Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1301, El Peñon – Laguna Brava: Reaching New Heights

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 14 - 2014

Distance: 35.20 km
Ride time: 6:10:02
Average: 5.70 km/h
Altitude: 4390 m
Total: 25748 km

As we packed our bikes at Refugio Peñon in the morning we were expecting a hard day. That assumption turned out to be very true. In fact this would be one of the hardest days on the whole expedition – and one of the most rewarding as well. Those things often go together.

It all started with the 12 km climb to Portezuelo de Laguna Brava that we had done the other day to leave water. Both Petter and I were very happy not to have to carry another 10 kg of water on our already very heavy bicycles.

We took a short break at a view point where there was a bit of shelter from the crazy Zonda wind coming from the mountains. From the other day we knew that the last 2 kilometers towards the pass would be crazy. The combination of a steep climb, being at 4000 m, a bad road, strong head wind, and heavy bicycles was somewhat of a killer combination. By now we were mostly pushing our bikes.

At 3:30 in the afternoon we finally reached the pass, almost in a state of euphoria – it had required 6 days of hard work to get here, including the time needed to acclimatize to the altitude.

The wind at the top of the pass was so strong that it was hard to stand up. I was trying to eat a bowl of oats, but the oats simply flew away from the spoon before I could eat much. I had to lie down behind my bicycle with the head almost at the ground.

At the other side of the pass we could now see Laguna Brava, a location that had been on our minds for quite some time now. The wind was still blowing like crazy, so even though we were not climbing anymore, the speed was still below 10 km/h.

At the other side of the Laguna we could see the refugio where we planned to spend the night. The shelter was probably 12 km away, but with the wind even 12 km feels very far. Both Petter and I were right at our limits as we slowly reached the end of the Laguna with the sun now setting to our left.

It was almost completely dark as we found the refugio and quickly put out our sleeping bags for the night, completely exhausted.

One of the hardest days on the expedition, but also a day with some of the most amazing views!

Tomorrow we will be back for more.

Categories: Argentina
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15 Responses so far.

  1. Marie says:

    Wow, amazing photos!!!

  2. Big thumbs up, gents!

  3. Łukasz says:

    These landscapes are so awesome!

  4. parinay says:

    “In fact this would be one of the _hardest_ days on the whole expedition – and one of the most _rewarding_ as well. Those things often go together.” – Just Awesome !!!
    bravo !! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Tony Graham says:

    Amazing adventures Thomas and stunning photographs too.
    Utrolige eventyr!

  6. Morten Andersen says:

    Det er godt nok utrolig flot deroppe i de høje bjerge. Fortsat god cykeltur.

  7. John Stewart says:

    Respect Guys. Fantastic photos.

  8. […] became even more adventurous. We were loading up the bikes with 20 days worth of food as we would climb towards Laguna Brava at 4400 m. That would turn out to be an epic […]

  9. Hard work and rewards often go together. Wow, what a reward! Certainly an adventure you’re never going to forget!

  10. Very true Stephen. That trip with Petter up into the desolated mountains is something I will never forget. Best Easter greetings! Thomas

  11. You also, Thomas! I am so enjoying reading your blog. Each day I read it (and I’m reading it a lot!), there is always something amazing to read.

  12. […] Tell us about your best routes If you like adventure the Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile will provide plenty of that. At the time I was cycling with a Swedish friend. We loaded up our bikes with 20 days of food and took a desolated dirt road to a place called Laguna Brava at 4400 m above sea level. It was a real adventure! You can read about about track here. […]

  13. […] “Jeg cyklede på et tidspunkt med en svensker, Petter, i Andesbjergene. Når jeg selv planlægger min rute og kører selv, kan jeg godt lide at se lidt civilisation engang imellem, men Petter gik konsekvent efter de mest øde strækninger, han kunne finde. På et tidspunkt foreslog han et øde pas i Andesbjergene mellem Argentina og Chile, der ville kræve, at vi havde mad med til 20 dage på cyklen. Det blev en fantastisk hård og fantastisk flot tur, som står som et af mine highlights.” […]