Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

« ||| »

Day 1302: Laguna Brava – Refugio Valadero: Sleeping with a Skeleton!

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 16 - 2014

Distance: 12.53 km
Ride time: 1:58:50
Average: 6.20 km/h
Altitude: 4400 m
Total: 25760 km

I had just stepped outside the stone refugio in the morning when Petter said “Holy shit, there is a human skeleton over here”. At first I thought he was joking, but his observation was indeed very real. When we had arrived late last night it had been completely dark, so we hadn’t noticed it before, but in an open grave right next to the refugio a person had been buried! I found it very bizarre and a little scary to have slept just a few meters from it… What a start of the day!

The Zonda wind was picking up right after sunrise, so even though we had done much of the climbing yesterday we knew that today would be very hard. An hour later we were cycling with a speed of around 5 km/h in first gear, taking turns being in front in order to give the other person a bit of shelter – just like we had done 3 month ago in Tierra del Fuego. One thing was to fight the head winds down there, but today the Zonda wind was just as strong, and we were at 4400 m. It was hard going!

After two hours we reached Refugio Valadero, a very welcome shelter for the crazy wind. This was where we had a decision to make. Two days ago I had calculated that we needed to do 35 km of progress per day, or we would run out of food before we would reach the next store. With the Zonda wind out in full force, things didn’t look too good. Another thing that troubled us was the fact that the border crossing we had been planning to take between Argentina and Chile was closed for the winter. This meant that we would have needed to spend some days illegally in Chile before we could cross into Argentina again.

As we sat there eating lunch in the old stone refugio we decided to skip crossing the border into Chile. Instead we would need to go down the mountain the same way that we came up.

I thought the decision would somewhat bother me, but in fact both Petter and I felt much better after agreeing on the new plan. As we looked out the door in the refugio we could see tall mountains all around us. “Lets go climb one of them” Petter said. On the GPS we checked a couple of the mountains out – all in the 4700 – 5000 m range. We thought that if we made an early start tomorrow, it might be possible to climb a 5000 m peak some 12 km away. We might have skipped a part of our original plan, but a new one was now quickly being put in place instead.

Tomorrow we will be up early to climb!

Categories: Argentina
« ||| »