Day 185 – La Paz, Bolivia and the Death Road

Day 185 – La Paz, Bolivia and the Death Road      02/22/11      Mileage: 0

One of the first things I knew I wanted to do on this trip was to ride the famous “Death Road” (also called “The Worlds Most Dangerous Road”) here in Bolivia. It got this reputation from the amount of trucks, buses and cars that met an early demise along with their passengers because the road is so narrow with sheer cliffs…and of course no guard rails.

Well it’s not nearly as dangerous as it once was as a new safer and modern road was built a few years ago to bypass it. So today the Death Road has become more of a playground for adventure seekers on motorcycles and to an even greater extent… mountain bikes.

So my dilemma was deciding how to ride it…on my KLR or a mountain bike. I went back and forth but decided to hire a mountain bike…as I would consider myself more of a die-hard mountain biker than motorcyclist. I found a tour operator (Barro) that had nice Kona Coiler dual suspension bikes and at 8:30am we set off up the pass in the support van.

Near the top of the pass it began to rain and soon we were above the snow line.

Just over the other side of the pass we pulled over and got ready for the first leg of the descent which was paved.

It was a fast and cold descent in the rain…but good fun anyway. Then it was back in the van for a short shuttle to the beginning of the top of the Death Road where we would bomb down to the valley below…and try not to run any corners wide!

The rain was still coming down but the temperature was rising with every mile we descended. How they built this road is a mystery to me as it is literally carved into a sheer cliff face in spots, if you run off the road, you had better hope it’s into the side of the cliff and not off the other side into oblivion. Several mountain bikers have died here over the last few years, like the Israeli girl for whom the memorial in the picture below is for.

That being said it is honestly pretty tame, but still great fun! Farther down the sun came out and we had a light lunch and admired the view.

Back on the bikes we continued down the last stretch to the town of Yungo in the valley below where we were treated to a hot shower and a nice dinner.

This guy was also having lunch near us…

Afterwards we piled into the van and headed back up and over the pass to La Paz.

Coming down from the pass with the city lights of La Paz below…

It was a long but fun and memorable day and one that will stand out from the others on this trip.

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7 Responses to Day 185 – La Paz, Bolivia and the Death Road

  1. Nancy says:

    I really enjoyed this entry! It must have felt so good to get back on a mtn bike…nice change. It looks like it was a great trip from top to bottom.

    Hanging here with Shane in his crib…with a glass of wine 🙂 he’s progressing as we expected so all is good.

    Can’t wait to see your next adventures….I will be pretty much house bound with him for the next week or so …..

    • Lenny says:

      Poor guy…I saw they shaved his arse too…I have to pay good money to have that done… Lol 😛 I’m glad he’s on the mend and everything is going well otherwise…

  2. lisa says:

    amazing!! what an experience – must have been bonding time with those people that you didn’t even know. all is good here! getting ready for eryn’s big 40th this weekend! showed my class macchu picchu today – they love seeing the pics. a couple of them keep saying how crazy you are!! You are like a celebrity in my class – so funny! miss you and love ya, lisa

    • Lenny says:

      Hey Lisa! It was a great time for sure…one more off the bucket list! Tell Eryn I said happy birthday! I’d love to catch up on skype one of these days. That’s funny about your class…maybe I’ll swing by the school when I get back! TTYS!

  3. Lynn Hilliard says:

    All I can say is Wow and “I hate you” because I’ll never do anything like that…but…at least through you I can see things I never would have seen otherwise. Lynn

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