La Rinconada is a high mountain town at an elevation of 5.130m (16,830ft) above the sea level, located at the foot of a rapidly retreating glacier in the Peruvian Andes barely 20 km (13 mi) west of the Bolivian border. It’s one of the highest elevation human habitation in the world.
The road to the town, located Acceso a La Rinconada is gravel and rocky, with some steep sections. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country. The town is located near a gold mine in the Peruvian Andes, in the Ananea District, San Antonio de Putina Province, in Puno region. The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. The economy is mainly based on the production of gold in the nearby mine. The climb is simply terrible, with a notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. At this altitude, extreme hypoxemia can occur during labour, exercise, or even sleep due to the deficient levels of oxygen in the atmosphere (not to mention cerebral œdema and lung swelling), tens of thousands of people work and live every day in and around the gold mines of La Rinconada.