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GPT37P (Lago O'Higgins)

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* 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.

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Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions

Season 2025/26

Season 2024/25

Season 2023/24

Season 2022/23

  • 2022-Dec-18 to 2023-Jan-16 / 30 Days / Packrafting / GPT37P Initial Investigation / Villa O'Higgins, Lago Negro, El Taitao, La Morocha, Isla Central, Brazo Poniente, Rio Condor, Lago Chico / Meylin Ubilla, Masha Ovchinnikova, Misha Bogdanov, Jan Dudeck, Tobias Schorch

In the 10 years of investigating and publishing the GPT this has been the most diverse, intense and longest exploration trip.

Lago O’Higgins is not completely unknown in the travelers world but most hikers and cyclists perceive this lake rather as an obstacle then as a region to explore. Lago O’Higgins is located between the southern terminus of the Carretera Austral and the hiking mecca El Chalten. Hikers and cyclists that wish to connect along the Carretera Austral from Cerro Castillo or Parque Patagonia to El Chalten often take the ferries that cross this lake from Villa O‘Higgins to Candelario Mancilla but furious wind can result in waiting times of more then one week.

While visiting Villa O’Higgins in recent years we learned more about the handful of settlers living remotely on the shores of this lake. The first settlers arrived around 100 years ago by boat coming from the Argentine side of this bi-national lake. And satellite images provided some information about the trails in the vicinity of this octopus-like lake with numerous arm. After years of contemplating we reserved a good part of this season to venture on this lake and to visit the settlers.

Lago O’Higgins is infamous for the often furious wind that can last for days. Especially in summer wind rarely stops making any packrafting attempt an exercise of patience. Of the 30 days at the lake we spend 10 days waiting but these days were “value time” because we stayed at the homesteads of the settlers and tasted their way of life. Highlights of the trip have been:

- Searching and documenting the barely travelled trail from Villa O’Higgins via Lago Negro to El Taitao

- Crossing by packraft Lago O’Higgins at Brazo Desagüe and Bahia Pocas Pilchas

- Spending 10 days with Andrea and Susana Mancilla on Isla Central that became our “base camp” for exploring Brazo Poniente

- Packrafting and hiking Brazo Poniente all the way to the glaciers that creep down from the Southern Patagonian Icefield

- Spending 7 days with Ema Mera and Leo Muñoz at their homestead Rio Condor that became our “base camp” to visit Brazo Sudoccidental and the Southern Patagonian Icefield

- Investigate a new cross-country hiking route to a viewpoint of Glacier O’Higgins that was probably never walked before

- Traversing the Pensinsula La Carmela from Glaciar Gaea to Lago Chico and crossing this lake by packraft next to Glaciar Chico

- Ascending on the Southern Patagonian Icefield along Glaciar Chico to Paso Marconi with the mountain guide Leo Muñoz

- Arranging food shipments with the supply boat that 3 times per month visits the settlers of Lago O’Higgins

The balanced combination of hiking, packrafting and living with the settlers made this 30-day trip an intense but not tiresome experience.

A detailed route description and recommendations will be provided with the next update of the Hikers Manual.

Season 2021/22

Season 2020/21

Season 2019/20

Season 2018/19

Season 2017/18

Season 2016/17

Resupply and Accommodation

Resupply and Accommodation in nearby Towns

Resupply and Accommodation along the Route

Transport to and from Route

Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues

Links to other Resources

Retired Section Article GPT37P - Península La Florida