Let fall adventures in the Southern Hemisphere begin. Fall in the Andes brings the most incredible light, It's like golden hour all day long! By the looks of it, April was going to be BUSY!
I had been emailing back and forth with Katie Holden for at least a couple of weeks. I was out and about in Argentina and Katie had arrived to Santiago, Chile to start a riding adventure through South America.
FInally we made ends meet, Katie was coming back from a race in Tucuman, Northern Argentina and I had returned to Mendoza from my trip. She jumped on the bus and the evening of her birthday we met up in Mendoza to hash out a plan to shoot!
I only had a few days, but I had a plan.
The next morning we loaded up and headed for the gas station to hit up the breakfast essentials, media lunas (croissants) and empanadas! We hit the road and climbed out of a cloud into the HUGE Andes mountains that rise above Mendoza. Luck was with us and we busted out of the clouds into a full blue bird day.
Our plan was to head into a place called "El Christo", a place I had found a few months earlier with some friends from Mendoza. Many years ago, deep in the mountains, people had built a road to the top and built a giant statue of Christ. The Argentine people's dedication to their religion had just allowed us to access some of the most incredible freeride mountain biking in the world!!
Our first stop, before El Christo, would be in front of the largest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, Aconcagua. I had driven by this incredible sight millions of times over the last 7 years and every time I thought, "How sick would it be to get a single track shot with Aconcagua towering above?". The weather was in our favour so we went for it and the photo turned out incredible!
It was time to head toward the big lines of El Christo. I fired up the car and realized that the half tank of gas I had when we left Mendoza, which I was positive would be enough for the day, was now down to one bar... This was not good, but I wasn't about to turn back. I figured, up at the top, surely I could buy a few liters off of the military if I really needed to.
Winding up the dirt road, I soon lost my last bar and the fuel light came on..the only explanation I can think of is the altitude was causing the gas to go fast. We were around 4000 meters, over 12000 feet.. no light snack!
The golden light on the huge red slopes was enough to put our minds off the waning gas situation. We scoped the line and Katie started to hike over to the spot where we knew we would get the nugg of a lifetime. I jumped in the car and rolled in neutral to the spot below on the road where I saw the best angle on our way up. Of course we had no radios and when we both got into position, I had to jump up and down so Katie could see I was ready, she was waaaay up there! The light was perfect, Katie dropped in and we nailed it!
When we met again at the bottom, our stoke was so high we didn't even mention the gas situation until a few kms down the road. We were so high in the mountains, I was hoping I could roll out for at least 30 or 40 Kms in neutral without starting the car. I wasn't sure how far away the first gas station was but I knew it was somewhere around 70 or 80 kms..
We milked the hills but every so often would come to a flat where I would have to start the car to go over 5km per hour. Finally we rolled into the military check point in the middle of the desolate mountains. I knew we had to try to get some gas there or we simply wouldn't make it.. I noticed a few guys weed wacking on the side of the road so I went over to ask them. They confirmed that we had over 50 kms to go until Uspallata, the next gas.. So I began to beg them to sell me some fuel. Luckily it was the end of the day and they were willing to sell me the last 4 liters out of their weed wackers! Yahoooo!!
Gas now in the tank we were pretty sure we would make it, but still I milked the hills all the way out, running the car only when necessary!
Our photos from our day were incredible, quite honesty some of the best I've taken in years. One thing, however a photo may not tell at first glance is the story behind it.
Every Photo Has A Story. Thanks for an awesome couple of days Katie!