Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1304 – 1305, Refugio Valadero – Vinchina: The Snowstorm

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 17 - 2014

Distance: 140.82 km
Ride time: 6:31:23
Average: 21.65 km/h
Altitude: 1405 m
Total: 25901 km

Normally the air out here in the mountains is very dry, and we hardly ever see a cloud. That was why I was very confused when I woke up and could feel humidity in the air. The refugio doesn’t have a door, and as I turned around to look towards the outside opening, the first thing I saw was snow!

This was very unexpected. There had been a few clouds on the sky last night, but I hadn’t imagined we would be seeing snow. My first thought was that it wouldn’t be possible to cycle, which meant that we would be stuck at the refugio. We had enough food, but not too much water left. Oh well, we could always melt the snow if we had to…

The other problem I considered was that the rivers we had been crossing on the way up the mountain might become so big that it would not be possible to cross them on the way down. In fact I was not happy about the situation at all. Being stuck in a refugio for several days at 4400 m where it would be unlikely to see any cars is not my cup of tea!

Petter on the other hand, being from Sweden, didn’t seem bothered at all with a bit of snow. He even seemed to like it, and didn’t see how it could stop us from descending into warmer air.

Petter was right of course, an hour later the sun appeared in between the clouds, and the snow quickly melted. We packed our bikes and were on the way.

The first part of the day we followed Laguna Brava where we passed the refugio with the skeleton in front. I was quite happy I didn’t have to sleep there another night.

The road then climbed towards the pass at Portezuelo de la Laguna where we had also been the other day. From here it was downhill the next 100 km!

Even though we were descending we could still not cycle very fast due to the rough dirt road. We passed Refugio Peñon where we had thought about stopping, but since we still had a couple of hours of daylight left we continued down.

Soon thereafter we hit the sealed road, and we could finally speed up.

At some point we agreed to try to make it all the way down to Vinchina. The last 40 km of cycling was very hard. Our legs very still tired from the long hike yesterday, and even though the road was generally still descending there were short climbs here and there. We twisted our way down through the beautiful Quebrada de la Troya.

We rolled into Vinchina with the very last daylight. It had taken 8 days to reach Refugio Valadaro where we woke up in a snowstorm this morning. Now it had only taken us one day to come back!

We celebrated the mountain adventure over a cup of beer and a pizza at the only restaurant in town. A little later we were welcomed back at Omar’s hotel. Omar served tea and bread, and was very interested to hear our stories.

Then it was time for the first shower in 8 days and finally to sleep in a real bed again. I had been an amazing mountain adventure, but now it also felt very good to be back in civilization again.

Categories: Argentina
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5 Responses so far.

  1. Łukasz says:

    O Man! I just can’t believe in these landscapes you keep passing by!

  2. hi tom & petter, what a wonderful adventure trip up the mountain, landscape fantastic,not a person in sight except the lone scary skeleton hi hi.. i wish you and your companion all the very best, safe travel,, take care ,happy cycling ……… till your next ‘update’ 73 maybe catch you on HF one day, de john w G4WQZ/G8IRS.

  3. Thomas says:

    Hi John! Thanks a lot for your words as well as the very nice contribution! The days in the mountains were indeed a real highlight of the trip so far. I’m back in Denmark on a short visit now, and will be QRV as OZ1BIKE on HF. Hope to catch you there! 73, Thomas

  4. What wonderful video footage. Is this still being recorded on your DLSR?

  5. The video was done by Petter and yes, he used his DSLR.