Video: Bikepacking the Wild Side of Patagonia

Feb 18, 2019
by Formula  
Views: 7,685    Faves: 38    Comments: 10



In a warm afternoon of late summer, at the end of one of the usual riding sessions in the mountain behind the house, the idea of what would have been one of the most beautiful experiences of our life was born. From the pages of an old explorations book, the images of a marvelous land, went out, wild as a few, far from everything and everyone, a destination desired by the imagination of many people. Patagonia always fascinated us and for too long it had remained unattainable. In those days, however, something changed and a few months later we found ourselves flying over the Atlantic Ocean to live a dream.

After 14000km of flight, the captain of the plane announced that soon we will land, below us the scenery is majestic, perennial contrast between the ocher of the barren lands of the Patagonian steppe and the large pools of turquoise water on. In the background the Cordillera of the Andes rises majestically, where there are Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy. After landing, we reach our accommodation, a small family-owned hotel. The town of El Calafate is a starting point for tourists visiting the Perito Moreno glacier and for hikers from all over the world going to El Chanten. We didn’t have a specific destination to reach, perhaps because it was more inside of us than out there.

We felt a boost towards the wild environment of Patagonia, the desire to live it fully, to breathe its essence by capturing the moments. For this purpose we also added the packraft to our bikepacking set-up that would allow us to navigate the waterways we would encounter. After 2 days of preparations, the day of departure arrived and we find ourselves pedaling on a dusty road that would have led us to the Andes. The environment of Patagonia is as beautiful as harsh, and the winds that almost incessantly whittle it emphasize its hardness. After several hours spent pedaling headwind, we see the mighty mass of the Andes, perennially snow-capped on the horizon, which, from now on, will guide us like a lighthouse.

Quiet soon a group of strange animals crosses the road, stopping shortly after on our right to look at us. We do the same. They are the guanacos, which unlike the tamed Lamas, are free and wild animals, undisputed masters of the Patagonian steppe. Free and wild like those Andean condors flying over our heads, true kings of the Patagonian heavens. Patagonia was around us, we were a little freer too. It’s evening and we come close to an Estancia, the classic Argentinian farm. Here everything has remained as before, the milking of the cattle, the shearing of the sheep, the cooking of the asado. Here simple life is “cultivated”. Estancia is the last outpost where the typical gaucho culture survives. A culture now in danger of extinction, hunted by the advance of modern life and its frenetic rhythms.

Next day we go on with our trip, but almost immediately we are forced to stop because the path ends in a lake. The water level has grown beyond measure, a gaucho we met shortly before on horseback, explained to us that, never like this year the glaciers of the Hielo Continental Patagónico had poured so much water into the valleys. We disassemble the bikes and we firmly tie them on the packraft to continue that incredible experience, lived on the edge of the world to return to being, also us, free and wild men.







































Words: Francesco D’Alessio
Photos: Giorgio Frattale and Francesco D’Alessio
Film: Giorgio Frattale

Website: montanuswild.com


MENTIONS: @rideformula



39 Comments

  • + 22
 thanks for sharing that..... very inspiring......nice mix... the timeless mountains and the pinnacle of mechanical engineering(mountain bikes of course)
  • + 9
 Glad you like it. An amazing experience in which we were able to explore those timeless landscapes thanks to noblest invention of mankind!
  • + 2
 @MONTANUS: gracias por esa experiencia fantástica!!
  • + 4
 Me alegra que te haya gustado. Ciao @panchocampbell:
  • + 4
 Very impressive! Beautiful film and photos. Pretty cool to see how you guys pulled it off with the in-depth bikepacking.com article, and that gear layout is very helpful for anyone interested in doing something like this. Thanks!
  • + 2
 Thanks @goldmund we like to inspire people with stories and films like this, but also with more basic things like a bikepacking set-up. I remember when five years ago we had our first self-supported trip... huge and heavy backpacks + full-susp bikes. We have not forgotten those days and how many troubles finding the right set-up, so if we can help people with our experience we do it!
  • + 4
 Monday ! and I open this up Smile then you think to yourself who is the person made up five day working week and seven for sum unlucky people. lets rather go explore ...
  • + 2
 Every time i watch this video I enjoy and appreciate what you’ve shared with all of us even more than the last time. Love what you do and who you are. Look forward to more of your posts. Cheers!
  • + 1
 Thanks Kent! ;-)
  • + 2
 Last summer I went after your tracks around the great Mount Blanc, now I'm in Patagonia wandering through the pampas...hey Montanus you are my Gurus!
  • + 1
 So glad our trips can insipire more and more people... Stay tuned for the next mission ;-) Ciao
  • + 2
 Beautiful, love watching this with a mug of fresh coffee this winter morning. Inspiring, beautiful, adventure.
  • + 3
 I'd love to know what you packed!
  • + 2
 Seriously awesome! You definitely made the need to get down there that much stronger!
  • + 2
 I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some awesome places but Patagonia is easily the best of them all.
  • + 3
 Damn I guess I have to go bikepacking now...
  • + 3
 wow! just wow! so beautiful nature. And respect to riders for this trip.
  • + 1
 Thanks @gusts
  • + 2
 Epic Adventure..Great Vid..Thanks for sharing Smile
  • + 2
 If you like this, check out www.bikepacking.com
  • + 2
 Just. Awesome. Video, photos, text. Awesome. Thanks for sharing it all!
  • + 2
 que linda que es argentina! nice to know you guys enjoyed!
  • + 1
 Amazing landscapes, sweet asado and friendly people! Viva Argentina!
  • + 2
 That flag was ripped in half by the wind.
  • + 1
 Winds in Patagonia can be brutal. I remember when, during a storm, our tent was going to meet the same fate of that flag:
vimeo.com/281403510/22f9b79ed8
  • + 2
 Great stuff as always! Wow!
  • + 2
 The most beautiful thing, to explore nature by bike. Very nice!
  • + 2
 Simply epic and inspiring.. horns up,
  • + 2
 a place were i would like to visit someday...
  • + 2
 a place where we'd like to go back someday...
  • + 2
 Very well done!
  • + 2
 Great video & pics
  • + 0
 Beautiful place, beautiful video, awful english music for a south american place. You, the gringos...
  • + 1
 Thanks @fserrajana Glad you like the video and the attention given to the patagonian enviroment. I hope you appreciated the 1min long part that we dedicated to the typical gaucho culture, edited on the amazing piece 'Ayacuchana', by the chilean composer Mauricio Enrique Venegas-Astorga. Hola!
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