It’s been a while since I last posted…
Finally, 6 weeks after my unfortunate rapid running incident in the Huayhuash (which, it transpired, resulted in a torn lumbar muscle and trapped nerve), I’m ready to take to the road once more. All being well, I’ll rolling for the next couple weeks with Dirt Dot Kurt and his badass Surly Pugsley; together, we’ll be following a rich vein of remote mining roads en route to Cuzco, unearthed by the intrepid Pikes on Bikes.
I don’t have time for a full blog post right now… so here’s just a few pics from a recent ‘test’ loop, a four day ride from Huaraz to Chiquian, via a world of giant bromeliads, high altitude dirt roads and inky black skies. Although a lingering veil of cloud cover and associated drizzle doused hopes of dramatic glacial views, in many ways the journey was as every bit as satisfying as the Punta Olympica mega-switchback loop – so I’ll do my best to expand this post at some point with more images.
The turnoff to Pastaruri is 7km after Catac. There’s a double dirt road pass to Huallanca (4780m and 4600m), then a 25km descent into town on pavement. It’s 29km on dirt to the next pass (Cuncush), via a 1100m climb, followed by 26km descent to Llamac, dropping 1400m. From Llamac to Chiquian, the road drops 600m for 12km, then climbs back up 800m over a distance of 16km. All on dirt. Thanks to the Pikes for route suggestions and advice.
Huaraz to Huallanca, via Pastaruri: 2 days
Huallanca to Chiquian: 1.5 days
2pm bus back to Huaraz (10 Sol, 6 for the bike).
Cheap digs/food in Huallanca (Hotel Milan, Sol inc hot shower) and Llamac (Los Andenes, 8 Sol).
To extend the loop, you could also return from Chiquian to Catac via Hatun Machay, a rock forest that lies at 4200m, and is popular with climbers.