, 11, 1PM, 3:45PM, 4:45PM, 6:30PM Mon-Sat Sun. 10:30, 1:30PM, 3:30PM, 5:45PM, 6:45PM

  • 2019/ Martina & Ivo

Monday to Thursday: Molina-Radal: 17:00 // Radal-Molina: 07:30

Friday: Molina-P.Ingles: 17:00 // Radal-Molina: 07:30

Saturday: Molina-P.Ingles: 11:30 // 13:30 / P.Ingles-Molina: 18:00

Sunday: Molina-P.Ingles: 09:00 // P.Ingles-Molina: 15:30 / 17:00

Los Cipreses / El Medano

  • 7 am in front of Los Cipreses - someone has to call in advance for the bus to go all the way to el Médano - loads of tourists there, though, so someone might have called. Other connections should be at 9:15 and 17:20 (one at 1620 l3aves from further downstream). The other way around, the buses leave Talca at 7, 13, 15 and 19, according to the schedule at Talca bus station.

  • This trail section finished at the Route 115 to Talca. Big road with many cars (hitchhiking possible)

  • 2023 / Louis, Rémi & Noé

From Los Cipreses only one bus at 7am. We hitchiked to El Colorado where plenty of buses are going down to Talca for 2 000 CLP (+ 400 CLP per bag)

  • 2023 / Natalie & Tomáš

Buses from Talca to la Mina go at; 7:00am, 1:00pm (only to la Suiza), 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Vilches: bus clearly did not follow the posted schedule so if you are there just ask the many locals around what time the bus comes, we caught the 1230 bus.

  • 2022 / Veronika & Jo

- There is no bus to Talca from Los Cipreses on saturdays or sundays. We asked at the shop and got a ride to Colorado from the brother-in-law of the shopkeeper for 15000 CLP.


  • 2023 / Natalie & Tomáš

Bus clearly did not follow the posted schedule so if you are there just ask the many locals around what time the bus comes, we caught the 1230 bus.

Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues

  • CONAF does register all trekkers at Parque Ingles (GPT01-WP004) but does not charge an entrance fee. Camp fires are not permitted within the national park that reaches from Radal (GPT01-WP001) to the Laguna las Ánimas (GPT01-WP013).
  • 2024 SOBO Permit required at Parque Inglés:

- payment 8500 Pesos online! (not in cash) with online your Conaf account

https:// shop.pasesparques.cl/evento/2564/radal-siete-tazas

- offline formular at Conaf station

- payment 7000 Pesos for Campsite El Bolsón in Cash (not possible with credit card, 200m from Conaf Station)

  • 2023

When starting from Vilches and going northbound, a permit to access the Volcano (or the Condor Circuit) is required. CONAF won't let you enter in Altos de Lircay without it. Call them or write an email to get the correct number. The number ending with 554 works on WhatsApp, and a WhatsApp message from the land owner counts as "written permission". Moreover, you have to pay the entrance fee to the reserve and it is closed on Mondays in March.

  • 2023

Start at Parque Ingles: Entry ticket for Bolsón overnight needed: $10 USD (book it before online at www.aspticket.cl + get to the trailhead before 13:00) It needs to be purchased online in advance. There is good Entel service at the gate for last minute purchases. After purchase one change can be made to the date of the ticket, and there is no additional charge. After that you need to repurchase the ticket. Entrance for the camping permit is until 13:00. After that they refuse entry. In addition, you need to show CONAF proof of permission to camp at Bolsón, even if you do not plan to camp there. Bolsón is a privately operated concession within the park. Camping is 7.000 CLP pp and you buy the tickets at Rocas Basalticas campground about 50 meters down the road on the opposite side of the street from the entrance. The only way around this is to have contacted land owners that live beyond the park boundary and show CONAF proof of permission to camp on their land. They also require that you show them your gas stove, as all other cooking systems (alcohol, wood, etc.) are prohibited within the park, so have it handy.

The parc can be entered illegally in the morning (around 7 pm).

  • 2019

Optional start Vilches Alto: Entrance fee was 6000 and camping 3000 PP.

Links to other Resources

Retired Section Article GPT06 - Volcán Descabezado


In the huge ash field
10 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
GPT06 - Volcán Descabezado
Greater Patagonian Trail
Greater Patagonian Trail, section 6
El Bolsón
Leaving El Bolsón
GPT 06
Laguna Las Ánimas
Pass 2560 m
Approaching Laguna Mondaca
Laguna Mondaca
Bypasses Laguna Mondaca
GPT 06
Termas de Azufre
GPT 06
GPT 06
GPT 06
GPT 06
19 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
20 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
21 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
23 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
24 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
25 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
Leaving the Base Camp Descabezado Grande
Hot springs at Base Camp Descabezado Grande
28 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
29 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
31 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
32 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
33 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
34 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
35 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
37 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
38 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
39 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
40 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG
41 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.PNG

Camp near Laguna Los Hornitos

Laguna Los Hornitos
Laguna Los Hornitos
46 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
47 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg
48 Greater Patagonian Trail, Volcan Descabezado.jpg