In late 2017, I contacted explorer and German engineer Jan Dudeck, who was just completing a decade-long quest to create a new long trail through South America. The Greater Patagonian Trail (GPT), as he named it, would come to be 1,900 miles, stretching through the southern Andes from Santiago to the Argentinean climbing mecca of Mount Fitzroy.
“This trail rewards the humble,” Dudeck replied in his e-mail to me, “and humiliates the proud.” That came as no surprise. Since 2014, I had been running technical Andean trail races, as well as mountaineering, climbing, and bikepacking throughout Chile from my home base in Santiago. Access to the land had always been a major issue, and I was a keen believer in his vision of a unified route.