Hiking up Devil`s Tooth

La Muela del Diablo

La Muela del Diablo

I recently took a hike up La Muela del Diablo (Devil`s Tooth), the craggy peak that features to the far right of my home page image of La Paz.  An extinct volcano, La Muela sits at 3825m above sea level and is a foreboding sight.  Legend has it that La Muela del Diablo and Mount Illimani once fought against one another, sending bolts of lightning across the valley.

Located high above the city`s most affluent neighbourhood, la Zona Sur, La Muela is a pleasant, if slightly breathless from the altitude, half-day hike that begins with winding dusty trails to the grassy base and becomes a rocky scramble to the peak.  I made it to the V-shaped point between the two right-hand pinnacles, beyond which point technical climbing gear and nerves of steel are required.  The daunting climb up the rocky outcrop was well worth it, with magnificent views of the bowl-shaped city of La Paz and the surrounding valleys as a reward.

La Muela is known to attract brujería (witchcraft) and I was warned against touching any evidence of this, such as the small piles of rocks scattered at intervals along the trail, remains of campfires and especially the abundant knotted grasses closer to the peak.  It definitely adds an element of fear, when scrambling up a slope of scree, to know that any deliberate or accidental contact with knotted grass might have ominous consequences.  I was somewhat relieved to leave the witchcraft behind and be picking my way through potato fields and clusters of cacti on the descent.

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Unexpected outdoor restaurant

Unexpected outdoor mini-restaurant

Outdoor oven in the middle of nowhere

Outdoor oven in the middle of nowhere

Knotted grass, evidence of witchcraft

Knotted grass

Knotted grass, evidence of witchcraft

…evidence of witchcraft

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The distant skyscrapers in the top left of the photo indicate La Paz`s city centre

The distant skyscrapers in the top left of the photo indicate La Paz`s city centre

With that, I wish you all happy and peaceful holidays!  ¡Feliz Navidad a todos!

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14 thoughts on “Hiking up Devil`s Tooth

    • Probably a good idea. I never did find out exactly what the sinister repercussions would be, but somehow it`s worse left to the imagination! x

  1. “Small piles of rocks scattered at intervals along the trail” – Hey, over here we call those ‘cairns’ and they are useful in mist, and the knotted grass results from a last grasp when your life hangs in the balance. I don’t think I’m ready to hike in Bolivia!

  2. I am starting to consider that you are actually pretty good in this blogger thing, keep doing!! 🙂
    Feliz navidad desde Alemania!

    • Thank you Alex! I didn`t get a firm answer on what would actually happen, just a strict warning and a general sense of foreboding evil…which was enough to deter me from experimenting. I plan to go back on horseback (not the rocky part) and will try to find out more then.

  3. Merry Christmas Joni: What a great history/adventure I’m getting through you. Can just imagine you climbing over those rocks & trails. And the outdoor restaurant was certainly unexpected,eh?
    Regards,Phyllis

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