GPT33H - Torres del Avellano
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- 2022 Nov / GPT33H Option 11 and Parts of Regular Route / Meylin Ubilla and Jan Dudeck
GPT33H/GPT34P: Northern coast of Lago General Carrera from Puerto Sanchez to Levican (packrafting and hiking)
From 2022-Nov-20 to 2022-Nov-24 we (Meylin Ubilla, Jan Dudeck) packrafted and hiked in 5 days from Puerto Sanchez to Levican along the northern coast of Lago General Carrera.
This lake is infamous for the frequent strong gusty wind, therefore packrafting requires a careful monitoring of the weather to depart only onto the lake when a period with calmer conditions is approaching. Luckily, there is reasonable good mobile phone coverage what facilities checking the weather and wind forecast frequently.
Given the wind conditions any packrafting attempt on Lago General Carrera requires to my opinion:
- decked packraft, a longer tandem is strongly preferable (faster, more stable) - a sail (to get quicker to an exit point) - packrafting experience in the region (to anticipate typical weather and wind patterns) - smartphone with entel SIM card or entel rooming - YR weather App, Windy weather App
The predominant wind is eastbound therefore only eastbound packrafting is advisable.
I’m left with the impression that wind gets generally stonger towards the east (towards Levican and Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez) and that calm periods are more frequent and longer towards the west (Puerto Tranquilo, Puerto Sanchez).
Also, calmer conditions are more likely in the early morning just after sunrise but strong wind all night is also common.
During a previous hike in February 2020 we experienced an entire summer day with barely any wind but such days are as frequent as unicorns and no travel plan should be build on exceptional favorable circumstances.
There is a trail along the northern shore but due to the steep coast there are sections of up to 13 km on the lake without a connection from the shoreline to this trail.
Emergency exits are more frequent along the coast but using such an exit means waiting for the wind to calm down what can take days. Therefore it is generally favorable to exit the water only in a location from where the trail can be reached easily.
We packrafted most of the distance from Puerto Sanchez to the Avellano river delta on 3 mornings in about 9 hours on the water but from there we hiked in two days to Levican because we had no similar promising calm weather windows in following early mornings. In hindsight the wind remained manageable in the morning hours till about noon but there was no point in reversing our decision to hike (and we urgently needed some exercise to get used to hike with heavy backpacks again).
Crossing from Puerto Tranquilo to Puerto Sanchez is reasonable feasible by packraft in calm weather (typically either very early in the morning or later in the evening). The crossing is 3 km wide and best started 1 km north of Puerto Tranquilo in a hidden bay with a nice protected spot to pitch a tent (46.6146°S / 72.6838°W · 210 m). If preparing the packraft at the beach of Puerto Tranquilo officials may stop packrafters as there are numerous restrictions and requirements applicable (in example accompanying motor boat with two licensed boat drivers).
Packrafters should depart in north-eastern direction to compensate for a south-eastern wind drift in case wind increases.
A very nice protected camp site is approximately 8 km from the recommended exit point near Puerto Tranquilo.
GPT33H: Bus Levican - Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez
The last 26 km from Levican to Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez are rather dull road walking. Therefore hikers that arrive at the right day and time can take the subsidized bus.
Monday and Friday only: 08:00 Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez -> Levican 09:00 Levican -> Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez 18:00 Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez -> Levican 19:00 Levican -> Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez Price: 1000 CLP
Transport at other times can be arranged for a substantially higher cost (estimated 40‘000 to 60‘000 CLP per vehicle).
Paty: +56 9 9506 3176 Luis: +56 9 8648 4075
- 2022 Nov, NoBo, Option 1, Alice and Florian
We chose to do the option 1 taking the sendero de chile from Puerto Ibañez to Cerro castillo. Most of it is a trail road (first 25km, and the last 4) so it is quite tiring for the knees as some point. But it seems quite easy to do hitchhiking at least on the first 25 km if needed. Nevertheless it is quite a nice road. You first arrive to a very nice waterfall after 5km, them walk through a canyon with nice scenic views. The 10km pass through a forest trail near lakes, it is really nice as well.
- 2022 Feb: 10-14, SoBo, RR, Kris&Stiina
Even though the first few days out of town is a road walk, the first part of it is actually really scenic and worth walking, the lakes are just very beautiful one the way. The second part was mostly in the forest and our feet, knees and hips were already hurting from all the road walking but once we got on trail it got better right away. The trail was surprisingly well maintained I would even say better than in Cerro Castillo National Park. Another unexpected surprise was the amount of people that we met on the trail a total of about 25 people in different size groups were hiking to see Torres de Avellano. We really didn’t expect that, there also seemed to be some sort of backpack hauling and guiding service that the local arrieros were offering. We unfortunately didn’t manage to talk to them to find out, but it seems that the place is getting popular. Which is not a surprise because it’s very very beautiful there, probably is correct what the manual says, that it’s going to be the next Torres del Paine, time will tell.
On day 3 about 2-3km before the pass the trail disappeared and the going got tougher and tougher, mostly just bolder hopping up and over the pass. The descent was pretty steep on large granite slabs which offered plenty of good grip but I am not sure how well would it work in wet conditions. I think the pass is doable in not good weather conditions but only if one feels very confident in own abilities on wet rocks. Also it’s a good idea to follow the gps on the way down because otherwise you end up on a cliff edge and have to track back up. The ground finally eases up once you enter the forest, but then starts the bushwhacky part all the way until ford/div at 69,7km.
That was as far as we could make it that day because the river was pretty fast in the evening. So we decided to camp right there and cross it in the morning when the flow would be a bit more manageable and our decision payed off. In the morning the river was about 10cm lower than the evening before, so if you ar a shorter person it could save you. The flow was pretty strong and water was still about hips deep. Both of us crossed it together by standing in a line, me in front and Stiina supporting me from behind, it worked great. After that it was easy cruising for the next 32km, however we had to cross that river once again at 81,2km. It was still challenging but we managed to do it the traditional way one by one, facing upstream. But the current was still very strong and pushing our feet out from under us, challenging our balance. After that we didn’t want to cross it two more times as gps suggested so we just stayed on the left coast all the way to the lake. There were some cow trails to follow and also to bypass the cliffs it was no problem.
The lake is really beautiful with all the islands and it wasn’t too windy when we arrived. We camped about a kilometer from Campo Chico on the rocky stream bed and managed to cook on the fire that night without causing fire hazard. And there were apple, pear and plum trees at the 98,3km, plums were very ripe but the apples and pears still need a week or two to get ready, but it was a very nice treat nevertheless.
Next day was Monday which meant that we could avoid the 26km road walk at the end of the section which we were determined to do. We had 30km to goto get to the road junction were the bus is passing by and according to the manual the bus would pass there some time after 20:00 which is when it starts from Levican. So we pushed the whole day over the steep, sandy, bushy terrain and made it to the junction by 19:00, great, we thought. But after bus didn’t show up we called the phone nr that Janna & Matthias had provided and it turned out that the bus actually leaves Levican at 18:00 and is long gone. But the bus driver was nice enough to offer us a ride to Puerto Ibañez, however for a hefty 45.000 pesos. We were out of food, out of water and pretty spent from getting ourselves there so we accepted the offer. The car ride showed that it would be a pretty dull road walk aswell if we would have had to do it so in the end it all worked out and we got to town just as we wanted.
The town was a bit disappointing, people were somehow not very helpful and also all accommodations were full, but we managed to camp at Las Cabañitas about a km out of town. The next day we went to the port to catch the ferry to Chile Chico, but due to strong winds all ferries were canceled and nobody could even give us a guess of when the ferries would restart. We didn’t want to spend another day in Puerto Ibañez so we hitched back to Villa Cerro Castillo in hopes to get bus or a hitch around the lake. There are definitely daily buses to Cochrane.
In the end our plans changed and we decided that we are content with our experience on GPT this season, so we left it at that. Thanks for kicking our butts GPT and showing us beauty we haven’t seen before! :)
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
- GPT 33H Option 4 (Puerto Cristal)/ Torres de Avellano/ Packrafting Route / 2022 Feb-4 / 7 days / Tobias Schorcht and Jonas Grünewald
I started Packrafting from Puerto Tranquilo to Puerto Sanches in the calm morning hours. Since Jonas doesn‘t have a Packraft, we booked a full Marvel Caves Tour by boat for him and asked the Captain, to leave him in Puerto Sanches, which was possible without any extra paying. We hiked northbounded along Lago Vidal Gormez and visited the left behind abandoned village Puerto Cristal. It was an impressive experience to see the old facilities of the Mining Company! The good visible trail is partly overgrown with spiky bushes and contains a lot of altitude. We have been rewarded with stunning views on the Lago General Carrera and recommend this option anyway. We went up to the Torres with good weather knowing, that some wind and rain have been predicted for the night. It took us many hours to cross the valley (-46,43300, -72,48867) because we mainly followed the “cow-trails” through the forest and wetland (as an alternative to walk up the river). We reached the camp (-46,42178, -72,50672) late and sheltered the spot with rocks against the wind. You are welcome to use our cozy spot free of charge 😉. Took the trail from the Torres down to Cerro Castillo without difficulties.
We have to say, that this part of the GPT was challenging but absolutely worth the struggle.
Disfrutas las cosas 🙏
- NoBo, January 2022, 6.5 days, Participants: Janna & Matthias
Day 1: We took the ferry from Chile Chico to Puerto Ibañez (ferry schedule online).There still runs a government-subsidised bus (+56 9 89448847) between Puerto Ibañez and Levicàn on Mondays and Fridays at 8am & 5pm (summer). We decided to spend the afternoon rain relaxing at the pizzeria in Puerto Ibañez and then catch the bus. We called and found out that the bus stop is now in front of the Supermercado Jelvez. The driver let us off at Div 130.4/311 at about 6pm ($1000 per person cash) and we hiked for another hour or so. At bridge 129.3/304 you cannot get water (a kind of gorge), maybe at the marked "Water?" about 15min downstream. We had enough with us and camped sheltered from the wind between the monoculture trees (S 46.377764 W 71.922459).
Day 2: We continued through / over many gates and past empty houses down to the water. Attention if NoBo: at gate 122.6/628 there are two gates - the GPT splits behind the left one, so take that one. The first water before the lake and two good camps at the lake are marked. The path along Lago Carrera was easy to find, sandy and rough in places but we could follow old riders' tracks. We really enjoyed the fantastic view over the lake and had a tábano-free time thanks to the strong wind. About 2 km before Campo Chico (S 46.478295 W 72.086034) we found a west wind-protected and very nice camping spot.
Day 3: Further camping possibilities would be as already described on wikiexplora at Campo Chico and at Puerto Avellano. Along the lake there are streams/rivers for drinking water every 1-2h. There is a wild apple tree on the trail here: S 46.487073 W 72.102247 in case you come by at the right time of year. After Puerto Avellano there is about 15km of a former mine road that is easy to follow. We had a wonderful view of the mountains the whole day. The first two Fords are easy to pass with little water. Water sources again every 1-2h. Our camp 3 was here: S 46.457910 W 72.299412 - beautiful, next to the water, sheltered from the wind.
Day 4: Fordday - in total we forded rivers more than 20 times, all of them were easy to knee deep except Río Avellano at 81.2/490 which reached almost to our hips and required a lot of effort. We met and chatted with settler Maria who was on her way to have some work done. At Div/Ford 69.7/634 the mountain peaks remained hidden in the clouds and the weather forecast was not so sparkling why we opted for the bypass (option 2) which is also very nice to walk with imposing mountain massifs on both sides, enchanted fairytale forests, a waterfall and easy-to-find cow tracks. Only the large swamp around S 46.386387 W 72.422623 was very unpleasant and foul-smelling, about shin deep. It may be worth looking for a path along the water there. Camp 4: S 46.371434 W 72.432519, quiet and nice under curious observation of two horses on the other side of the river.
Day5: At Div 54.5/841 we checked the weather again but as it still looked bad and everything in the valley further up was already in fog we finally decided against the Torres. At this Div there was an unmarked Ford when coming from option 2. If NoBo hiking directly after this Div take the path higher up the hill and not the marked route directly along the water, because the latter is slipped and to climb. At Puesto 53.0/946 (if NoBo) do not go through the gate but continue on the east side. A Horse Trail runs along the eastern edge of Mallin Grande. Our Camp 5 was here: S 46.281253 W 72.436128.
Day 6: Continued on the gravel road, passing many settlers and pastures. The Estero Alto flows much lower than the road, there is water at Bridge 25.7/454 and otherwise only at the lakes. There is a fence almost everywhere to the left and right of the road. To get to Camp 16.9+0.3/598 you have to climb over a locked gate (S 46.178222 W 72.312583). The two buildings in the pasture are a ruin (S 46.182635 W 72.311414) and a stable (S 46.183119 W 72.310509).
Day 7: Continued along the gravel road we almost missed Div 5.5/554 where a sandy path continues. The path is blocked by a wire fence at S 46.143124 W 72.184071 but a little further to the right you can slip through. No problems to get to Villa Cerro Castillo
|GPT33H: Torres de Avellano||Hiking||Packrafting|
|Group||H: Aysen Sur||Total||157.0 km||49 h||147.6 km||44 h|
|Region||Chile: Aysén (XI)||Trails (TL)||45.6 km||29.10%||25.9 km||17.60%|
|Start||Villa Cerro Castillo||Minor Roads (MR)||93.0 km||59.20%||73.3 km||49.70%|
|Finish||Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez (Puerto)||Primary Roads (PR)||3.7 km||2.30%||2.3 km||1.60%|
|Status||Published & Verified||Cross-Country (CC)||14.3 km||9.10%||15.1 km||10.20%|
|Traversable||Dec - Mar (Maybe: Nov, Apr)||Bush-Bashing (BB)||0.4 km||0.20%||0.4 km||0.30%|
|Connects to||GPT32, GPT33P, GPT34H, GPT34P||Investigation (I)||(5.2 km)||(3.3%)||-||-|
|Options||382 km (9 Options & Variants)||Exploration (EXP)||-||-||-||-|
|Hiking||Packrafting||Total on Water||30.5 km||20.7%|
|Attraction||5 (of 5)||5 (of 5)||River (RI)||1.7 km||1.2%|
|Difficulty||5 (of 5)||5 (of 5)||Lake (LK)||28.8 km||19.5%|
|Direction||Both ↓↑||Both ↓↑||Fjord (FJ)||-||-|
|Character||Semi-Desert, Forest, Alpine Terrain, Glaciers, Mountain Pastures, Farmland, Settlers, River Packrafting, Lake Packrafting, Road Walking|
|Challenges||Demanding River Fords, Exposure to Elements, Clambering, Bush Bashing, Demanding Navigation, Resupply Distance, Possibly Impassable|
Satellite Image Map
Elevation Profile of Regular Hiking Route
Elevation Profile of Regular Packrafting Route
The Torres de Avellano are an assembly of granite towers that rise 1000 m into the sky. Glaciers are nested on the flanks of these mountains and glacier lakes compose the base of this panorama. The Torres de Avellano display an epic beauty coequal to the world-famous Torres del Paine but the wild beauty of the Torres de Avellano comes without the hype and the large hordes of visitors. Therefore, hikers can enjoy this hidden treasure undisturbed and without the restrictions of an overrun and heavily regulated national park.
This highlight is embedded in a diverse route that traverses the semi-desert of the Patagonian Pampa, sneaks along the shore of the largest lake of Chile and provides a taster of the settler’s culture.
The in 2020 published Regular Route of GPT33H combines an exceptional diversity of landscapes:
- The tree-less semi-desert of the Patagonian Pampa
- Lush green forests
- Wide open pastures above the tree-line
- Tall mountains and granite towers
- Glaciers that grind on these mountains and carved several glacier lakes
- Swamps and crystal-clear rivers
- Idyllic farmland with settlers that move on horseback
- A huge wind-battered lake that feels like open sea
Despite these attractions the number of visitors remains low and the few hikers normally walk a fraction of this route only.
This diversity makes section GPT33H a highlight of the GPT with an Attractiveness Rating 5 of 5.
Some hikers might find the long gravel roads on both ends of the regular route annoying even if the traffic is insignificant. Hikers with a strong aversion to road walking should consider taking a motorized transport. Trying to hitchhike is also an option but chances to catch a ride are relatively low. Therefore, keep walking while signaling your interest to hitchhike to the occasionally passing vehicles.
The regular route incorporates 2 km of cross country walking through steep piles of boulders [RR-CC-A@33H-62.1+1.9] and around 0.4 km of bush bashing [RR-BB-A@33H-64.0+0.4]. Another 4 km [RR-CC&BB-A@33H-64.4+4.2] require a mix of cross country walking and bush bashing partly through swamps. Therefore, hikers that feel uncomfortable clambering over rocks and smashing through vegetation may opt to walk only to the pass [Pass 1310m @33H-62.2], enjoy the view of the Torres de Avellano, backtrack on the same route to diversion [Div @33H-54.6] and then follow GPT33H Option 2 which is a less demanding trail in the valley along Rio Avellano [OH-TL-V@33H-02-#001].
The regular route also climbs to 1300 m altitude where weather can become hostile even in summer. Therefore, the elevated and exposed part of the Regular Route should only be hiked in decent weather. GPT33H Option 2 is a lower, less exposed trail that provides a bypass around the Torres de Avellano in case of poor climatic conditions [OH-TL-V@33H-02-#001].
Some trails are rarely used, poorly maintained and therefore difficult to follow. In particular trail [RR-TL-V@33H-54.6+2.5] and [RR-TL-V@33H-68.6+1.4] are partly vaguely visible. Here hikers should frequently consult their GPS to not lose these trails.
Rio Avellano must be crossed at least once [Ford (Rio Avellano) @33H-81.4]. These fords of Rio Avellano might be difficult or unsafe at times. Therefore, good judgement and a careful selection of river crossing locations is essential. The flow rate of this glacier feed river is normally lower in the morning and on colder cloudy days. If a river crossing on foot appears unsafe i.e. after heavy rain or on hot sunny days (accelerated melting of glaciers) you may ask the settlers for help. The settlers normally ford this river on horseback.
The trail along the shore of Lago General Carrera is partly on the edge of steep cliffs. Hikers with vertigo (acrophobia / fear of height) will find these trail segments scary and tripping in these parts can be fatal.
The length of this section requires a good amount of food that makes the backpack heavy at the beginning.
Due to the above listed challenges the Difficulty Rating is 5 of 5.
Section Planning Status
The Regular Route of GPT33H was completely redrawn in 2020 to incorporate the Torres de Avellano into the GPT. Most of the new Regular Route was hiked by the founders of the GPT in February 2020 and the remaining unverified gravel roads of the Regular Route are clearly visible on satellite images. Therefore, the Regular Route can be considered verified.
Recommended Travel Period
The Regular Route is best hiked between December and March. Potential obstacles are high river levels during snowmelt till November and fresh snow in the elevated area at the Torres de Avellano starting from April or May.
The substantially shorter optional route GPT33H Option 1 is in the vicinity of Rio Ibañez and can be hiked all year around.
Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues
To walk section GPT33H a permit is not required, and no entry fee is charged. There are no known right-of-way conflicts.
To my knowledge paddling on Lago General Carrera requires a permit from the Armada de Chile but complying with all requirements might not be possible even for a well equipped packrafter (i.e. distress signal rockets).
Section Length and Travel Duration
The 157 km long Regular Route can be walked in approximately 8 hiking days.
Taking a motorized transport or hitchhiking is generally feasible to shorten the road walking on both ends of the Regular Route. This can shorten the travel duration by up to two days. Starting or finishing at the Carretera Austral near Laguna Verde eliminates 18 km and starting or finishing near Levicán reduces the walking distance by 26 km.
Recommended Travel Direction
Northbound and southbound hiking is feasible and recommended.
If the travel direction can be chosen freely than a northbound hike seems slightly preferable. Halfway on this section, right at the Torres de Avellano the route leads 2 km through a boulder field. It seems favorable to cross this area uphill in northbound direction. A northbound hike also facilitates arranging a motorized transport from Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez to Levican what eliminates 26 km road walking.
Benefits of Hiking and Packrafting
The Regular Route of GPT33H was developed for hiking and a packraft is neither needed nor recommended even if a packraft may be deployed in northbound and southbound direction.
Most packrafters that travel southbound will probably opt for section GPT33P to float on the lower Rio Ibañez from Villa Cerro Castillo to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez. This packrafting route has a water proportion of 80%. In comparison, on GPT33H the water proportion is in best case 20%. But this water proportion can only be archived on an exceptionally calm day when wind permits packrafting all the way from Puerto Avellano to Levicán along the shore of Lago General Carrera. On most summer days strong wind and resulting high waves will impede packrafting.
But for packrafters that travel northbound GPT33H provides an interesting option. These packrafters might attempt to cross Lago General Carrera from Fachinal to Puerto Avellano either with a motorboat or by packraft, then hike the very attractive centerpiece of GPT33H past the Torres de Avellano and conclude this section by packrafting the final 21 km (Rio Sin Nombre, Laguna Verde and the upper Rio Ibañez) to finish in Villa Cerro Castillo. For more information to this option see the section description of GPT34P and the comment to the section combination GPT33H with GPT32.
Suitable Section Combinations
GPT33H connects with the adjacent sections GT32 and GT34H at suitable resupply locations (Villa Cerro Castillo and Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez). This makes a section combination without resupplying irrelevant.
Combining GPT35 with GPT33H
Northbound hikers should consider connecting GPT35 directly with GPT33H by exiting Parque Patagonia towards Fachinal and crossing Lago General Carrera by motorboat from Fachinal to the Desembocadura Rio Avellano. Here Lago General Carrera is only 3.5 km wide and a motorboat crossing does not take more than 20 minutes. Unfor¬tunately, in summer this requires some patience as the normally strong wind often impedes this. In the morning or the evening the wind occasionally calms down but rarely during the day.
Carlos Amoroz, a settler in Fachinal owns a motorboat and offers this service on request. Pascual Diaz, a tour operator from Mallin Grande, can also provide this service but he must first haul his motorboat the 42 km on trailer from Mallin Grande to Fachinal what makes his service substantially more expensive.
Settler with motorboat in Fachinal (Location: -46.5568°S / -72.2120°W) Name: Carlos Amoroz Mobile: +56-9-76267029 Price: Approx. 30’000 CLP for 2 persons
Tour operator with motorboat in Mallin Grande Name: Pascual Diaz (Company: “Kalem Patagonia”) Mobile: +56-9-7391 7881 Price: Presumably more expensive and advance notice required
This section combination of GPT35 with GPT33H seems more practical in northbound direction as hikers can first talk directly to the settler with the motorboat in Fachinal, resupply in Chile Chico (by taking a motorized transport from Fachinal to Chile Chico and back) and then cross Lago General Carrera with a refilled backpack. While waiting for the wind to calm down hikers can pitch their tent at a nice wind protected camp site on the shore of Lago General Carrera.
Thanks to the reasonably good mobile phone coverage in Fachinal hikers can check the weather and wind forecast and call the settler with the motorboat when approaching Fachinal. This permits hikers to anticipate or discard a motorboat crossing on arrival.
Hikers that attempt a more complicated southbound crossing of Lago General Carrera should make arrangements with the settler with the motorboat at least one or two weeks before arriving at Puerto Avellano, test communication devices (i.e. InReach to mobile phone), agree on the precise pick-up location (Puerto Avellano or Desembocadura Rio Avellano) and carry enough food to wait some time in Puerto Avellano. Hikers should be prepared that the wind may not calm down while waiting several days in Puerto Avellano. In this case the motorboat transfer should canceled, and the hiker should walk out to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez before the food reserves deplete.
Combining GPT33H with GPT32
If hiking GPT33H with a packraft northbound than the packraft can be inflated at the bridge over Rio Sin Nombre to paddle 2 km downstream on this river, cross the 1 km wide Laguna Verde on its western shore and continue to the upper Rio Ibañez to float down 18 km on the upper Rio Ibañez towards Villa Cerro Castillo. From the last recommended exit on the upper Rio Ibañez it is only a 3 km walk into Villa Cerro Castillo. This route combines GPT33H Option 3 with GPT33H Option 8 and GPT32 Option 6.
Section GPT33H starts in Villa Cerro Castillo and terminates in Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez (Resupply information see GPT34H). Hikers that continue southbound may also resupply in Chile Chico after the ferry crossing of Lago General Carrera (Resupply information see GPT35). All three towns are rather small but provide a rising number of tourists with all required essentials. Several shops sell food and camping gas canisters. Restaurants offer filling meals. And accommodation is provided by hostels, cabañas and camp sites in these towns.
Resupply in Villa Cerro Castillo
To be issued.
Resupply on the Trail
There is no plannable resupply along the entire Regular Route but some food may be obtained at the two homestead farms on the route.
[Settler (Maria & Julio) @33H-76.9]: Maria and Julio are one of the few settlers that still make cheese for sale in such a remote location. If you are short on foot you might also ask if they may sell some bread, milk or meat.
[Settler (Luis Diaz) @33H-85.2]: Luis is a welcoming person that enjoys the company of an unexpected visitor. When passing his home consider a visit. You may also ask if he has bread or meat to sell.
[Puesto @33H-98.5]: The puesto 250 m north of Puerto Avellano is rarely occupied by their owners but the fruit trees might provide some well desired vitamins in summer and early autumn.
Puestos on the coast of Lago General Carrera: All puestos along the coast of Lago General Carrera are abandoned and partly deteriorated. Some fruit trees might still be alive and provide fresh fruits at times.
Access to Route and Return
Hikers that walk GPT33H and its adjacent sections with continuous footsteps can resupply in Cerro Castillo, Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez and Chile Chico and do not need to leave the route to resupply.
Villa Cerro Castillo is served by several bus companies that travel daily the Carretera Austral between Coyhaique and Cochrane and stop on the way in Cerro Castillo. Most buses to Villa Cerro Castillo leave Coyhaique in the morning around 09:00 and pass Villa Cerro Castillo approximately 1:30 hours later. In the opposite direction buses pass Cerro Castillo in the early afternoon. Hitchhiking on the Carretera Austral is possible but a patience test as the number of hitchhikers often exceeds the number of “available seats”. For details see Resupply in Villa Cerro Castillo.
Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez has regular public transportation to Coyhaique (1:45 hour by bus) and Chile Chico (2:15 hour by ferry). The ferry over Lago General Carrera that connects Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez with Chile Chico does two round trips each day, one in the morning and one the evening. Buses to and from Coyhaique operate synchronized to these ferries. For details see Resupply in Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez on page XY for more information (Section GPT34H).
If you wish to minimize the initial and final road walking consider starting (or finishing) on the Carretera Austral near Laguna Verde and finishing (or starting) near Levicán.
Laguna Verde [Div @33H-03B]: You can shorten the initial road walking out of Villa Cerro Castillo by 18 km if starting from the Carretera Austral at the diversion to Laguna Verde and Lago Lapparent. To get to this junction take either one of the buses that travel the Carretera Austral, try to hitchhike or ask for a translado (private transfer).
Levicán [Div Levican @33H-131.4]: Monday and Friday a subsidised bus does two round trips from Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez to the settlement Levicán; one round trip in the morning and a second round trip in the evening. Taking this bus eliminates 26 km of road walking. Alternatively, you may ask for a translado in Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez [Private Transport @33H-157.0].
Subsidized bus from Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez to Levicán: Monday and Friday, Approx. 1’000 CLP Morning round trip: Leaving Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez at 08:00, arriving in Levican around 09:00 and returning to Ibañez at 10:00. Evening round trip: Leaving Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez at 18:00, arriving in Levican around 19:00 and returning to Ibañez at 20:00.
Private transport from Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez to Levicán: Anytime, Approx. 35´000 CLP
Another option to shorten this section is starting or finishing in Puerto Avellano. To do this either arrange a transfer by motor boat from Fachinal (see Combining GPT35 with GPT33H) or if you are lucky you may take the subsidized ferry from Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez. This ferry runs once per month from Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez to Puerto Sanchez and returns two days later. The ferry stops at various settlements on the shore of Lago General Carrera, i.e. at Puerto Avellano and Puerto Cristales. Dates and times might be obtained at the from Naviera Austral offices in Coyhaique and Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez.
At Kilometer 5.9 and 24.3 counted from Villa Cerro Castillo hikers may aboard a traverse by walking north to the Carretera Austral by either taking GPT33H Option 3A or GPT33H Option 3B. After these points there is no escape route that provides a short cut out of this mountain range. All optional routes are more demanding and not verified and should not be taken if distressed (even if GPT33H Option 8 Valle Resbalín to Bahia Murta appears shorter). In case of an emergency settlers might provide help with horses and the Carabineros might arrange an evacuation from Puerto Avellano or other locations on the shore of Lago General Carrera by motorboat.
Regular Hiking Route
Kilometer 0.0 to 24.3: Villa Cerro Castillo to western end of Lago Lapparent at diversion [Div @33H-24.3]
Leave Villa Cerro Castillo on the Carretera Austral and follow this paved road for 1.2 km. Don’t miss the exit shortly after the bridge over Rio Ibañez and continue on gravel roads to the eastern terminus of Lago Laparent. There are several nice spots to pitch a tent partly on the shore of lakes. The water supply along this route is not verified yet, therefore carry enough water to get at least to the lakes along this route.
Kilometer 24.3 to 45.7: Gravel road to Avellano trail head at diversion [Div @33H-45.7]
Continue on the gravel road for 21 km. You can refill your water bottles on the numerous small side streams that run down the mountains. Alternatively ask the settlers along the road for water. There are plenty of attractive camp sites along the minor road. The Avellano trail head can easily be overlooked when walking the minor road. Therefore, pay attention to the GPS when approaching the diversion at Kilometer 45.7.
Kilometer 45.7 to 54.6: Horse trail along upper Rio Avellano to diversion [Div @33H-54.6]
The frequently used horse trail is well maintained and generally easy to follow. Only on the open pastures the trail dissipates and forms again where the route enters a forest. Water is frequently available but should be filtered if taken from the larger streams that cross the pastures. The pastures along the route provide scenic camp sites.
Kilometer 54.6 to 57.1: Ascent in forest on track [RR-TL-V@33H-54.6+2.5]
This trail section is rarely used, poorly maintained and partly not well visible. Fallen trees block the trail in numerous locations and several diversions around these obstacles complicate navigation. Hikers should consult frequently their GPS to not lose the trail in the forest. This more demanding trail ends where the route leaves the forest and enters the open valley.
Kilometer 57.1 to 62.2: Upper valley to Torres de Avellano outlook to [Pass 1310m @33H-62.2]
The wide open upper valley provides good grazing land for cattle and is used in the summer months for this purpose. Therefore, numerous animal tracks can be spotted in this area. In this area the GPS track often indicate an approximate route only and hikers should seek their way more freely. Only where the route enters a patch of trees the route should be followed closely. Towards the end of the valley the route becomes steeper and fields of rocks require careful walking. Water from the river should be filtered or boiled before consumption. There are plenty of attractive camp sites. The last reasonable well protected spot to pitch a tent is [Camp @33H-61.2]. The next protected camp site is approx. 3 to 4 hours walking hours after the pass down in the upper valley of Rio Ventisquiero after Kilometer 64.4.
Kilometer 62.2 to 64.0: Boulder descent on track [RR-CC-A@33H-62.1+1.9]
After the pass the route descents cross country through fields of boulders into the valley of Rio Ventisquiero. The GPS track guides around cliffs and should be followed relatively closely. Some water trickles down from the mountains above. The camp [Camp @33H-63.5] provides a perfect view of the Torres de Avellano but is very wind exposed and gets flooded in heavy rain. Therefore, pitch your tent only in this location if weather conditions are perfect and after checking the weather and wind forecast for the night and the next morning. If camping here, you will hear during the night the rumbling sound of falling glacier ice. Water can be collected in the glacier lake. There is no more drinking water from the glacier lake to Rio Ventisquiero at Kilometer 64.4.
Kilometer 64.0 to 64.4: Forest bush bashing on track [RR-BB-A@33H-64.0+0.4]
When reaching the end of boulder field enter the forest and seek your way 400 m through the forest to the Rio Ventisquiero. The bush bashing though the forest is slow and demanding.
Kilometer 64.4 to 68.6: Upper valley of Rio Ventisquiero on track [RR-CC&BB-A@33H-64.4+4.2]
The upper valley of Rio Venitsquiero got filled with sediments from the surrounding mountains. Therefore, the base of this upper valley is now 100 m to 200 m wide, flat and only lightly sloped. The valley bottom is covered by bare river sediments, swamps and some pastures that get occasionally used as grazing ground for cattle. Therefore, several vague animal tracks are visible but there is no continuous main trail. In this upper valley livestock rooms freely on the riverbanks, in the river itself, though the swamps and over the pastures but also in the rather open forest on either side of the river. In the same manner hikers should freely seek their way until reaching the trail head [Trail @33H-68.6]. Water is readily available but may need to be filtered or boiled. There are also several spots for a tent in this upper valley.
Kilometer 68.6 to 69.9: Descent in forest on track [RR-TL-V@33H-68.6+1.4]
At the end of the upper valley the Rio Ventisquiero enters a tight gorge and cascades down into the valley of Rio Avellano. Just before this gorge a trail starts, leads away from the river and descents through the forest to Rio Avellano. This trail is steep in parts and occasionally obstructed by fallen trees. About 300 m after leaving the river a tent can pitched in an old corral but water must be brought from the river [Camp NO Water @33H-68.9].
Kilometer 69.9 to 85.7: Horse trail along lower Rio Avellano to [Ford (Rio Avellano) @33H-85.7]
The horse trail along Rio Avellano is frequently used and well maintained. Several pastures provide nice camp sites and water is readily available but may need to be filtered or boiled. Rio Avellano must be crossed at least once at [Ford (Rio Avellano) @33H-81.4]. When passing the two homestead farms [Settler (Maria & Julio) @33H-76.9] and [Settler (Luis Diaz) @33H-85.2] be a kind guest and salute the owners of the land that you are crossing. If you visit Luis Diaz you will need to cross Rio Avellano two more times. In case Rio Avellano can not be forded on foot you may these settlers for help to cross the river on horseback.
Kilometer 85.7 to 98.7: Minor road along Rio Avellano to Puerto Avelleno to diversion [Div @33H-98.7]
Years ago, a mining company researched the lower valley of Rio Avellano for precious metals and build a minor road to facilitate this investigation. Luckily, the research did not result in the opening of mine, but the minor road remains in use. The road terminates at Puerto Avellano on the shore of Lago General Carrera. Water and camp sites can be found regularly on this route.
Kilometer 98.7 to 118.6: Horse trail along Lago General Carrera on track [RR-TL-V@33H-98.7+19.9]
The settlers in the valley of Rio Avellano get to their outposts either by ferry or on horseback. This horse trail next to Lago General Carrera is also occasionally used to move animals between the valley of Rio Avellano and Levicán. Walking this horse trail means quite some pointless ups and downs (“PUDs”) due to the very steep and rocky terrain. Occasionally streams cross the path and provide drinking water to refill bottles every hour or two. This steep terrain and the dense semi-desert vegetation makes it difficult to find a suitable camp site. The two best spots to pitch a tent are documented [Camp @33H-114.5] and [Camp @33H-116.9].
Kilometer 118.6 to 131.4: Minor road from Lago General Carrera to Levicán to diversion [Div Levican @33H-131.4]
In 2019 the minor road from Levicán was extended by 2 or 3 km and reaches now the shore of Lago General Carrera. With this extension some horse trail might become disused and overgrown in the coming years. Therefore, hikers should follow this new minor road from the shore of Lago General Carrera. This new route is not yet recorded in detail by GPS and therefore currently an investigation route. Before ascending this road refill your water bottles and bags as Lago General Carrera as this is the last reliable water supply for the next 22 km. Pastures around the settlers home provide nice camp sites but if these settlers are not at homes hikers might struggle to get water. The next reliable water supply is in the vicinity of [Bridge @33H-130.4].
Kilometer 131.4 to 157.5: Road from Levicán to section end in Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez
A wide and well maintained gravel road connects Levicán with Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez. Subsidized buses provide public transportation on the morning and the evening on Monday and Friday only. Chances to get a lift when hitchhiking are reasonably good. Water bottles can be refilled where the road gets in close vicinity of Rio Ibañez or at settlers homes. The occasional pastures along the road provide suitable camp sites.
For additional information see the Wikiexplora Articles:
Regular Packrafting Route
Kilometer 0.0 to 98.7: Same as Regular Hiking Route.
Packrafting Kilometer 98.7 to 131.4: Packrafting the coast of Lago General Carrera from Puerto Avellano to Levicán
Due to the normally strong wind and the resulting high waves packrafting Lago General Carrera is challenging and not inherently safe even if paddling close to the shore and in the predominant wind direction (from Puerto Avellano towards Levicán). This lake is infamous for suddenly starting wind, therefore don’t rely only on your observations but check the wind forecast before inflating the packraft. Only if a sufficiently long window of calm weather is predicted consider packrafting. The steep and rocky coast often inhibits exiting the lake and connecting to the trail. The 8.5 km long segment between [Lake In/Out @33H-104.6] and [Lake In/Out @33H-114.7] is without a suitable connection to the trail.
First 6.6 km till from [Lake In/Out @33H-98.9] to [Lake In/Out @33H-104.6]: Continuously easy lake exit and good trail access
Next 4.3 km till [Emergency Lake Out @33H-109.8]: No safe lake exit and no access to trail
At [Emergency Lake Out @33H-109.8]: Small beach for emergency lake exit but very difficult access to trail
Next 4.2 km till [Lake In/Out @33H-114.7]: No safe lake exit and no access to trail
At [Lake In/Out @33H-114.7]: Easy lake exit and good access to trail
Next 2.0 km till [Lake In/Out @33H-116.7]: No safe lake exit and no access to trail
Next 1.7 km till [Lake In/Out @33H-116.7]: Continuously easy lake exit and good access to trail
Next 10 km till [Lake In/Out @33H-127.7]: At least every 2 km beaches to exit lake but very difficult access to trail
Packrafting from Levicán to Puerto Avellano in south-western direction is not recommended due to the opposite predominant wind direction.
Kilometer 131.4 to 143.8: Walking from Levicán to Rio Ibañez at [River In @33H-143.8]
Packrafting from Levican to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez in northern direction is not recommended due to the opposite predominant wind direction. Therefore packrafter should walk the hiking route from Levicãn to Rio Ibañez at [River In @33H-143.8]. Only when travelling from Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez to Levian packrafting might be considered on an exceptionally calm morning or evening.
Packrafting Kilometer 143.8 to 147.0: Packraft crossing of Rio Ibañez and walk to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez
With a packraft it is normally not necessary to roadwalk 12.6 km via [Bridge @33H-148.7] and [Bridge @33H-149.5] to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañaez but Rio Ibañez can be crossed by packraft. Therefore, packrafters should consider inflating the packraft at [River In @33H-143.8] and take the 3.1 km short cut into town.
GPT33H Option 1 Valle Ibañez
Outside of the recommended travel period or in poor weather hikers should consider taking the substantially shorter and less exposed Option 1.
This route is one of the remaining fragments of the Sendero de Chile trail project. Should you see “Prohibido entrar” signs (“Do not enter”) on a gate then don´t get discouraged to continue. These signs refer most likely to cars and not to hikers. The northern third of this optional route is mostly on trails while the remaining part follows minor roads. Hikers that walked this route described it as easy walking and scenic. Hitchhiking is possible and promising.
GPT33H Option 2 Torres de Avellano Bypass
The regular route via [Pass 1310m @33H-62.2] is very exposed. In bad weather hikers should consider taking Option 2 which is a well maintained trail in the less exposed valley of Río Avellano.
The Torres de Avellano Bypass requires about one dozen river crossings. By taking this bypass hikers miss the highlight of this section but in poor weather the Torres de Avellano are anyway covered in clouds and not visible.
GPT33H Option 3 Carretera Austral
This optional route represents the Carretera Austral between Villa Cerro Castillo and Puerto Tranquilo. Walking the Carrera Austral is not suggest but hikers that opt to walk Option 4,5 and/or 6 should take a bus that travels the Carretera Austral. This optional route is also the closest land route next to the packrafting option on the upper Rio Ibañez (GPT32 Option 6), Rio Murta (GPT33H Option 10) and Lago General Carrera (GPT33H Option 11).
GPT33H Option 4 Puerto Cristal
This fully verified route is a combination of minor roads, trails and cross country routes in the vicinity of Lago General Carrera that connects Bahia Murta via Puerto Sanchez and Puerto Cristales with Puerto Avellano. It is of interest for hikers that partly travel the Carretera Austral by bus and wish to explore the Valle Miller and the Valle Jaramillo to explore the little known western side of the Torres de Avellano.
For more information see the Wikiexplora Article:
GPT33H Option 5 Valle Miller
The Valle Miller to the west of the Torres de Avellano is a death-end valley without a suitable hiking connection to the adjacent valleys. Therefore, this option is of interest for hikers that wish to explore the scenic Cordillera de Avellano without an ambitious long-distance goal.
For more information see the Wikiexplora Articles:
GPT33H Option 6 Altiplano Este
This option is of interest for hikers that wish to explore an undocumented route that climbs up high up into treeless rocky terrain. The steep and long ascent will most likely require some demanding route finding and clambering what will not appeal to all hikers.
The settlers in Valle Avellano and the residents of Levicán described this route that traverses the altiplano and connects these two homesteads. This cross country routes climbs steep up from Río Avellano, reaches an altitude of 2170 m and then descends gradually towards Levicán. This route through barren terrain grants impressive views over Lago General Carrera and the surrounding mountains. But the elevated and exposed terrain makes this a “good weather only route”. Locals warned that strong wind, low clouds and snowstorms can transform this area into a disorienting and hostile place even in mid summer. There seems no drinking water on the altiplano (apart from remaining snow) and the satellite images do not indicate suitable wind protected camp sites in the elevated area. This route is not yet investigated by hikers and recorded by GPS.
GPT33H Option 7 Ruta Alto Norte
Hikers that are appealed by clambering through elevated exposed terrain might enjoy this shorter but not necessarily faster investigation route. The settlers in Valle Avellano confirmed that this route has been used occasionally but no GPS record or detailed description is available. The character of this route is similar to the above described Option 6 but Option 7 might require in addition some bush-bashing.
A part of this route is described in the Wikiexplora Article:
GPT33H Option 8 Valle Resbalín
This option is of interest for hikers that partly bus the Carretera Austral and wish to investigate routes. The Valley of Rio Resbalín connects Bahia Murta with the valley of Rio Avellano. This only partly verified optional route is approximately 20 km long and the shortest access to the Torres de Avellano from the Carretera Austral.
Till around 2010 the settlers of Bahia Murta used this trail to drive animals to the summer pastures in the Cordillera Avellano. But a landslide halfway on this route made this traverse unsuitable for animals. Now the center part of this route is unmaintained and difficult to follow. This makes it preferable to investigate this route from Bahia Murta and not from Rio Avellano. Therefore, hikers that wish to explore this option should take a bus that travels the Carretera Austral (See GPT33H) and leave the bus at the Bahia Murta junction. Hikers should carry a machete and be prepared that it may take up to two days to reach the Regular Route at [Puesto @33H-53.0]. If the now unmaintained trail turns out impassable than hikers can backtrack to Bahia Murta, resupply in this village and:
- walk along the Lago General Carrera via Puerto Sanchez and Puerto Cristal to Puerto Avellano (see GPT33H Option 4) or
- walk into Valle Miller and Valle Jaramillo on the western side of the Torres de Avellano (see GPT33H Option 5).
GPT33H Option 9 Laguna Verde
Packrafters that hike the section GPT33H northbound i.e. after crossing Lago General Carrera from Fachinal to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez best terminate this section via Option 9 to use the packraft on the final 21 km to Villa Cerro Castillo. For more information see Combining GPT33H with GPT32.
GPT33H Option 10 Río Murta
This option is attractive for packrafters that use public transportation to cherry-pick easily accessible water routes or that plan to hike Option 4, Option 5 and Option 8 or that want to packraft GPT33H Option 11 along the shore of Lago General Carrera.
Rio Murta is a beautiful turquoise river that meanders through a wide valley and is surrounded by snow-covered peaks. The 44 km long river section from the recommended put-in till the outlet into Lago General Carrera is free of rapids and can be packrafted southbound only. The river descends gradually 70 m (elevation difference) over these 44 km what results in a moderate to fast river speed. The water volume changes substantially between seasons and depending on rain. Especially in late summer and autumn this river can be rather shallow even for a packraft resulting in ground contacts. A bigger hazard for packrafters are the dead trees in the bends where the current often accelerates. Many wide gravel banks facilitate entering and exiting the river. The nearby Carretera Austral can be easily reached in various locations
GPT33H Option 11 Lago General Carrera Oeste
Packrafters that look for a special challenge may consider paddling along the shore of Lago General Carrera. But only patient packrafters without a tight schedule may attempt this route should as the normally strong wind makes packrafting most of the time unsafe. During spring or autumn chances are better to have some days with less wind than during summer.
The proposed route follows the shoreline close to lake exits and in parallel to land routes to continue walking if wind impedes packrafting. Due to the predominant wind direction this route can only be paddled in westbound direction. The crossing from Puerto Tranquilo to Puerto Sanchez requires particular caution and should only be attempted on a very calm morning or evening [ OP-LK-2@33H-11-#002]. It is not advisable to packraft between [Lake In/Out @33H-11-#006] and [Lake In/Out @33H-11-#007] as the steep and particular wind exposed coast impedes exiting the lake in this 12 km long area. The advises to the #Regular Packrafting Route are equally applicable.
Investigations and Explorations
Links to other Resources
Route Development and Contributors
Until 2019 the Regular Route followed the Sendero de Chile in the vicinity of Rio Ibañez what is now Option 1. Tobias Hellwig suggested to reroute the GPT via the Torres de Avellano to incorporate this hidden treasure. This proposed new route was investigated and documented in February 2020 by the founders of the GPT. By this time multiple segments of this new route were already published on Wikiexplora by other authors. Only the route from Kilometer 62.2 to 69.9 remained undocumented and had to be researched and ground-proved.
Alerts, Suggestions and Section Logs of Past Seasons
- February 2021 from Bahía Murta to Torres del Avellano to Carretera Austral
Northbound, 5 days. Valle Resfalín/Resfalón (Option 8) + Mirador Torres del Avellano + Regular Hike + Escape to Carretera Austral (Option 3B) + Hitchhiking to Villa Cerro Castillo
Day 1: Bahia Murta to Camp #5 (Camp ? @33H-08-#005) / 11.5 km / 6 hours
The hike started at Bahía Murta, on a steep hillside. We used the GPS tracks to find the path, and from there on it’s pretty easy to follow the path (when in doubt, we checked the GPS). It’s a very nice hike, and at the end of the day it’s necessary to cross the river. We both had trekking sandals, which came in handy every time we had to cross a river. Just after the river there is a camp option. We found a nice spot on the other side of the wooden fence, but there are many more options up the small hill. It was a perfect place for sleeping, with the soothing sound of the river.
Day 2: Camp #5 (Camp ? @33H-08-#005) to Regular Route at Mallín Quemado (Camp ? @33H-08-#010) / 11.7 km / 8 hours
This was one of the longest days for us, mainly because we underestimated how much time it takes to walk through a path that’s been reclaimed by nature. The day started with a steep uphill, where we lost the path for a while and then had to check the GPS to find it again. There are streams on the way where it’s possible to refill the water bottles. About a third way in, at (-46.38537, -72.55201), the path collapsed, probably washed out by the river. We took a look around and decided it was way safer to cross the river than to continue on the collapsed path (it was late February, so the river was not so full). We crossed to the other side, and 100m ahead crossed back. This is definitively the trickiest part of the day (although a bit farther ahead we found ourselves in the middle of a caterpillar forest...not really pleasant). Just after the crossing the are two camp sites (Camp ? @33H-08-#008 and Camp ? @33H-08-#009), but we would recommend keep going as the second part of the day is definitively easier than the first. Farther ahead we found two more camp site options: at (-46.36768, -72.53116) on this side of the river and at (-46.36722, -72.53088) on the other side of the river. We considered sleeping there, because we were exhausted, but in the end we decided to keep going as we still had some hours of daylight left. This was the right choice, because that way we could sleep at Mallín Quemado and then the next day do the day trip to Torres del Avellano. Mallín Quemado is the name the locals use for the big forest area that was “burned” by the ashes of Volcan Hudson. It’s near (Puesto @33H-53.0) and it’s a perfect place for sleeping. We decided to boil the water from the small stream, because there were some cattle grazing around.
Day 3: Camp #10 (Camp ? @33H-08-#010) to Mirador Laguna y Torres del Avellano and back to Camp #10 / 7.1 km (each way) / 3 hours (each way)
We started early and with a lot of motivation to go and see the Torres del Avellano. Sadly the day was a bit cloudy, but nonetheless it was totally worth it: the views from up there are breathtaking! A lot of glaciers and superstreams with the purest water you can ask for. When we arrived back at the camp, we met the first person in 3 days: Francisco, a teacher from Puerto Aysen. He came up the other way, from Villa Cerro Castillo, and was planning on going to Torres del Avellano on the next day, and then head back to Villa Cerro Castillo.
Day 4: Camp #10 (Camp ? @33H-08-#010) to Camp at (-46.26244, -72.35118) / 21.6 km / 8 hours
Another long day, but without any difficult parts. This section of the hike is way more popular than Valle Resfalín/Resfalón, so the path is way easier to follow. The first section, until the car road, is really beautiful. We even saw some (semi) wild horses! We knew that once the car road started there wouldn’t be so many camp site options, so we kept our eyes open. The car road goes through a narrow valley, and then comes a steep down hill. At the bottom of the hill, on the left side, there is a small meadow, where it’s possible to pitch a tent (-46.26244, 72.35118). Water is available 100m down a steep hill.
Day 5: Camp at (-46.26244, -72.35118) to Carretera Austral / 14.8 km / 4 hours
Following the main car road to Carretera Austral it’s impossible to get lost. We didn’t find any stream on the way, but in case of needing water there are many houses. Just be sure to ask nicely :) Once on the Carretera Austral we hitchhiked to Villa Cerro Castillo. We only had to wait for 30 minutes to get a ride, and considering that we did this during covid times...not too bad. We also had the backup plan of Francisco, who would be driving to Villa Cerro Castillo later that day. Funny enough, we ran into Francisco by chance in Villa Cerro Castillo and he invited us to an ice cream. It was a nice way of ending the trip.
We are extremely grateful to Jan and all the people from wikiexplora for making this adventure possible!
Season 2019/2020 New RR
- Section 33: RR(New!) from Ibáñez. Exit via Option 8 to Bahía Murta.
Westbound. 11 days. Party (3): Mum, Sis and I.
Ibáñez y Península Levican: Continuing our extended stay in Chile we caught a government subsidised bus from Cerró Castillo to Ibáñez where we learnt after a somewhat lengthy process: talking to the ticket office, boat personnel and then the carabineros (an officer and then his jefe!), everyone passing the buck; that without a certificado de salud (not available in town, and only online) we couldn't board the vessel. The upside was that the Naviera Austral had fantastic baños (yes! they were open!) and the cleaning lady let us have a quick body wash and even do a little laundry before she had to close up. There was also limited WiFi connectivity (only WhatsApp would work) and powerpoints where we could charge our things. It also happens that we bumped into a Zulema Amoroz who was born in Fachinal, most likely a relative of Carloz Amoros who offers the boat service from Fachinal across the lake (we contacted him but no boats were allowed on the lake). If you hang around near where the ferry docks you might find her selling coffee and alfajores.
We quickly decided to walk the new Section 33 Jan recently published, but end in Bahía Murta instead (i.e. explore option 8). Some effort was exhausted trying to organise a lift out to Península Levican. We did find someone for $30k, (it seemed a little steep but that's roughly what to expect), but it wouldn't be till the following day and we needed to get out of town to spend the night. We stocked up on food and started out on foot on the old RR (now Option 1) camping before we reached Río Ibáñez.
I had a little concern about water on the way to Levican, but there are two or three good streams along the way: (-46.31022, -71.97272) (-46.32470, -71.96457) (-46.34091, -71.94069)
In Puerto Ray a lady (also named Zulema!) warmed up to us and let us camp in her fruit orchard. In the morning we bought some eggs and 'bread' from them. Her husband was tanning a chivo hide; he had such a jolly step!
Along Lago General Carrera: We went back to the junction (Div Levican @33H-131.4) where a good emergency shelter exists. The road is still very clear from here, but don't expect any traffic. I think it was a rare sight that we saw an old Mercedes truck full of wood lumbering (pun intended ;) out. The rd deviates a little from the track files maybe due to the pine plantations. There are many new rds., so take care you don't go the wrong way. Taking the RR you will pass through a locked gate (-46.38234, -71.96692), after this keep an eye out for a gate on the left. It's not in the track files and we didn't look for it, so maybe it's not there. The issue we had was that the road continues up the hill, deviating from the RR around (-46.38448, -71.97642). Here you should already be on the small road on the other side of the fence (someone traveling towards Levican/Ibáñez will find this easier to scope I imagine). Though it's not recommended to cross fences, we carefully crossed instead of heading back. A very minor Rd continues down to a dilapidated puesto and a couple of portóns. The road didn't seem to continue as indicated in the track files... but I wasn't following my gps. We CCed across a field until we encountered another road that led back to the RR.
You will finally encounter your first reliable water source since Levican (-46.40196, -71.97831), especially if you are heading towards Ibáñez, make sure you fill up here!
The two camps in the track files at km117 and km114 were the best we saw. The next obvious choice would be around Campo Chico I think, quite a bit further along. Plenty of water along the lake and we had plenty of apples seeing we were walking so late in the walking season. Amazing autumn colours! The track is also in good shape, someone had very recently 'cleaned' the way! The refugio at Los Álamos was a very welcome sight, a great place to spend a night (it's there because of the high winds possible on the lake). The nearby settler was resonably friendly and his dog Puestero even more so! He told us that it was him who 'cleaned' the track along Lago General. It made our walking so much easier! Thanks Armando!
Valle Avellano y Ventisquiero: The old mining road through Valle Avellano was easy to follow. The road actually continues significantly further than indicated in the track files. Taking Variation F to avoid extra crossings of the river we found the road ended about here: (-46.45730, -72.30207). There is an unmarked ford here: (-46.46107, -72.24636)
We took Variation D and just caught Maria and Julio before they headed out with their kids on a horse ride. We bought some bread from them. They called it a tortilla, but I think my Mexican friends would strongly argue the point ;)
Easy walking up into Valle Ventisquiero. Read Jan's track notes. They are quite thorough. The trail to remeet Río Avellano is a little unused (also as mentioned in his write up), but easy to follow. Some good camping before the river. We met some gouchos using the puesto, they were not overly friendly; I think a little scared because of the virus. They pointed out a nearby shelter we could use made from a very old technique using U-shaped logs (I met a carpenter in Murta who told me a little about it).
Option 8: Valle Resbalín/Resfalón(?): It was snowing in the morning. We decided to take Option 8 to Bahía Murta. This meant less road walking and involved a part marked as 'I' (investigation) which would be nice to document. It appears that this route down Valle Resbalín (or "Resfalón" as some locals in Murta told me it was named... anyone know?) is no longer used; quite overgrown, vague and in places difficult to detect at all. Sometimes all we could see was the occasional chainsawed log; and in some chutes: machete marks. Water was plentiful. There was a very old but partially functional puesto en route.
There is a junction ('div') here: (-46.37495, -72.53695). The trail heading up the side valley actually looked quite distinct. I'm not sure what it's name is, or what's up there, but the water was a nice glacier blue and it had a higher flow than the 'main' named river.
The only tricky spot to find the track was where it was washed away by the river, about here: (-46.38527, -72.55201). I cut steps in the bank, crossed, and dropped a rope down for the others. It would be much safer to walk in the river. We explored options to bypass via skirting around in the bosque, but they didn't seem practical. The nearby camp site marked in the track files (Camp ? @33H-08-#008) is not really good. Better to camp 200m upstream If camping around here. We camped at the confluence with Estero Sur, which is the best spot to camp we saw in the entire valley. From this point down the valley, the track is in use: plenty of fresh signs of cattle (maybe they graze in the side valleys?). Ford Estero Sur (-46.39815, -72.58224) and follow the track down the valley with ease. There is camping at (Camp ? @33H-08-#004) but better 300m down the valley near a corral. 50m down valley of (Camp ? @33H-08-#002) camping is possible next to the vague ruins of an old puesto. Further down the valley are several grassy areas good for camping, the most obvious is here (-46.43778, -72.65597) in the vicinity of the old puesto. The track (as opposed to Rd) continues much further than indicated in the track files. The road only starts about here (-46.44697, -72.66655) once you are nearly in Murta. We rested a full day in Murta and I happened to run into Felepé who we'd meet before the trip in Cerró Castillo. Loco!
Thanks Jan for making this trip possible, Tobias Hellwig for recommending the reroute, and all the people on wikiexplora who explored and documented the tracks.
If anyone has any information on the history of Valle Resbalín/Resfalón(?), the mining prospectors in Valle Avellano, or the settlers that abandoned the coast of Lago General Carrera, I'd love to read a bit.
I hope this helps someone. Thanks!
Oh! and we're back in Cochrane now and planning to be in Coyhaique in a week or so. Cheers.
Be aware that the below logs refer to Option 1 and not to the new Regular Route that was completely redrafted in March 2020.
- 10 Mar 2020 / RH SOBO / Ty / 1 day
Super easy in general. I was able to get a hitch for like the last 10 kilometers. There’s a lot of different trail you can wander off on at the start of the sendero de Chile, so just be aware of your navigation at the start. The only good easily accessible water I found was between the two lakes before the intersection where you start walking the road. The ferry to Chile Chico leaves around 8 and takes a couple hours. Otherwise the next ferry leaves at 11 am....but make sure to confirm these times yourself. When arriving in Chile Chico, I climbed up to the viewpoint/mirador close to the ferry landing and found a place protected on the wind and slept on the ground. There is also an abandoned house marked in I-overlander that has an area in a room big enough for a 2 person tent. It’s on your right just before the climb up to the mirador.
- Jan 2020 / RH Northbound / Matthieu / 2 days
No technical difficulties on this part. However, I was stopped, when the GPT leave the road to go between the two lakes, by a sign : área protegida, ingreso no permitido. For me, it was cristal clear, so I just continued the road, disappointed. I spoke to one of the settler not far, who told me that it was only for cars and it s ok for walkers, and that it is part of the "Sendero de Chile". So the way seems open finally. Anyway, there is another little path just before the lago Ardillas that goes north, and join the GPS tracks above the Valley Ibanez. Well maintained, in the hills, lots of cows, good experience.
- 2019 Jan/ Olrik / Northbound
From Ibanez you walk on a dirt road to the entrance of a Reserva Natural. You are on the Sendero de Chile so it is well marked. In the reserva the trail is easy to follow and there was no one. You end up in Cerro Castillo. We did it in 2.5 days but could be done in 1 day if beginning early.
- 2019-Nov-28/ Lea Geibel/ 1 day / Northbound / Regular Hiking Route (Puerto Ibañez to Villa Cerro Castillo)
After arriving with the ferry at 10.30 a.m., the section can be hiked in one day (around 8 hours of walking). Most of the section is on a dirt road with very little traffic. The part that is following a trail is marked with posts with red / white rings on them. Occasionally the trail is not very visible but numerous animals tracks are usually heading in the right direction before eventually meeting up with a trail marker again.