Photo posted on Flickr by "JuanFernandoPacheco".

Farmers in the Andes are more than resourceful when it comes to mastering the mountain range's near-impossible terrain. To get from steep hill to steeper hill, they use "garruchas" or "tarabitas" - a prized form of transport in the mountainous regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, but not without its design faults.

Constituting of a cradle shaped cage attached to a pulley, the garrucha travels along a cable attached to steadfast posts placed hundreds of metres apart on either side of a valley. At the start of the 20th century, this bracing form of travel was considered the height of modernity in Latin America. The garrucha simply diminished travelling time for those crossing between countryside and town.

However, garruchas have a major design fault. Every day locals risk their lives travelling over precipices hundreds of metres deep. In mid-January this year, a couple of travellers lost their lives in the Colombian region of Antioquia when the cable carrying their garrucha snapped. 

“Who would say no to transforming hours of rambling into a few minutes of a birds-eye view trip?”

Juan Andrés Grandjean is a Colombian photographer. He often uses garruchas to get around.

The configuration of the Colombian forest leaves short distances something to be desired of. A distance that takes a bird a few minutes to fly across transforms into an endless trek through a labyrinth of obstacles if you try to walk it. Faced with these harsh conditions, local farmers came up with a solution. The garrucha is cheap and relatively simple to assemble. It quickly became commonplace in the hilly areas of Colombia. But, it's still very dangerous.

The lack of regulations concerning this type of equipment makes travelling in one a game of Russian roulette. The technical knowledge necessary to assemble them is often lacking and so is the specialised materials needed. But who would say no to the possibility of transforming hours of rambling and sweat into a few minutes of a swift and refreshing birds-eye view trip? In imitating Icarus, the farmers end up facing the same fate!"

Suspended travel

Video posted on YouTube by "latinojuan".

Video posted on YouTube by "yhosac".