Showing posts with label Bolivia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bolivia. Show all posts

Belgian Adventurer Becomes First to Traverse Bolivian Salars on Foot

I'm a little late in posting this story, but better late than never. Back in October, Belgian adventurer Louis-Philippe Loncke became the first person to traverse both the Salar de Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia on foot, covering some 250 km (155 miles) in just seven days, completely solo and unassisted.

The Salar de Uyuni is the the largest salt flat in the world, stretching out over 10,582 sq. km (4086 sq. miles) on the Bolivian Altiplano. While smaller, the Salar de Coipasa is no small area of land either, covering 806 sq. km (311 sq. miles). Adding to the challenge was an average altitude of over 3700 meters (12,139 ft) and plenty of rough, dry terrain as well.

This was Loncke's second attempt at crossing the two salars. Back in 2013 he made a similar trek, but had to abandon the attempt six days in due to a lack of water. But since that time, he has crossed both Death Valley and the Simpson Desert in Australia in foot, using the experience he gained in those environments to help him survive this one too. Those expeditions have helped him to perfect the load he carries, which includes enough water to complete the trek, but few other amenities – including no cook stove or communications gear.

While trekking in Bolivia, Loncke spent about 14 hours a day on the trail. He'd walk from 6 AM to 8 AM most days. Temperatures ranged from 0ºC (32ºF) at night, to 19ºC (66ºF) during the day. But, because of the altitude, thin air, and the reflection of the sun off of the salar, the temperatures typically felt more lie 40ºC (104ºF). Add in winds that regularly approached 60 km/h (37 mph), and you start to have weather conditions that can be very taxing on both the body and mind.


The Belgian adventurer's approach to crossing deserts has evolved considerably over the years. On past expeditions, he would often employ a specially built cart that would carry all of his gear and supplies, including water. But, that cart was often very heavy and ponderous to use, so instead he now carries everything in a backpack. That pack starts off quite heavy, as it is filled with lots of liquids, but as he consumes food and water over the course of the trek, it lightens up considerably, allowing him to go faster. At the start of the salar crossing, the pack weighed in at 43kg (95 pounds). That's a tremendous amount of weight to have strapped to your back, and a big reason why he only managed about 2 km/hr (1.2 mph) at the start of the trek.

This expedition was the third in an epic year of travels on foot through major desert. In November of 2015 he completed the Death Valley crossing and in August of this year he wrapped up the Simpson Desert. It also mores the confusion of 10 years of adventures, with 15 total expeditions, and 10 world firsts. Loncke isn't sure what will come next however, as he has a number of idea, but also plans to write a book or two, and work on documentaries of his previous journeys.

Whatever comes next, I'm sure it'll be adventurous and interesting.

Two Wheelchair-bound Adventurers Setting Off on South American Expedition

Maciek Kaminski and Michal Woroch are Polish adventurers. The two men met 12 years ago, and stuck ups a lasting friendship that has thrived in the years since. Both have a passion for travel and adventure, which led them to exploring Europe together. Now, Maciek and Michal are planning an extended expedition through some of the most remote regions of South America. And, oh yeah – they both happen to be wheelchair bound.

Explorer's Web has the story of how these two men met at a physical therapy clinic and began hatching schemes of adventure with one another. They wanted to show that just because they were confined to a wheelchair it didn't mean they had to give up on their dreams of adventure and exploration. On the contrary, it has spurred them on to show the rest of us just what they can do.

In March of this year, Maciek and Michal applied for – and won – the Anderzej Zawada Award, which includes a monetary prize to help support young adventurers with their plans to explore the world. In this case, the two men had to appear before a jury and were given five minutes to convince them that they were worth funding. From the account given by ExWeb, they were very convincing. The two men went home with the prize, which will now help pay for their upcoming journey through South America.

On November 9, Maciek and Michal will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina to begin their adventure. The two men will travel in a specially built 1996 Land Rover Defender 110 that is equipped with a roof-top tent for them to stay in, as well as plenty of storage for the gear and equipment that they'll take with them. The vehicle has also been modified from a manual to an automatic transmission, with both the gas and brakes now being hand-controlled. This will allow them to drive the Defender, even though they don't have the use of their legs.

The plan is to first drive to Cape Horn, the very tip of South America, and one of the most remote and wild area on the planet. The weather on the Horn is legendary, and sailors have gone out of their way to avoid that part of the world for hundreds of years. From there, they'll turn north and drive along the Pacific coast line up through Chile and Bolivia, before eventually turning their attention on Peru. They plan to visit the Amazon Rainforest while in that country, where they are even scheduled to meet with a local Shaman healer.

The entire journey is expected to take about six months to complete, although the two men are discussing extending it further. There is the possibility that they may continue to drive north to Costa Rica, and potentially all the way to the U.S. Right now, they're playing it by ear and seeing how things unfold.

This adventure will be a great travel challenge, especially for two men who have to use wheelchairs to get around. But, I love that their mission is to break stereotypes and prove to the world what they can do. Simply by setting off on this grand journey they are already accomplishing that goal.

Video: A Visit to Bolivia's Altiplano

Bolivia's Altiplano is one of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. With its wide open vistas, unearthly landscapes, and wide-open skies, it is a place that has to be seen to be believed. This video takes us there, giving us a whirlwind tour of this often overlooked South American destination. Enjoy the views and be sure to put Bolivia on your bucket list.

Uyuni - Bolivia from Erwin Olmos on Vimeo.

Video: The North Face Presents - Lost Gringos

This video is definitely for those who enjoy a good story with their beautiful clips of mountains. It follows ski mountaineer Sam Smoothy – and friends – as he travels to the Andes mountains in Bolivia to follow in his father's footsteps. Year's earlier, Sam's dad went to the mountains to make some first ski descents, and now his son is doing the same. The story is both inspiring and touching, with some great scenery as well. Get comfortable for this one, you'll want to watch it all the way through.

Video: Lands of Wind - A Journey Across Peru and Bolivia

Need a brief escape to South America today? Than check out this great video that takes us to Peru and Bolivia to explore the culture, people, and landscapes that can be found there. It is a colorful look at a part of the world that has a lot to offer travelers, ranging from mountains to jungle to desert, with just about everything in-between.

And when you're ready to go visit these places for yourself, check out the wide variety of travel options to South America that my friends at Mountain Travel Sobek have to offer. They have several itineraries for both Bolivia and Peru, as well as several other countries.

LANDS OF WIND from Baptiste Lanne on Vimeo.

Video: Drone Flight Over Bolivia in 4k

Bolivia is one of the South American countries that often gets forgotten when competing for attention against the likes of Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. But the country has a natural beauty all of its own, and plenty of great opportunities for adventure. This video was shot using a drone and a 4k GoPro Hero4 Black camera. It captures a variety of landscapes from Bolivia in fashion that is both oddly mesmerizing and incredibly tranquil. Shot at 3000 meters (9842 feet) in altitude, the video shows fantastic shots of the famous salt flats, as the altiplano stretches out before you. The soothing music only adds to the experience.

Flying Bolivia in 4K from Octocam on Vimeo.

Video: South America by Drone

Adam Humphrey, the filmmaker behind this beautiful short film, spent five weeks backpacking through South America, covering more than 19,000 km (11,800 miles) in the process. Along the way, he shot some amazing video – with the help of a drone – in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. The results speak for themselves, as viewers are treated to fantastic shots of some of the most stunning landscapes on the continent, if not the world.

South America by drone from Adam Humphrey on Vimeo.

Video: Wondrous Timelapse From South America

Shot in Chile and Bolivia, this beautiful video captures timelapse footage from the amazing landscapes that can be found in those two countries. You'll see everything from sun-soaked deserts to rocky canyons to snowcapped peaks, with a lot in between. It is a wonderful short journey through a part of the world that I personally enjoy immensely. After watching this clip I think you'll understand why.

Wondrous Timelapse from VDOLAB on Vimeo.

Video: The Beautiful Ride - A Motorcycle Journey Through South America

When filmmaker Jason Spafford decided to ride his motorcycle across South America, passing through Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in the process, he brought his GoPro camera and a DJI Phantom drone along to capture some of the fun. The result is this beautiful short film that provides us with an amazing glimpse of the wild landscapes that he encountered along the way. Simply beautiful.

SOUTH AMERICA - THE BEAUTIFUL RIDE from jason Spafford on Vimeo.