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  1. #1
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    Andes Trip, January to April, Which Direction?

    Greetings,

    I have been perusing the forums here for some great info on bikepacking gear. I love all the rigs in the sticky.

    My wife and I currently live in Quito Ecuador. She is working and I am on a sabbatical kayaking/mountain biking/traveling. We've decided that the job isn't really what it sold to be, and it isn't really worth it to continue here in Quito. So we have decided to ride our bikes from Quito to Tierra del Fuego (or perhaps the reverse).

    That leads to my question. Does anyone have any experience on this route? I'm trying to decide between flying to Ashuaia (in Tierra del Fuego) in January and working our way back to Quito or leaving Quito in January and trying to make it to Ashuaia before the winter sets in. We are mostly concerned with the weather at this point. We are definitely going to start the trip at the beginning of January (not flexible). Hopefully we will finish in late April. Here is what I'm thinking based on what I've read from bloggers.

    Quito to Tierra del Fuego:
    - Not working with the seasons (but not a huge problem if in the Andean highlands)
    - Could be really hot in northern Argentina/Chile?
    - Reaching Patagonia in the Fall would give us calmer weather, but colder and shorter days.
    - Wind in Patagonia would be working with us

    Tierra del Fuego to Quito:
    - Nice long days to start the trip and warmer weather
    - The winds from the north in Patagonia sound vicious.
    - We would hit fall in northern Chile/Argentina which could be more pleasant?
    - More uphill (not sure if this is really significant given the elevation variation throughout the whole trip)
    - Less time constrained due to not trying to beat winter

    Any thoughts or experiences based on this would be much appreciated! Thanks for all the help!

    BTW, we are both riding 29er hardtails. We have biking and backpacking gear here in Quito, but not bikepacking gear. Bikepacking bags have been hard to come by in Quito (especially for 29ers, which just took off this past year). We hope to order in the US and have some friends bring it over Christmas.

  2. #2
    Caveman
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    Good for you guys!
    A few notes and random thoughts:
    (S-N)
    I was in Punta Arenas in March once, and it was pretty windy and stormy, I don't think I'd want to end up down there on a bike in mid-winter. But hey it might be nice if you are prepared for it.
    If you take the Caraterra austral the wind direction is not as much of an issue, you just have to get up to Chalten and you'll fight it along that stretch.
    The Quarenta S-N yes you'll be screwed with the wind so stay in Chile and avoid it...

    "more uphill" - the only real place is dropping off the Bolivian altiplano into northern Argentina / Chile. That's like a 3,000m drop but everything else is a wash.

    ending in Tierra del fuego is more climactic than riding into Quito suburbs...

    Not feeling rushed I think is your biggest issue, you'll want to take your time to enjoy it .

  3. #3
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    Thanks Bearbait, We have decided to definitely do the south to north route. Winds will just be something we have to deal with. Hopefully to can cross the border at El Chalten and Villa O'Higgins and get on the Carretera Austral. Winds may actually be better in the Atacama on the S to N route.

  4. #4
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    Bearbait, I'm trying to order some sweet bags from Revelate. I emailed Eric, but I haven't heard anything. Can you perhaps help me?

  5. #5
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    Check out

    crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals

    Lots of info on international touring there.
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  6. #6
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    I just saw this post. I'm not sure if you set off yet, but I rode from Tierra Del Fuego to Zumba Ecuador a couple of years ago. Here is my blog if you are looking for some route info:

    Awesome Bike Tour: Archive

    I think you'll need more than 4 months if you plan to spend time off the bike. I took about 7 months, and I still wish I had more time, but yrmv.

    Have fun!

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