National Geographic : 1970 Aug
Leapfrogging the Andes, a Colombian pilot jockeys his heli copter along razorback ridges and rapids-choked gorges during construction of an oil pipeline across some of the world's most awesome terrain. United States companies-Texaco and Gulf completed the conduit last year to move 100,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The 194-mile line con nects the Orito oil fields on the eastern slope of the Andes to the Pacific terminal of Tumaco (map, page 241). Choppers flown by Colombi ans ferried workers and tons of tractors, cabins, and pipe to oth erwise inaccessible sites. Flying commuters swing down the Gua mues River (right) to a base camp after working 12 hours on the line. Forested 11,000-foot ridges, rainfall as high as 29 feet a year, landslides, and six rivers to cross created what professional pipe line builders called "our most difficult job-anywhere."