The Andes and Atacama Desert are behind me


I have been out of contact for some time. The only post that has been published in the last couple of weeks was a very short one indeed. I am sorry to say that this one will also be quite short as time is very tight at the moment.

BUT it must be reported that the Andes and the Atacama Desert, two of the biggest challenges of this expedition are now behind me…

It took me 11 days of running to get from Calama in Chile to Jujuy in Argentina. The total distance was 577km and I had to run (jog, walk, crawl) to 4831m, 21m higher than Mont Blanc and anywhere in Europe.


My Andes Crossing – 577km in 11 running days

During this section I had to deal with:

  • High altitude running – all, apart from today, higher than anywhere in the UK
  • Sub zero conditions (night) -10
  • High temperatures (day) +35
  • Extreme winds
  • Very limited access to food and water replenishment
  • Blistered lower lip (6 days now)
  • Sleep deprivation

Here is a quick overview:

Day 1 – Run 47km from Calama and camp in windy desert –

Day 2 – 42km mostly downhill into San Pedro de Atacama. Awesome scenery of Atacama Desert from the mountains –


Day 3 – Prep for Andes Crossing

Day 4 – 32km of uphill running ending at 4260m. Ascent of 1695m. Sub zero camping on side of road.

Day 5 – 60km running to peak of 4831m – 21m higher than any point in Europe. Great running but wind starting to reek havoc. Again sub zero camping.

Day 6 – About 70km running over another 4800m pass and then descending to 4200m and the Chile/Argentinean border. Extreme winds throughout the day and beginning of sores developing on the inside of my bottom lip. Slept in a disused house at the border.

Day 7 – Really hard 55km across a bleak desert with hellish wind blowing from the side with nowhere to shelter. Real mental battle to keep going. Had the fortune to sleep in a information tourist office.

Day 8 – 55km running through some amazing scenery. Wind had died down a bit but had to deal with a bad stomach. Managed to arrive in a town called Susques but unfortunately there was very little there to eat – got a shower though…


Day 9 – Over 68km over some amazingly beautiful hills and canyons and then down onto a plain that culminated in a salt flat. Slept at the side of the road sheltering from the wind behind a pile of earth. Dinner consisted of a packet of instant noodles and a can of tuna. –

Day 10 – over 60km up and down the side of a mountain. Huge switchbacks (both up and down)provided the most stunning scenery. Started the day with only 1.5l of water and managed to get through the day with a total of about 2l. Arrived in Purmamarca.

Day 11 and 12 – working on a PR project

Day 13 – The first day of mostly descent though awfully cold. Had to work in the morning so was happy to cover 50km and fid a nice little campsite in Yala.

Day 14 – A meagre 15km into Jujuy and half day (which once again included no resting!)

Luckily the road ahead is a little kinder when it comes to hills!

jujuy to BA

The downhill stretch to BA and the finish line!!!

One comment

  1. Jamie you are utterly utterly amazing, I can’t believe what I’m reading, you are beyond human, your mental strength needs a round of applause. You really are achieving the unachievable!
    Following you with huge admiration.

    Love Camilla (Matheson) xxx

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