Thursday 8 July 2010

Salar de Uyuni - Challenges (Part 1)

There are several challenges I will be facing while making the crossing. Below I have listed the ones I expect to cause issues (I am sure there will be unexpected ones too).


The obvious problem is that my water will freeze, which means drinking and cooking will become very
Taken in Megeve, FranceImage via Wikipedia
difficult. In the arctic or high mountains this is not a problem as you can melt snow using your stove. In the Salar there is no snow cover and I will be carrying my water with me in bottles.

If the temperature does not drop too far below freezing during the day frozen water will not be a problem - there will be enough liquid water in the evening for cooking and I can take a bottle with me in the sleeping bag for the morning.

If the water is frozen solid thoughout the day the only way out I can think of is by having a bottle on my person, under the jacket so that it doesn't freeze. I will use that for cooking and take a frozen bottle of water in my sleeping bag for the morning. Doesn't sound very appealing. Does anyone else have relevant experience? Any suggestions?


The place is extremely exposed and at a very high altitude so I do expect almost constant, strong, freezing wind. although it is tempting to think a tail wind would be preferable a very strong tail wind can cause knee problems as you are constantly trying to resist being pushed forward by it.

With high winds and very low humidity windburn will definitely also be a problem.


It is hard to overestimate the amount of sunllight reflected by a bright wide surface at 4km altitude. In Greenland I had sunburn in the indide of my nostrils, the roof of my mouth and the underside of my eyes, the latter because my sunglasses did not have "guards". This time around I have armed myself with a pair of Julbo Explorer glacier glasses. I haven't tried those before so when I come back I will write a review.

For head protection I will go for a shemagh. I will post a description of how this can be used at a later date.

The pictures below and on the right show the glacier glasses and shemagh. The yellow bits on the glasses are the guards which apparently stop light/wind/etc. coming through.

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