Lamas along the Inca trail, El Cumbre, 1991
Synonymous with the Andes, llamas are known around the world for their
wool and ability to carry loads on their back (sometimes as heavy
as 70 pounds / 31.75 kg per animal). In pre-Columbian times, as in
the present, llamas have transported goods from countryside to urban
regions, along high Andean paths and more conventional roads. In this
image a herd of llamas carry wood from the tropical valleys east of
the Andes, up through Aymara villages and over to the mountains to
the city of La Paz. This pass is well above 14,000 ft., higher than
any peak in the continental USA, and as one can see, well below the
surrounding peaks of the area. Unlike horses or cows in similar circumstances,
llamas are well adapted to this type of difficult work in the mountains.
It is therefore understandable why llamas are such an integral part
of transportation in the Andes.