After leaving Cusco, Kevin and I will embark on what is sure to be the most challenging, yet in all likelihood, the most rewarding part of our whole trip; The Great Peruvian Divide. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the beginning of this 35,000m elevation gain route – that’s like climbing Everest four and a half times from sea level to the top – since we first read about it on the Pikes on Bikes site. This route will take us up and over almost thirty high altitude pass (all around 5,000m) along a road which doesn’t appear on a single map (nor Google maps). We will pass through extremely rural villages where Quetcha, not Spanish, is the norm, and we will climb and descend passes which aren’t even possible for most cars.
The divide is split up into four parts and will take us from Santa Rosa up to Conococha (just below the famous mountain city of Huraz).
In order to complete this route we knew that we needed to go light, really light, so we each sent ahead ten kilos of gear (shoes, extra clothes, backpacking backpacks…) through the bus company Cruz Del Sur who has a system called “encomienda” which allows you to send stuff (without you) by bus to any bus station in the country (they then hold your stuff for up to thirty days). We ended up ditching our front panniers, as well as our rack pack, which means that we each only have two panniers left!
Pictures from the Pikes on Bikes site of three of the four sections we are about to complete. Make sure to check out their site for all kinds of great riding in the Andes, and a huge thank you to this adventurous couple because without them, we never would have heard of this route!
Though this route is going to be extremely physically challenging – we often won’t be able to complete more than 30km a day – logistically it shouldn’t be too bad as every few days we will be able to buy basic food supplies in the small rural villages, and every few hours we will be able to fill up on water as there are rivers running all around. I can’t wait to be back up in the mountains; camping, pushing, and living in the cold high altitude air for the next five or so weeks until we get back to “civilization.”
Until then, check out Unclipped Adventures, the most unique and creative cartoon blog that is bound to leave you in stitches!
*This post has been preposted, as in reality, we left over a week ago and are probably now somewhere in the mountains climbing up dozens of switchbacks.
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