Huayhuash bound.

A quick post…

At long last, I’m off to ‘ride’ the Huayhuash Circuit, an 8-10 day trekking route, that we’re hoping to condense into 5 days by bike.

Situated some ways south of the Cordillera Blanca, the loop traverses a series of high passes in the Huayhuash range – many of which I’m expecting to involve brutish bouts of carrying. From the sounds of it, there could even be almost as much hiking as biking involved – especially if we seek out some of the more foot-friendly detours. But hopefully, enough of the singletrack will be rideable to make it worthwhile – and memorable. Certainly, the views are said to be epic, with a string of high altitude lakes crowned by lofty snowy peaks. General elevations are between 3300m and 5000m.

Given the expected terrain, I’ve slimmed down the Ogre for the next week. This is the main reason I travel with a rigid 29er – I find it makes an incredible versatile machine, for general duty touring, day rides and more challenging bikepacking side trips too.

Having planned this portion of the trip from the US, I brought along my Porcelain Rocket bikepacking gear for this very task – with the intention of posting it onwards to Cuzco when I’m done, via one of the secure bus companies (leg Cruz del Sur). Compared to racks and saddlebags, this saves as much as 3kg in base weight – and as importantly, it feels a whole lot better on the trail too. Camera-wise, I’ll be carrying my Canon 5Dmk2, with 24mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/4 lenses – a relatively minimal setup, given the brick-like weight of the camera. These will be housed in a 20L Osprey backpack I’m borrowing from the inimitable Pikes on Bikes.

In other news, I’ve now added a (slightly incongruous) Donate button to my Support page (there’s an Amazon Affiliate page in the works too, but I haven’t got round to putting much on that yet). Please note that I have absolutely no expectations – but should you feel like inviting me to a pizza (or a new inner tube), the option is now there!

Mapa del Huayhuash

The Huayhuash range. Compact but craggy.

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An example of the route ahead. Lake and glacier-riddled.

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My slimline setup (plus 20 litre backpack). Water should be abundant, so I’ve removed the underbelly cage to make portaging easier. We’ve allowed for 5 days of food. The framepack is jam-packed and rock solid with trail mix, salami, parmesan and inner tubes.

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In the absence of my laptop (no plugs expected), a Porcelain Rocket seat pack replaces my Tubus rack and Carradice saddlebag. The former is around 310g, the latter close to 1700g. Given the amount we anticipate carrying the bikes, the lighter the better.

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Likewise, a handlebar roll bag and front pouch makes for a far lighter combination than my Nitto rack and Super C saddlebag. For long distance travel, I find the saddlebag more practical for my camera. But for this trip, I’ll be packing it on my back.

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Flat pedals and my Five Ten shoes should make the hiking portions easier than with SPDs.

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The Rohloff adds some weight, but rules out the chances of a smashed derailleur. With its solid axle and locknut, it hasn’t budged a nanometer.

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Schwalbe Smart Sams, in a 2.25in, are proving hard wearing, with sturdy sidewalls. Mated to Sun Ringle MTX-33s, they should be up to the task. Bigger would be even better!

I'm not sure I'll be hitting the required speeds for recharging by dynamo hub. Charlie will have a solar panel too, for our combined collection of gadgets.

I’m not sure I’ll be hitting the required speeds for recharging devices by dynamo hub. Charlie will have a solar panel too, for our combined collection of gadgets.

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5 x lunches. Parmesan, tortillas, salami and 1.5kg of trail mix. Food makes up a large proportion of the weight. Handily, the second half of the trip will probably involve more carrying.

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As his day job, Charlie – my riding partner – owns the Llanganuco Lodge. Luckily, one of his clients left enough fancy dehydrated camping food to tide us through the trip. Super light, and way better than Ramen noodles (-:

See you when I get back!

5 thoughts on “Huayhuash bound.

  1. Zach

    Hey Cass,
    Your trip sounds amazing!! Looks like beautiful country. Have a great ride and look forward to reading about it soon!

    Reply
  2. Jim Bangs

    Great looking ride! By the way Cass, I sure enjoyed your article that I just read in Adventure Cycling Magazine on the Whiterock in Utah. Sure would like to get a trip planned for that ride!

    Good Luck!
    Jim

    Reply

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