GPT34P (Lago Chelenko)
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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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- 1 Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions
- 2 Resupply and Accommodation
- 3 Transport to and from Route
- 4 Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues
- 5 Links to other Resources
- 6 Images
Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions
- 2022-Nov-20 to 2022-Nov-24 / 5 Days / Packrafting / Eastbound / GPT34P Option 2 and Option 3 and parts of GPT33H - Northern coast of Lago General Carrera from Puerto Sanchez to Levican (packrafting and hiking) / Meylin Ubilla and Jan Dudeck
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.
- Option: Pto Tranquilo - Cochrane/ Packrafting Route (Lago General Carrera and Río Baker)/ 2022 Feb-13/ 5 days / Tobias Schorcht and Jonas Grünewald
Packrafting on the shoreline of Lago General Carrera was possible with some difficulties. I visited the Marvel Caves and continued towards Lago Bertrand. There are numbers of bays which are suitable for camping. The wind direction changed fast (don’t count on the windy app), the worst part was the delta of Río Leones, where I couldn’t pass for 24h. Luckly I found the summer house of family Schneider (-46,74048, -72,77454) where I could stay overnight. They are welcoming and nice people, don’t be shy to ask them for help. Reached Pto Bertrand through Lago Bertrand without more difficulties and met Jonas there. He booked a rafting tour on the Upper Baker and I followed the raft with my Packraft. Our luggage was carried by the shuttle service of the rafting company. We faced 2 significant rapids class 3. If you want to have fun, go simply though the centre where the big waves are. I flipped once, but jumped fast back into my open packraft. If you want to go for the chicken line, stay always on the right side. After -47,05206, -72,81161 are no rapids until the confluence with Río Nef. We used the Packraft as a ferry to cross Río Nef and Baker. The official ferry on Río Baker (Balsa Baker) is getting maintained and recently out of order.
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 GPT34P - Lago General Carrera