Monday, March 7, 2011

Stage Two - 7 March, 2011

On Stage 2:
Stage 2 named Slot Canyons begins at 08:00am on March 7 and will see competitors complete a longer stage than today, at 41.8km (26.0 miles). The course will take them through river canyons, water crossings, across loose rocks and sand, and they will have to negotiate almost 800m of elevation gains and losses.

A video of the backdrop of Stage two-

Stage Update from the Atacama Crossing website

Sumanth's blog post on his experience of stage 2 - 

After a good night's sleep, I woke up very refreshed and mentally ready to tackle Stage 2, "The Slot Canyons".  

The first 20.8km were sheer hell - 3km by road - 8km in a river canyon where I got soaking wet upto my knees and at times, thighs - one km on a 4x4 track (and this was just upto checkpoint 1).  The next 9.6 km saw us climb up and up and up.  Great scenery but I wasn't in a frame of mind to appreciate.  The incline was really steep, at times almost 45-60 degrees.  The route to CP2 ended with a tumble down through an endless sand dune, which sloped at an incline of 60-70 degrees (almost vertical, if you ask me).  As a reward, I received my first blister of the race, which was quickly treated at CP2 and after a brief rest, I set out for CP3.

The route to CP3 was an off road track and I was walking this at an easy pace of 4-5km per hour.  The terrain was just loose sand, packed at some points, rocky in the other.  What hit most of us was that the sun was right out there and blazing away.  I must have consumed about 2.5 litres of water just to keep from dehydrating.  And I promise you, CP3 was a sight for sore eyes.  I filled up and headed out to CP4 (also camp for tonight).

The route to CP4 was just crusty and sandy terrain.  Lots of scrub/bushes which made one look out carefully for the route markers.  I can only say this - there was one single tree about 4km from CP4.  And this was the only tree for the last 26km or so.  When you see this, you only feel grateful to Mother Nature.  I rushed as quickly as I could manage and took a 5 minute stop and refreshed myself with water and salt tablets.

Reached CP4 at 5PM, a total of 9 hours in the desert. I can only sum up my feelings at this time - gratitude and a renewed respect of the sun.

I am off to dinner now and then a night's rest, getting ready for tomorrow's stage 3 - The Atacamenos Trail.

More tomorrow.  Keep the good wishes coming in.


His timing for stage 2 was 8 hours and 58 minutes.


  1. Three Cheers Sumanth !! Very proud to read about your first stage and what you are pitted against. Its truly a test of determination and hats off to you and the other participants !
    Best wishes... and eager to read about the next stage !

  2. All the best Sumanth to you and Michelle and also to the rest of the bunch. Man what a challenge the next few days. One thing is sure that at the end of such a life changing experience you all will be one changed characters for better :)) Best wishes and be safe Cdr Ashvini