Into Patagonia

Watch Into Patagonia

Stretching in an unbroken sweep of agitated geology, Patagonia spans a massive area of over a million square kilometres and yet is home to less than two million people. With no clear objective and no set goal, American Alpine Runner, Dakota Jones, journeys to Northern Patagonia to explore the culture and landscape of one of the most romanticised regions in the world. Travelling South along the famed Carretera Austral he discovers a people rich in smiles and a land littered with mountains and glaciers.

Stretching in an unbroken sweep of agitated geology, Patagonia spans a massive area of over a million square kilometres and yet is home to less than two million people. With no clear objective and no set goal, American Alpine Runner, Dakota Jones, journeys to Northern Patagonia to explore the culture and landscape of one of the most romanticised regions in the world. Travelling South along the famed Carretera Austral he discovers a people rich in smiles and a land littered with mountains and glaciers.

Patagonia spans a massive area of over a million square kilometres, occupying almost half of Argentina and Chile and yet is home to less than two million people. Vast, wild and infinite in its beauty, it remains one of the world’s last great wilderness. Whilst just the very name holds a fascination for many travellers, the reality can be harsh: the place is cursed by a persistent wind, the Escoba de Dios (God’s Broom). Trees can grow horizontally here, sculpted by the gales.

Touted as an “anti-expedition” the Salomon TV crew and Dakota Jones arrived in the town of San Carlos de Bariloche with absolutely no plan other than that they wanted to explore the landscapes and culture of the region.

The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun word Vuriloche meaning "people from behind the mountain". The city is situated in the foothills of the Andes and is surrounded by soaring peaks. The team spent some days exploring the mountains in the area before heading South.

Upon arriving in the city of Esquel, Dakota was welcomed into a tight knit community of trail runners. The picturesque city rests on a green mountain range valley in the west of the Province of Chubut in Argentina. For three days the team were welcomed and treated as family. The experience served as a reminder of how a shared bond, such as the love for a simple act like running, serves as a unifier, bringing people from all walks of life together.

Leaving Esquel, the local runners insisted on driving the team all the way into Chile. As you enter the mountains from the Argentinian Steppe, the treeless landscape merges into vast old-growth forests, surrounded by enormous glacier carved mountains. Chilean Patagonia attracts wanderers from around the globe. It is a dramatic playground where icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes; wild fjords snake through hardwood forests; and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist.

Intent on heading South the team had only one option. The jumped on a bus heading to the only road that connects Puerto Montt to the deep south of the country. The “Southern Road”, or locally known as the Carretera Austral runs for nearly 1,240 kilometres and took over two decades to build. Gauchos on horseback and bicycles are seen in favour of car traffic due to the fact that 70% of the highway is unpaved and was built in a region with a very small population.

The teams destination was Villa Cerro Castillo, a small farming settlement in Southern Chile which is surrounded by some of the largest mountains in the Patagonian Andes. The town’s namesake, Cerro Castillo is the highest peak in the central Patagonian Andes topping out at 2675m. Castillo means castle in Spanish and is named such due to its jagged rocky peak and the steep basalt walls of the mountain

The Cerro Castillo Circuit is a 34 mile hiking route through a remote section of the Aysen region of Chile. Aysen is Chile’s least-populated region, where only 1.2 humans per square mile dwell. Max Keith and Moises Jimenez set the fastest known time for the 34-mile circuit in January, 2015 in a time of 6 hours and 27 minutes. Dakota ran the circuit in a time of 5 hours 45 minutes and 31 seconds, setting a new FKT.

Gear

XA Alpine

For the athlete who pushes the boundaries of the sport, taking off-trail running to the highest level – the alpine. Unisex models are sold under men sizing.

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S-Lab Hybrid Pants

3 Lightweight fabrics make the S-LAB Hybrid Pant the ideal blend of mobility, weather protection, and lightweight.

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S-Lab Jacket

Highly technical Pertex Fabric provides unsurpassed waterproof / breathable performance, but the fit and details of the S-LAB Hybrid Jacket make it the choice of top athletes for harsh weather races.

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Peak 20

Enough volume for an ultralight overnight, enough stability for dynamic movement, the Peak 20 is ready for year round adventures in the mountains. Easily changes from a snug endurance pack to a capable overnighter in seconds.

Peak 20: View Product