After a short break in La Paz, enjoying every drinks and food the city has to offer, the situation in Bolivia started to be critical after the national election. On Thursday 24th October, Evo Morales has been declared reelected after a really controversial result. Every day people were protesting in the streets of the city, so it was time for us to move on.
Our plan was then to head to the Titicaca lake but we decided to try and take the beautiful and challenging Mama Coca route from bikepacking.com.
After leaving the city with the Telepherico and crossing El Alto to the north, we had a first pass to climb to arrive at the bottom of the Huayna Potosi ( 6080m ). We found an abandoned house in construction in a small mining city and had a cold and windy night.
Mine cemetery at the bottom of Huayna Potosi (6,088m)
The next morning we started climbing the highest pass we would have on this road at 5100m, with an amazing view of Huayna Potosi. Cycling at this altitude is challenging. The oxygen is rare and every effort is a fight with your breath.
Cycling at 5100m
After a long and enjoyable descent through the valley, we arrived in Laguna Tuni and continue our way towards the Condoriri (5,648m), another of the high peaks of the Cordillera Real.
Pushing a 50kg touring bike in a field is always great fun.
That morning we had to cross really wet marshes. Thibault started walking in the mud but realised in the middle that it was to deep to cross here. He had to come back and we found an easier place to cross down in the valley.
On the other side of the valley, there was no road. Only a short path certainly created by the locals and the alpacas. Here started our first and real hike a bike, for only around 150m up.
We arrived in the next valley, and following the gps track we realised we had to push our bike again as there were simply no track. We checked the map to see what was going to come next, and saw that there was no track for the next day or more. We then decided to head back in the valley through the road as it is too demanding to push 50kg bikes on those kind of terrain. Next time, we’ll come with bikepacking setup!
Lamas always starring at us as we pass them