Gallery: In the Shadow of Illampu
A Bolivian mountain-biking adventure.
By Nicolas Teichrob
Two years ago while traveling through South America, I stumbled across the quaint town of Sorata, Bolivia. Located approximately a 4-hour drive north of the capital city, La Paz, Sorata sits at 2,678 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by the glaciated mountain peaks of the Cordillera Real. The grandness of the mountainous terrain and deep valleys here yield some of the most incredible and diverse mountain-biking terrain anywhere in the world.
In May 2011, Darcy Turenne and Mike Hopkins and I joined forces to explore, capture and share the fabulous culture, beauty and bountiful trails that surround Sorata. With ex-pat and local trail builder Travis Gray of Andean Epics as our guide, we were eagerly anticipating the thin air under our tires and being high in mountains of the southern hemisphere.
The trails near Sorata were built with the modern freerider in mind. They are almost all accessible via shuttle, aside from some big mountain objectives that are easily reached with a couple-hour hike-a-bike. The singletrack snakes along alpine ridges, often sporting significant exposure with real consequences, cruises through open meadows and winds through villages providing sights along the way that are unlike any normal biking adventure. For the big-mountain rider, there are endless possibilities of riding open scree slopes for thousands of vertical feet. In fact, the average trail here has about 6,000 to 9,000 vertical feet of continuous descending, which in my books makes for a one-of-a-kind riding experience. All of the singletrack here is the result of Gray, and the hard work he has put into building a large trail network that will keep all riders of any skill level grinning from ear to ear.
These images are just some of the highlights from our trip to Bolivia.
Thinking of going for an adventure? Travis Gray of Andean Epics is your man – andeanepics.com.
Need a place to stay? The Altai Oasis Ecolodge is your ticket with its own organic garden and probably the nicest human being on planet Earth, Johny, founder of the Altai Oasis