The south Lipez

Bolivia - Posted On

Next to the Licancabour, we enter the south western part of Bolivia, named South Lipez.

Quite famous for how hard it is to cross it on a bike, lots of bikers avoid it... while a lot others intend to do it!

On our account, we just don’t know anything about it. We just saw a line on the map, meaning a road, let’s go for it, that’s our way!

This is in this kind of state of mind we start on the dirt road from Laguna Verde (basement of the Licancabour), our bikes full of food and our minds full of nothingness.

First morning in the desert, the biggest storm I have ever seen in my life bends dangerously our tent.

Of course the wind is north, meaning right into the face!

I run like a madman to get back to the sleeping bags which were flying away for a very very long trip.

Wind speed is really something like 150 km/h, creating huge clouds of sand shooting very hard on us.

We have to stop a 4WD to pack our stuffs.

Impossible to go on, we go back to the refuge of Laguna Verde and hitchhike a mining truck down to San Pedro d’Atacama for a few days of rest.

Too much is too much!

At last the wind is over, snow has covered the high peaks all around, and we go back to our bikes left up there.

Let’s go on, we attack the terrible South Lipez.

To sum up, 20 days to cross less than 500 kms, and by some days we see just 6 kms on the distance measurer’ screen at the end of the day.

A pass at more than 5100m high, also a fragment of the road for 60 kms especially was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

Deep sand through which we had to push our 60 kgs bikes up hill, face wind, coldness, over dry air giving some painful cracks in the skin of the fingers, of the feet.

The South Lipez, it’s also a very famous road for 4WD tours from Uyuni and San Pedro.

So that we meet a huge bunch of these cars, lots of them stop at our signs, give us water, food, even a beer once!

Once, at the 5100m high pass, at the top, a 4WD stops, just like that, one guy give me some sweets, some coca cola, get my contact, and once back in France, send me a nice little sponsorship!!! Thanks to Olivier, another one!

We have to say that without these people and their generosity, we might never have succeeded in this very challenging part of the trip!

Arriving in the Salar of Chiguana, we see in the morning a 4WD stopping, a guy arrive toward me, say “Hello”, oh Shit, that’s Geoffray!

Geoffray was the cyclist I was travelling Spain with!

We were supposed to meet in Uyuni but as we could not make it on time, he decided to go for a tour having a sight of what we were heading through.

We will get back to him in Uyuni.