High Desert, Bolivia, Sandstorm-A-Neering

Bjarne & Andreas' Excellent Andean Adventure #3

(Ed’s note: Find earlier posts in this series here—No. 2 from Peru, and No. 1 from Ecuador.)

By Andreas Fransson

I ask myself what we are doing here? There’s sand everywhere. It’s crunching between my teeth when I close my mouth and we have been walking up this sand escalator for hours.

We are on Bolivia’s highest mountain, Sajama, out in the desert, and I’m here to ski. I’m smiling at my decision of going here… made a few months back when I did not have a clue of what this was all about and Google was my only source. Now we are here in the middle of a minor sandstorm in the search of making some turns in an exotic place.

Getting here was easy, and climbing the mountain bizarre, but in the end I managed to get a few GS turns done with the desert as a back drop. I started out the adventure more tired than ever and ended it even worse. And I love to laugh about our whole ordeal of trying to get back to La Paz after the adventure. We were supposed to get a ride to the bus, but got dropped of at a trailer checkpoint where they never had heard about a bus. We found out it was the home for elderly Scandinavian Volvo trucks and hitched a ride with one of them, giving me back the sensations from watching the old picture The Convoy, with Kris Kristofferson.

De-sanding, Bolivia-style. Photo: Andreas Fransson

De-sanding, Bolivia-style. Photo: Andreas Fransson

I had loved to scream out—“Rubber duck, rubber duck come on!”—on the radio and pump the horn, but I was just too tired. When they let us off in the suburbs of La Paz in the night, the driver told us to not talk to anyone, take a cab with the right registration number, and especially hide from the false cops who were roving the neighborhood.

Like most empty air that is dressed up like jagged hell, none of our nightmares came true and when I look back I especially remember the hot springs with the mountain in the background that we truly enjoyed after another adventure well done.

See Fransson’s personal blog HERE », and Sahlén’s HERE ».

Nevado Sajama. Photo: Andreas Fransson

Nevado Sajama. Photo: Andreas Fransson

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