Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Ulyses, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Snap! Thanks man! I should clarify though, it's not actually my birthday yet; it's still six days out.
  2. mathews42

    mathews42 Been here awhile

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    Great pics! That one of your buddy was sick! The business casual hiking comment had me cracking up!!!!!!
  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Spectacular!!! :clap
    That is one place on earth I've always wanted to hike into & see.
  4. Perrymedic

    Perrymedic What was that?

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    Just getting in front of the crowd :D Keep it going!
  5. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 140 (March 5, 2013)
    Campamento Italiano, Mirador de Las Torres, and Valle de Silencio
    Day's Hike: 13.75 Miles

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    On what was supposed to be our last day, we woke up at 5:30 AM, packed a few things in our bags, and started hiking for the base of the Torres in order to catch the sunset. We made it to the Mirador about an hour before sunrise and unpacked our stove to cook breakfast while we waited for the sun to top the ridge.

    When the sun finally broke, the view was fantastic.

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    We spent an hour just watching the sun paint the towers. Eventually we turned around and hiked back down to the campground. At this point we had a decision to make: stay an extra day and hike up to the valley of silence or pack up and head back to Puerto Notales.

    Dylan's knee had been hurting him since day three and after we had descended from the Mirador, he decided to pack it up and head back. I decided to stick around for another hour or so and see how the weather turned out before committing to an extra day.

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    I sat around and cooked some of my newly donated food and waited for the weather to make up it's mind. Eventually things started looking good and my new Ranger friend Leo and the two girls I had met, Crystal and Christen, decided they were ready to go. We started hiking north up a valley that was closed to hiking without a climbing permit or a ranger escort towards a campsite known as Japonesa.

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    Since this area was closed to hiking, we had it all to ourselves. This was what I had been wanting ever since I got into the park: a beautiful alpine valley with no tourists.

    Leo the Ranger took us up to a little cave that climbers used as a base camp when climbing the torres and we got inside and cooked a little lunch.

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    We continued up a high glacial carved valley above the tree line, following the path that climbers take to reach the base of the Torres.

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    We drank water straight from the hanging glaciers that lined the path.

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    We eventually reached the head of the valley and began scrambling up the talus towards the base of the towers.

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    Eventually the talus gave way to steeply inclined granite slabs. With some slight misgivings, I began climbing. Unfortunately, the wind started picking up and blowing rocks down on us. This combined with the fact that a small slip would send you sliding down the slabs for a couple hundred feet convinced us that we had gone far enough.

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    On the way down we found some snow fields and I went for a little standing glisade.

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    First turns of the season for me; man, I can't wait to get a little skiing in when I get back. Check out these sick lines :D....

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    Coming down the valley we passed by glaciers that were buried underneath dirt and talus:

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    As we were hiking back down, some small squalls moved in and we started getting snowed on.

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    At around 7:00 PM we made it back to camp and cooked up a huge communal feast with our remaining food. We had found a few cloves of garlic lying on the trail on our way back down, and we cut it up and added it to our soups, pastas, toasted bread, and mashed potatoes. It was epic. There's something about hiking that makes me dream about food and savor every calorie.
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 141 (March 6, 2013)
    Campamento Torres to Hotel Las Torres
    Day's Hike: 3 Miles

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    Waking up early, I packed up, cooked a little chow, and started hiking out of the park with Christen and Crystal. The hike was relatively short and I it made to Hotel Las Torres fairly quickly.

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    We had some time to kill so we cooked up the last of our remaining food and waited for the bus to arrive.

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    We got on the bus and I immediately went unconscious. We got back to Puerto Notales and I returned my rented gear then went to the bar owned by the same guys that run Erratic Rock and drank a couple liters of beer.

    All told I had a great time. It's been a while since I've done anything physical and spending almost a week off the bike hiking through some pristine Patagonian wild lands was a welcome change. All told the hike covered just under 65 miles in 6 days. It wasn't an extremely fast pace but it was still quick enough for me to get a good work out. My only complaint about the trip was the amount of people that were in the park. Other than that, I would highly recommend it.

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  7. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

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    Bryce , I want to thank you for an epic ride report ! I have been following along from the start and it keeps getting better . Your photography skills seem to be getting better and better . Those shots from your last hike were great . When you went into the glacial lake , it brought back memories of doing that myself . It is hard to describe the pain it brings on and how slow it leaves . Best of luck on the rest of your ride . Thanks again from an armchair adventurer . :clap:clap :clap :clap :clap
  8. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 142 (March 7, 2013)
    Puerto Notales, Chile
    Day's Ride: 0 Miles

    I spent the day after the hike recovering from the hike and the previous nights celebration. Did a lot of computer work trying to upload photos and update the ride report (or maybe it's a hike report now) from the previous few days. That evening we met up with a bunch of people that we had met on the hike and cooked a big dinner: chicken stir fry, rice, chocolate mousse, and bananas baked with Toblerone. Pictured from right to left: Freddy, Christen, Crystal, Dylan, and myself.

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  9. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    ^^^ Life is tough, eh? :wink:
  10. Sandino

    Sandino Been here awhile

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    Fantastic trip mate, lovely pictures!!, are you coming to Paraguay?, let me know if so rirolone at hotmail dot com.
    cheers :freaky
  11. offroute

    offroute Been here awhile

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    Great report. I've been following for more than a month and have enjoyed all the posts. I hope to follow both your boot and tire tracks someday soon.
  12. Mossy-Back

    Mossy-Back Brown Falcon

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    Awesome! Great pictures!
  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Great pics and glad to hear you had a good time. Those towers, as well as Fitzroy, and Cerro Torre, have haunted my thoughts for decades. It was good to have finally seen all of them in person, even knowing that I will never climb any of them. The outrageously inaccessible Polar Sun Spire on Baffin of Canada was a siren song as well, but not nearly as strong as Patagonia.

    My days of multi-day big wall climbing nail ups may have faded into fantasy, but I still have nightmares about those Patagonian big walls. Sea of Dreams and Wyoming Sheep Ranch (I soloed both in the summer of 1994) and was quite proud of doing so, have nothing on that stuff. Shit, almost 20 years ago. I'm fucking old. When I looked at those Patagonian towers, all I could see besides the stunning beauty, was the immense suffering. :1drink Wow, what magical places, those Patagonian big walls. The stuff of dreams, and more often, nightmares.

    Great report che. Que le vaya bien.
  14. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Man, I didn't know that you were a climber! Rock on! I couldn't imagine climbing those things. Like you said, immense suffering....
  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Probably won't by coming by Paraguay, but if I do, I'll hit you up!
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 143 (March 8, 2013)
    Puerto Natales, Chile
    Day's Ride: 0 Miles

    Did nothing today. Except find a Brewery called "Bagueles" (I think that's how it's spelled?) and drink lots of beer. If you are ever in this town, make sure to stop there. It's owned by an American and two Chileans. They actually import hops from the PNF, and their "rubia" actually tastes like an IPA.
  17. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Sounds like a perfect day to me. :freaky

    Yeah man, except for a little waterfall ice and some short easy day climbs now and then, my climbing days are pretty much over. I lost my nerve for the multi day nail up horror shows. The suffering part isnt much fun anymore either. Old age I guess. :lol3
  18. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    As individuals, not all hills are meant to be climbed (physically and metaphorically). Accepting that makes it easier to find inner peace.
  19. Manolito

    Manolito Patagonia guide

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    Yesterday I was 4 miles from Puerto Natales! f*ck!!!!
  20. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 144 (March 9, 2013)
    Puerto Natales, Chile to El Calafate, Argentina
    Day's Ride: 174 Miles

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    Ripio is supposed to mean gravel. It's pronounced ree-pee-o. Ripio. I like gravel. I hate ripio.

    I woke up this morning to the patter of rain drops on the roof. A quick step outside confirmed that the weather was absolutely horrible: 47 degrees and raining. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and that I should probably just hang out at the Hostel until the weather improved a bit. :1drink

    Meanwhile, Dylan had worked out a deal with a new friend and was going to give her a ride back south to Punta Arenas. She was under a bit of a time crunch though, so they had to leave while the weather was still crappy. She had on a borrowed half-helmet, some kind of hiking rain gear, and a pair of hiking boots. I'm not sure if they made it all the way down there without freezing to death..:eek1

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    I sat around reading books until about noon. The weather started to finally clear up a little bit and I hit the road. A few minutes after leaving Puerto Natales, I was back in Argentina.

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    I was soon back on Ruta 40. The majority of it has been paved over; however, there are still some gnarly stretches of the infamous ripio to be found. I figured that they were all a little further north; little did I suspect that I was in for a bit of a surprise.

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    Typically I like a bit of gravel. However, when there is a high concentration of baseball sized stones mixed in with the smaller stuff, my enjoyment level goes down quite a bit. And when those baseball sized stones start getting wet and combining with gravel ruts, I start getting annoyed.

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    And when you add a 40 MPH crosswind, a light rain, and some thick clay mud to all of that nastiness, it just gets straight up depressing....

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    I'm really lucky that I didn't take a dirt nap today. The treads on my tires were filled up with mud nearly the entire time and I had zero control and almost no traction. At several points the mud was so thick on my bike that it got sucked up underneath my chain and transported some rocks through the counter sprocket. I had to stop a couple of times and clean things out.

    Luckily, this was just a short stretch of ripio. Right when I was about to have a frustrated melt down, I linked back up with the "pavemiento" and was riding in the sun with the Patagonian Andes and Fitz Roy on the horizon.

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    It's amazing to think that Ruta 40 used to be almost all ripio. Now, it's nearly all paved. In a few more years, you won't get to experience the suicide gravel known as ripio.

    I made it into El Calafate around 7:00 PM and got a camp site at a nice place right next to two bikers from Quebec who had been on the road since July.

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    Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and go see the Perrito Moreno glacier then bounce up to El Chalten in preparation for some hiking around Fitz Roy.