There was nothing deep about today… except the steep canyon, its greedy mouth open wide to my left hand side. My mountain bike skids in the dust, but I’m alright. It’s just the Death Road..
This is the North Yungas Road to the locals – the Death Road – to tourists. It is one of the few routes that connects the Yungas region of northern Bolivia to the capital city. Upon leaving La Paz, the single lane, gravel road ascends to around 4,650 meters (15,260 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) at the town of Coroico, transiting quickly from cool Altiplano terrain to rainforest as it winds through very steep hillsides and atop cliffs.
That entire drop – some 3,400 meters – happens over about 40 miles, all of which I rode today.
And I hardly pedaled once.
I went down with four other people, and three of them wiped out.
Allegedly, one tourist a year dies on this rough, gravelly stretch. I can’t speak to that, but there are a number of crosses on the way down – marking where locals past have met their fates.
The Death Road indeed.