Anybody out there been to Patagonia?

Anybody know where fun Class III or low volume IV rapids are?

I visted Bariloche, Argentina area and there were several fun rivers between lakes set in the mountains with trails, huts, granite and cool trees below treeline. There were volcanoes and condors, too, and little bronze lizards at altitude. The west side in Chile as far south as Pumalin was a steep granite spine dropping in white rivers to fjordlands of monkey puzzle trees, Alerce sequoias, southern beech, and penguins that looked like murres in the water. It’s a bit like S. Island NZ in that there’s a steep, wild west and wet side and a dry, cowboy country to the east. But neither place has anything bigger and wilder than sheep and cattle. I’d think that Wyoming and Montana, while not as exotic might be just as cool but I’d still like to go and wonder if anyone out there would share to write what they know…

There is actually a company guiding packraft trips in Patagonia. The company is Extremely Patagonia - they’ve got some pix here:

Likewise one of the banner images was taken in Patagonia.

The photographer is Martin Lunz.

I have just been contacted by two individuals who may be going down there for a trip. Hopefully they will post a great trip report! :smiley:

The southern part of the Caraterra Austral, the area around the RIo Nef and Baker south of Lago General Carerra would be cool. The Rio Nef espessially
More remote options off the road south of Cocharane.

Parque nacional Queulat would be awesome as well - a bit wet though with big peak options.

The trick would be making loops, since unless you arrange some crazy fjord pickup most of the rivers head that way so finding routes that you can get back to the camino austral would be key.

Here’s the web page from the fellow who shot the banner picture on the Alpacka site mentioned above:

It’s in German.

You can use Google translator ( to get the gyst of their trip – they are a couple of Germans traveling the world for a few years, mostly by heavily loaded road bikes (

Anyway, it seems they went to Torres del Paine Park in Chile and the Authorities were not too psyched to have them boat there; also the woman got flipped by a big wind in one of the lakes they paddled.

Info for what it’s worth…but that is good to know, that there are big winds coming off the icecaps and that makes all those big lakes on the east side in Patagonia probably not so good in packrafts, at least when the winds are blowing. Certainly better than a sea kayak, cause at least you can get out and walk!

I know of two individuals who are currently in Patagonia on a 30 day (ish) trip , both using Alpacka’s. Hopefully I can get them to post a trip report when they return. Keep your fingers crossed! I can’t wait to see photos… :stuck_out_tongue:

Peggy and I just returned from eight days in Torres del Paine National Park. We did the Paine Circuit in clockwise direction, hiking for two and a half days to Lago Dickson, then rafting down the Rio Paine, paddling across Lago Paine, and more Rio Paine until about a mile above the Paine Falls, for a day and a half of boating. Then we hiked two more days to Rio Grey and floated that out to the road. It was about 150 km in all and 50 km of it (30%) was boating.

The Paine Circuit is a classic Patagonian hike and the rafting had it all: splashy moraine low volume river, braided stuff through nirre forest, flat water lake paddling, big volume and fast but flat water river paddling, PR 3 boulder drops, PR 4 stuff over bedrock ledges, and Class V we didn’t run (!). WIth it’s mountains and glaciers and lakes of every color and braided rivers, a few big mammals, nasty brush, full-bodied weather, and white water ducks, this part of Patagonia reminded me more of Alaska than anyplace I’ve ever been.

Carrying the raft and gear (Peggy wore a dry suit) was worth it for the added dimension of boating and getting off our feet. We could’ve portaged the Paine Falls and put back in for another 15 km of rafting, but didn’t know what the final canyon would be like, and there were increasingly difficult rapids above the Falls that satisfied me in a way that made hiking the pampas in search of birds and mammals appealing at the time.

I ran a half dozen rapids (PR 3-4) alone in our big open boat (flipped in one) but everything else we did as two in one big boat. It reminded me of a Patagonian “Nabesna to McCarthy”, but with a trail and mountains even more spectacular. It was late spring and we had good weather, neat birds, and not too many people on the trails.

If you are going to Patagonia and get a chance to do this, it’s a world-class trekking circuit and bringing your boat makes for a world-class packrafting loop. There are other opportunities in the Park and I’d go back and do it again, especially if I had my red boat and another week.

There’re some photos, video, and text posted at our blog: