La Paz, Ice Climbing and Biking down the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’
After the salt flats tour we had just about enough time to in Uyuni to sample the delights of what has been dubbed ‘the best pizzas in South America’ (and they were delicious!) before jumping onto another night bus back to La Paz (slightly less cold this time thankfully). La Paz was to be our base for 4 whole nights – a relative novelty and luxury on the expedition! Our 1st activity was Ice Climbing up the glaciars of Huayana Potosi. We were kitted out in climbing gear and after a brief induction we were off scaling the ice walls and abseiling back down. Everyone hugely enjoyed it and there was a lot of promise for the next generation of ice climbers in the group! Straight after Ice Climbing we were whisked off to the regular Sunday afternoon spectacle of Cholitas wrestling in El Alto. The wrestling itself was spectacularly overstaged and choreographed stage combat but was undoubtedly comedy gold with plenty of in the balls moments, rather too much flashing about and of course classic props such as wooden planks and chairs. Danny got very into the spectacle and joined the Bolivians in throwing things, particularly at the comically biased referees.
The following day we were all set to mountain bike it down the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’. The route starts off at 4700m, high up in the Andes with fantastic views of a number of snow-capped peaks, and in 64km you descend 3600m into the sub-tropical Yungas region, taking in spectacluar views all along the way. The 1st section is down a tarmac road, time for everyone to find their speeds and limits on the top class bikes. Then we hit the dirt track road, the narrow and pretty bumpy route all the way down to Yolosa. Everyone really enjoyed the ride and at the end we headed to an animal sanctuary for a buffet lunch, a free beer and t-shirt and a dip in the pool (with animals such as spider monkeys wandering about everywhere).