The first leg of our trip took us unladen along the Quebrada de Humahuaca and then across the Abra del Condor (3850m) to the attractive village of Iruya.
We backtracked with help from a couple of buses and picked up our camping gear from Salta in order to complete the main loop, which began with the climb to San Antonio de los Cobres on the altiplano, where we spent a few days resting and acclimatising.
Then we set off across the Abra del Acay, which we didnt place above 4800m but which is nonetheless the highest pass we have cycled to date, reaching La Poma on the other side in a days riding.
We rode on to the attractive town of Cachi and then across the Piedra del Molino pass and back to Salta, where we had a few days in hand. Our camping gear and warm clothes had never come out of their panniers.
The scenery is vast and bleak, and will appeal to those who like empty barren places. The people are largely indigenous, though much of the architecture is colonial (the Spanish originally entered Argentina from this corner). The tarmac roads are good, but the ripio is rather sandy.
The map is at double resolution, so good for printing, but not especially accurate. All altitude measurements are our own, but are purely barometric. We have no reason to doubt their accuracy.