Friday, June 26, 2009

The Bock Route

Today Ben, Steve, and myself caught a ride up to La Cumbre with a Gravity group that was going down the WMDR. Instead of doing our work ride we rode and hiked for over 2 1/2 hours in the mountains up to a scree slope we have been eyeing from the road. It was a major mission of fairly epic proportions. Hiking while carrying a 20 lbs. pack and pushing a 40 lbs. bike is no small feat at an elevation of 16,000 ft.

Alright, so my bike officially weighs 39.6 lbs. not 40 lbs.

There were a few sections that we could ride down before pushing up another ridge; it seemed to break the hike up a bit and made the uphills bearable.

Ben resting before a downhill section.

Steve and Ben (and me) catching our breath after yet another push. Our destination was the peak just over the top of Ben's right shoulder.

If you could only see the pain (and joy) on my face.

Steve leading one of the downhill sections with Ben close behind.

A different perspective on the photo above. I came last and Steve shot this from below. As you can see it's hard to do certain sections justice unless you show multiple angles. (Thanks Steve for the extra photos and video!)

Near the top of the peak we pushed up a steep ridge, and quite literally every 50-100 ft. I was stopping to catch my breath.

Steve and Ben on the last push to the top.

At the top we rested, ate some food, and drank a beer. At 5,000+ m. beer hits you pretty hard and we all laid down for a short rest. Steve and I had a Bock, which is a local Bolivian brew, and Ben coined our trek The Bock Route.

The namesake.

We're pretty much living the life.

After we rested up we went to scope out our descent down the scree. It is an extremely steep face (we estimate 50+ degrees) and after our exploration we decided not to ride the top part for fear of gaining too much speed and not being able to stop.

Ben, perfect guide pose.

From our resting place, a bit of perspective, notice how the mountain seems to just drop away in front of Ben.

Even though we didn't ride the top Ben wanted a hero shot of him trying the first 25 ft.

And another.

And, oh yeah, steep. I didn't even try this top part. Ben walked the rest of the way to our designated starting point.

We convinced Steve to guinea pig it for us.

Steve sliding out.

And 25 seconds later, Steve as a speck.

Then it was our turn. I wanted to tandem it with Ben so Steve could shoot some video of both of us. However, after coming down off my photo spot I realized it probably would be better for one person to lead and another to follow. I was going to let Ben go but he seemed somewhat unsure of the steepness (for those who have been following my blog, this scree is MUCH steeper and longer than the slope in Sorata), and maybe the slide-out just up the slope made him somewhat nervous, so I went for it.

Ben found his footing!

Kicking up rocks for the camera.

And stoked!

My shot of the same fist pump. You can sort of gauge the angle of the slope... but not really.

You can see our tracks from the road, quite a ways away.

Ben and I checking out our tracks.

We finished off the ride with really steep singletrack (aka llama paths) and then jumped onto a dirt road. After the dirt road we hit the highway and bombed through La Paz back to our house. Riding in La Paz = more scary then any mountain biking! However, once you get the flow of traffic it's not all that difficult to ride in the city.

It's steep, I'm dabbing.

Another shot of the singletrack.

To sum our day up, if a picture's worth a thousand words, then...

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post and images. Looks like you guys had a great time. Keep it up, man! :)

    Cheers from Sweden.