Uyarihuay is a project created to bring direct assistance to children in the community of Pucarumi, in the Ausangate district, situated at an altitude of 4000 m at the edge of the snow line. The community’s 150 school children come from very modest families and receive no government funding to cover educational materials. The Uyarihuay project came about thanks to the numerous visitors to Peru wishing to help the village’s children by buying or bringing school supplies, warm clothing and shoes. The assistance is given directly to the community.
Uyarihuay means “listen to me” in Quechua. We believe that listening to what the children have to say makes us better able to help them.
We greatly appreciate and depend upon the contribution of travellers to continue supporting, creating and growing Uyarihuay’s many projects.
The Cusco region is mountain bike paradise. Red Bull even designed a reckless race through the city’s streets, drawing big names. There’s also the MegaAvalanche international downhill competition, which has brought out such world downhill champions as Steve Peat, Chris Van dyne, Cedric Gracia and Gee Atherton. As the entire Transandes staff is made up of adept mountain bikers, we decided to launch the TRANSANDES CUP to encourage the local scene and designate a local champion. To accomplish this goal, one of our objectives is to import high-end bikes and equipment at reasonable prices for local athletes who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the tools necessary to compete at the national and international level. The Transandes Club also encourages young and aspiring cyclists from Cusco by offering them the possibility to enter into the world of cycling. A road cycling series is in development.
After countless downhill rides on Bolivia’s famous Death Road and on the Mount Chacaltaya road, where you’ll find the world’s highest ski center, one day we had an inspiration: why not climb the Death Road instead, and finish at the summit of Chacaltaya? As soon as we voiced this idea, a challenge had been laid down, one as titanic as the mountains we were about to confront.
Mount Chacaltaya sits at a towering 5395 m, and is located close to La Paz, Bolivia’s capital. Coroico, at 1525 m, is a small village in the Yunga forests, an ecosystem that bridges the Amazon jungle and the Andean highlands. This equates to 3870 metres of climbing over 102 kilometres... in a single day!
On our first ascent, we began early in the morning in the suffocating subtropical heat of the Yungas, climbing a winding dirt road carved into the cliffs and bordered by spectacular chasms over which waterfalls flow as though from the heavens – the Death Road in all its glory!
At around 3000 m we began to leave Coroico’s heat behind, reaching Chuspipata, a turning point in our journey. From here on we climbed a paved road that gradually wound its way through a large Andean valley and over La Cumbre pass at 4700 m. This section is cold, but also humid due to the clouds that rise up out of the jungle and roll into the Andes. From La Cumbre, we took the Del Choro trail, an Inca road in good condition, though rocky, which turned into single track as we neared Chacaltaya’s peak. After 12 km of pure cross-country riding, we took a tiny wagon trail up to Chacaltaya’s observatory, our day’s final objective.
Our 17-hour uphill grind covered 102 km with a gain of 3870 metres – a new record!
Project Uturuncu was born in the winter of 2002, during Darcy Lemire and Julie Lefebvre’s cycling journey in the Lipez region, which included a 16-day stretch without fresh supplies, riding in the shadow of the Licancabur volcano. In the winter of 2003, the couple returned to the region, accompanied by Philippe Leblanc and Bolivian Renan Velasquez, this time aided by a 4X4 vehicle and military maps. This latter expedition’s objective was to explore the base of Uturuncu to determine the feasibility of cycling up the mountain and to ensure that such an exploit had never been attempted in the past. With positive findings on all fronts, we began planning our ascent for March 2004, the best time of year to conquer this 6020 metre giant.
Our goal was to stretch to limits of possibility by becoming the first cyclists to ride to the top of the world’s highest road, passing above the 6000 meter barrier.
Chronique de Gilles Morneau
14 avril 2004: Uturuncu: Les braves approchent du but
16 avril 2004: Uturuncu: Mission accomplie !