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Old 02-05-08, 08:34 PM   #1
fmarchetti4
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Carretera Austral in March?

Has anyone done the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile in March? Some locals here tell me that it already gets pretty chilly, blustery, and even rainy at that time of the year. I donīt want to ride in the rain if I can avoid it! Plus, my panniers are not waterproof, although I guess i could cover them with some thick plastic. Or should I get something a bit more robust?

Please share your experiences regarding the CA, whatever time of the year. By the way, I have a touring bike, not a mountain bike. The tires are pretty good - Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700 x 38, but are they good enough for the dirt roads of the CA?

Been touring around Chile for the last month and it has been great. Very nice, helpful people here as well.

Cheers,

-Frank-
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Old 02-05-08, 10:05 PM   #2
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The CA is always blustery, and there is a rain forest which will take a couple of days at least to traverse, some huge climbs too.
I hope the wheels make it, the road is seriously rough in places, and 700's will be hard to replace.

I rode it in December and it was quite cold even then, the middle of summer. But is quite close to the Southern Ice Field!!
Have fun, I did

george
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Old 02-06-08, 12:14 AM   #3
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I have a couple of friends that will ride the CA in the middle of Feb.
I recomend to use MTB wheels, from Chaiten to Coyaique you can find a couple of asphalt roads (thats the door of the CA), but no more than that.
In this season expect anything from the chilean south, need to be prepared (from sunny days to snow). I just came back from cyclo touring Osorno-Bariloche, and I had lots of sunny days, rainy and snowy ones.
I'll ask a friend from Coyaique if it's crazy to ride the CA in march.

Cheers.
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Old 02-06-08, 09:16 AM   #4
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March should be fine, only a little colder, but weather could be more stable, your real enemy is wind, rain will be a given any time of the year, cold does not set in till later and never actually that cold You know real cold in Ontario. Which part would you do?, some parts are wetter than others. I have driven most of it at various stages, never cycled it. Gorgeous, but tough. Very coarse gravel up to rocks on the surface, don't plan on 120 km days, think of 60-80, wide tires, and take a good look at how you fix the racks, everything shakes loose when you rattle downslope, a trailer might be a better idea. If you do go with racks, I never liked the 5 mm bolt that attaches the rear rack to the dropout, put a 6 mm if you have material to thread a larger bolt. A sheared 5 mm bolt is very possible on these roads.

Highly Recomend 26" wheels in order to find replacement tires if you need them.
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Old 02-06-08, 09:19 AM   #5
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Great maps of the Carretera Austral here:

http://www.turistel.cl/v2/secciones/mapas/index.htm
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Old 02-06-08, 11:05 PM   #6
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I think it will be cold. It would be like riding the Alaska Highway in September - a very iffy month at that latitude. I would not want to be further south than Puerto Montt at that time of year.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnroads View Post
I think it will be cold. It would be like riding the Alaska Highway in September - a very iffy month at that latitude. I would not want to be further south than Puerto Montt at that time of year.
Maybe in average temperatures for March these locations are comparable, but the temperature range is much narrower in Southern Chile. I tried to compare weather statistics and this is what I got for Anchorage, Alaska, and Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas is further south than the Carretera Austral,

http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...omnav_business

http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...omnav_business

These statics are just averages, but the average low for Punta Arenas in March (42) is one degree higher than Anchorage (41), and the yearly lows are 21 degrees higher, I don't think these two locations are comparable in respect to the lowest temperatures that you might expect in march. March in the CA will be cool, but it will not likely drop below freezing, and snow accumulation is also unlikely.
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Old 02-07-08, 03:03 PM   #8
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Snow is not very probably, but the hell it will be cold. Expect strong winds and heavy raining.
I asked my friend and he said march is a good month to ride the Carretera Austral, but it will be cold.
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Old 02-08-08, 11:01 AM   #9
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I spent two weeks in the torres del Paine area in march two years ago. I don't know how typical our weather was, but the coldest it got was a couple of nights below freezing. Frost on the ground in the morning. By Canadian standards it was quite balmy. Lots of wind and rain , but also glorious sunny days as well.
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