Pass to Tolconi

Yauri(Espinar) to Tolconi

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My zig-zag approach of going north continues by getting back to the west. The main reason I went from Chivay to Yauri as opposed going directly to the north is the fact that there is some supposedly nice scenery from Yauri back to the east. And sure enough, ride through Tres Cañones is really beautiful. Afterwards I am ready to start a real alti-route (covered mostly by subsequent posts)

July 5

The road from Yauri/Espinar first goes on a big (alti-)plane. In fact, it really reminds me the route from Juliaca to Mañazo. This slowly changes though as I reach a start of a canyon. The first demo of what will come shows already when crossing a bridge over Rio Apurimac which cuts into the flat altiplano. But the real treat starts only a while later when I rejoin the river by descending into a bit wider canyon.

Altiplano around Yauri
There are lots of these nice little birds
Rio Apurimac
When again joining Rio Apurimac kilometers upstream it is in a wider canyon

The afternoon ride is mostly through the Tres cañones scenery of big rocky walls. This is sprinkled by frequent archeology site signs though I am not visiting the sites because it is impossible to say how far from the road they are.

The canyon is getting deeper ...
... with some impressive walls
The detour through Yauri was definitely worth it
Tres cañones

Of course, as with everything good, the ride through Tres cañones slowly ends by the evening when I find myself slowly climbing out of the end of (one) canyon and back into the hilly pampa.

The canyon walls slowly changes into rocks
In the evening I am leaving the canyon behind
But before there are some rock formations to see

July 6

The day starts by finishing the yesterday's climb to a pass. On the way I watch viscochas and a funny type of a bird which either can't or do not want to fly and instead just runs on the ground.

I am ready to finish yesterday's climb
There are some sunnying viscochas around
And these well-masked birds which seem to only quickly run instead of flying

As yesterday I did most of the climbing I reach the pass quite early. It opens new and exciting views. But it isn't exactly hot here so after a quick photo-taking I am ready for the descent.

I make a quick photo in the pass
And go towards new views
The descent is slow as the road doesn't warrant fast pace

Descent from the pass is slow as the road is in a crappy condition. Thus it comes as a big relief when I finally rejoin Rio Apurimac in a wide valley and cross it just to join the road from Chivay to Caylloma.

In the lowpoint I again rejoin with Rio Apurimac
But just before that I am observing ducks in a pond
I am finishing last kilometers to Caylloma skirting this wide valley

As I reach Caylloma quite early to finish the day I find some comedor to get lunch and then continue on towards Tolconi. The road first continues in the valley around Caylloma until it decides to turn into a side valley and climb out of it. The climb follows a relatively dusty road with some vicuñas quickly running away once I get near. Apart from the altitude I am also attacked by frequently strong wind.


The climb also marks the start of my epic 200 kilometer long journey all over 4500 meters of altitude. Which is to say I am going to camp in a real harsh conditions -- when I finally find some place which seems to be flat and at least a bit out of the wind I am already at the height of 4640 meters. I am definitely expecting a cold night.

After Caylloma I enjoy a short flattish section before next ascent
There is some guanaco spotting during the ascent
Until I get out of this valley and hurry to find a place to camp

July 7

Unsurprisingly, the night at altitude of 4640m was quite cold. As a bonus, for some unknown reason my mobile died just after two days so I am performing a quick charge through my solar panel. While the phone is charging I am debating whether it is going to be an easy or a difficult day -- I have either 30 kilometers to Tolconi or 60 to Arcata (there is no point in camping inbetween because these are lowpoints in the universally high route).

Morning views

Today's road goes over alti-hilly terrain. Right from the morning I can see a lots of vicuñas. The road climbs through a beautiful volcanic-looking part only to start really undulating.

This view would be much better if I did not see where the road goes
Vicuña safari continues
Looking back it seems that I did not climb that much

As undulations continue my hopes of quickly reaching the pass are diminishing. Instead I have to endure a nasty cold-blowing wind. But the scenery of hills around is nice. And there are even some interesting rock formations.

In the distance I can see some sugar-coated hills
Interesting rock formations

When I finally reach the pass I can see big lakes on the way down. This means a chance to see flamingoes. I really don't get it how these birds can stand in the freezing cold water.

Finally at the pass
See that cloud? It is from some volcano
Vicuñas are even on the descent
Lone flamingo
More flamingoes

I end up in Tolconi just at the wrong time. It is already too late to continue towards Arcata. But still very early to stay. In the end I just opt for staying as the village has an accomodation option. There is just nobody around it though. So I spend the waiting time by getting to a local restaurant and having a surprisingly good and non-standard food (shrimp soup was particularly good). When I finally get the accomodation there is another problem -- there doesn't seem to be electricity in the sockets. Oh, no problem, the owner just takes down the current and hotwires the connection before my eyes.


Loading map...

Download simplified GPX of a route here

Stats by activity:

Activity Distance
Pedal rotations
bike 123 1.5 31
Stats by day:
Date Distance
Avg. temp
(moving, C)
July 5, 2017 49.8 0.56 14.5
July 6, 2017 40.7 0.63 12.9
July 7, 2017 32.9 0.35 8.5

Elevation data

Loading graph...
(drag over a region to zoom in, right-click reset)

The next table is only for cycling activity.

Grade(%)Ascent (km)Descent(km)
< 2 55.6
< 4 16.1 9.6
< 6 7.5 5.0
< 8 2.7 1.6
< 10 1.0 0.2
≥ 10 0.4 0.3

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Dec. 19, 2020, 3:43 a.m. - Cokeneogy

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