Hoofing it in Huaraz

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June 16th 2006
Published: June 17th 2006
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Arrived in Huaraz and spent the next 2 days acclimatising, sleeping, shopping for food supplies in the local market (great fun), hiring camping gear, and organising donkeys for the Santa Cruz Trek. Decided to do it on our own with no guide, just donkeys to carry most of our stuff and the Lonely Planet guide. Advantages were lesser cost, and being able to do our own thing and not be tied down by a group. Disadvantage was we had to prepare all meals for ourselves and the donkey dude.

Day 1 - Went by colectivo to Caraz, and then by taxi to the start point at Cashapampa (2900m). Met our donkey dude called Huber. But ended up sitting around for 1.5 hours as there was some kind of union problem. There are fixed rates for the donkeys and the handlers so the work can be spread around the locals, which is fair enough. Apparently we weren´t registered, and not supposed to pay the handler direct. As it wasn´t our problem, we let them sort it out and started walking. Ascent of 700m, and 11kms in total. It took us about 4 hours to reach our campsite at Llamacoral (3600m). The wind coming through the canyon was freezing. Made noodles for dinner and then hit the sack at ripe hour of 7pm.

Day 2 - Walked past some beautiful glacial lakes. Ascent of 650m, 13kms, which took us 4 hours. Our stunning campsite at Taullipampa (4250m) was surrounded by numerous mountains which were all over 5800m high. The day was only eclipsed by a condor soaring gracefully above us.

Day 3 - The toughest day of all, an absolute killer. Took me 2.5 hours to do the 510m ascent over the Punta Union pass (4760m). Woo hoo, a new trekking height record for Gus!!! Wonderful 360 degree panoramic views of the Santa Cruz Valley. Then a very steep descent of 910m to our campsite at Cachinopampa (3750m) which took another 4.5 hours. Covered 15 kms in total, and was absolutely buggered by day´s end.

Day 4 - The last day. I don´t know what I was thinking, but I was expecting an easy trot down to Vaqueria. I couldn´t be more wrong. After a 500m descent, suddenly I was confronted by a 400m ascent. Holy hell! Covered 11kms in 2 hours. Then we hitched a ride back to
Camp cookingCamp cookingCamp cooking

Suzanne and Siah
civilisation at the back of a truck sitting on bags of maize - quite comfy. Was damn relieved that we didn´t have to hike over the mountain pass, which was breathtaking. Then finally got a colectivo back to Huaraz. Hooray, a hot shower at last.

The Santa Cruz Trek is only rated easy-moderate, so you can imagine how tough the ´challenging´ treks must be. The Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash are the most widely known trekking and climbing areas in the Peruvian Andes. Walk into any cafe in Huaraz, and you´ll run into heaps of serious mountaineers. This area also has the mountain (Siula Grande) in the book/movie ¨Touching the Void¨.

Words cannot describe being surrounded by snow-capped mountains so close you could almost touch them. I´m really glad I came and did this trek.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12



View from our Taullimpampa campsite
Donkey trainDonkey train
Donkey train

Looking back to where we trekked through the Santa Cruz Valley
Hallelujah !!!Hallelujah !!!
Hallelujah !!!

Punta Union Pass at 4760m

17th June 2006

Chilled out
After 2+ months on the road, you looked thoroughly chilled out.... Dont see you in the photo cooking..were you busy pitching the tent? Looks simply awesome, another thing on our to do list - courtesy of Gus's travel blog. Maybe you should write a travel book on your return (and take another 2 years off working?!)..Or have you already retured? PT

Tot: 2.725s; Tpl: 0.076s; cc: 12; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0334s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb