After 2 hours on the pass I finally started my descent down the goat track with many tight switchbacks. I caught the Belgians pretty quick. They were sitting having a snack. I decided to join them.
They gave me a bag of dehydrated fruit & nuts & a pack of sultana biscuits. We discussed the map before I headed on.
I took the alpine circuit again & was really enjoying my afternoon. I had managed to walk the entire day solo. It had been one of the most spectacular days on ANY trail I have ever hiked.
I crossed a small glacier fed stream as I entered the Huayhuash camp. I sat in the sun for a while before deciding on a place to put my tent. I set it up far away from the group.
A few from the group came to visit & chat. Everyone intrigued at how I could get 5 days worth of stuff in my 30 litre pack.
The Belgians arrived & set up near by & then Ross & Jeff. I cooked a killer pasta dinner with onion & salami in the shadow of the Huayhuash range. Soooooooo good.
Wow I have no words to describe today.
I am really struggling to summarise today. I want to paint a clear picture. It was unreal. I set off at 9 with the boys as they didn't have a proper map & we thought it would be easier to route find together.
We were taking the alpine route again. All the directions were about how hard it was too find blah blah blah.
It was a climb straight out of the gates. Again nothing too serious. We passed a small family on horseback shifting cattle. We crested the first climb & continued in the general direction of the pass.
The valley was beginning to open up behind us as we climbed higher. Again there was no trail it was a wide open area with all sorts of grasses growing.
We got to the top of the first ridge & in the distance we could see the pass. It was a nice flat approach with Mount Trapecio towering high above us. It had a huge glacier on it.
We crossed the flat lands hopping between pockets of water trapped between weird & wonderful sponge formations. The flora was incredibly diverse & colourful.
We spotted the Belgians half way up the pass but decided they had taken an indirect route. We opted for the weakness in the mountain & were rewarded with an actual trail.
I powered my way up the climb as we all know by now I like climbing & I kinda wanted to beat the Belgians :) I got to the top of the false pass & waited for the boys.
I had beaten the Belgians & when they spotted me waving to them they came over. We had a brief chat before they continued up. It was by now a real lunar landscape.
Red & grey scree everywhere with very little vegetation. The boys arrived we had a chat before heading on. We continued climbing & hit out first token patch of snow.
I caught the Belgians again just before the top & continued on to the moraine lakes sitting at a lazy 4900 metres. I put my pack down & began to wander in between them
There must if been a dozen. All fed from the glacier about 200 metres away at this stage. The colour of the water was amazing. Crystal clear but somehow this luminescent blue.
You could see the sponge growing under the water in all these weird and wonderful shapes. I wanted to go swimming. Hahahah however I did not bring a towel a change of clothes or anything swimming related.
The boys got to me & declared they were going swimming. I laughed. I was designated camera operator. So they stripped down & jumped in, go pro running & me taking photos.
Once they got out we watched the Belgians high up on another ridge line pushing for the summit. It looked like a tough way to go. Very steep & a lot of scree with loose large rocks.
We decided there was a weaker point in the pass & headed for that. Again I pushed on ahead of the boys. As I crested 5,000 mtr I met the path.
Yep looks like we are on the right track. I met the Belgians as they came around the corner. In their out of breath state they declared I had definitely taken the correct route.
They knew they had gone wrong at some point but pushed on rather than descending. We were standing at the junction of a sweet steep snow covered chute heading up to 5,100 or you could go down to some beautiful green Lagunas & the easier route.
I left the others & went over the pass. This is where the day became absolutely incredible. As I hiked over the pass Mount Trapecio came into full view as well as the glacier & the surrounding mountains.
Instead of words here's the pictures. My words just won't do it justice.
I was blown away. This is by far one of the most amazing tranquil places I have ever been. I was rewarded with 45minutes all to myself. I don't think I said anything other than WOW for about 2 hours.
The mountains & being being this close to a huge glacier that could swallow you up & nobody would know is just incredible. I was in love :)
To Be Continued............
The Huayhuash is a 100ish km loop around the Cordillera Huayhuash located in Peru.
Here's my account on trekking it.
After a restless night it was finally time to get up. All night thinking- will I be warm enough, do I have enough food, will my back be ok. The usual questions for a hike like this.
I left the hotel at 7:20 & managed to buy a bus ticket after trying all day yesterday. I met up with Oliver & Sarah a French couple I had met the previous day.
The bus left at 8 & I began to relax a little feeling a little more happy to finally be underway. We stopped to pick up some passengers then it was on into the canyon.
Another spectacular canyon. The bus hugged the road taking up its entirety. As we made tight switch back after tight switch back. Every time we rounded a switch back ( which was often ) I could see the bottom of the 700mtr drop.
After bumping & jostling our way down we finally crossed the river this of course marking the bottom of the descent. A slight wave of relief washed over me, halfway there.
We bounced our way along for a few km before starting the switch backs heading up the other side. Again the bus took up the entire road.
Thankfully we only encountered 1 car. We got to Llamac dropped off the locals paid our 20 soles tourist tax & rolled on to Pocpa. Of course we were the only gringos on the bus.
We arrived at Pocpa at 10:30, paid our second toll, this time only 10soles & began trekking. The sun was beaming, perfect blue skies. It was a glorious day again.
We started at around 3,500mtr. We quietly meandered our way along the road that was put in by the mine. It was a gradual slope so nothing too strenuous.
We stopped for a snack after about an hour. We met a bunch of other gringos that had mules carrying all of their stuff. We sat down after another hour or so.
It was so beautiful to sit with our backs against the cool rock that doubled as our back rest & a farmers fence. Just as we got settled in a car came along. He pulled over & we jumped in.
We were stoked a lift for the last 5km. We arrived at possibly one of the most beautiful camp sites I have ever camped at. Perched lazily at 4,100metres above sea level.
It was set in a giant valley that conjured up images of what Mongolia must be like. The mountains are huge with glaciated peaks & feel just a stones throw away.
We were on a slightly sloping grass plain with cows & mules wandering aimlessly around. There is a small creek running right through the place. It is beautiful.
The sun was still high as it had just turned 1pm. We found a nice patch away from all of the other tents. Of which there are more than I had expected.
There we're probably 40 tents here. Cooking tents & guided groups of up to 15. We sat on the grass enjoying the view & the sun. It was a magnificent way to spend the afternoon.
At 3 I decided to make a coffee. My stove decided it wanted none of it. I spent an hour or so trying to get it working. To start with it wouldn't stay a light. Then it was blowing a huge yellow flame.
I stripped it tried to clean it & took out the plunger. I did this 5 times still no luck. All I managed to do was use a huge amount of fuel. :/
I eventually just put the pot on this yellow flame & got it to boil. At 5 it was dinner time. Again I tried cleaning the stove etc but nothing same deal.
After fighting with it for close to an hour I ate my pasta cold & my onion uncooked I can assure you that cold soaked pasta that is literally a as cold as if you just pulled it from the fridge is NOT NICE. In this time the temp had dropped from 20c at 4 pm to 5c by 5:30.
I was not happy. I have a long way to go & my stove is not working. I have probably used 200ml of my 600 so now I am on rations. Urgh.
After washing my soot covered well everything I went over to a group tent & found a guide who knew how to strip the stove. He didn't manage to get the jet out but showed me how to take the top of to access the jet.
After trying to get the jet out & failing he decided we should light it so he could see what was happening. Of course we lit it & it worked perfectly. I think he may of dislodged something when trying to get the jet out.
We came back to our tents & it's bed time. It's freeeeezing. We have a beautiful nights sky with a half moon & no clouds. Making it even colder. It's 7:30 :)
16-7-16. HAPPY ONE YEAR TO ME
Today marks one year since I left Melbourne. I couldn't think of a better place to spend it. It is picture perfect here surrounded by mountains :)
The long open plain with towering glaciated mountains all around. Perfect blue sky. What a morning. I got my stove running finally, after doing a longer pre heat.
It was freezing cold but nice to be out of the tent. I packed up & was ready at the same time as Olivier & Sarah. We started the gentle climb together.
There were a few switch backs but nothing too steep. We started at 8am. Olivier & I chatted as we made our way up to the pass. These 2 are such great people. I am really lucky I keep meeting awesome people.
After an hour or so I decided it was time to head off. I was much faster than they were & felt I needed to push myself a little. I enjoy working hard up a climb.
Just before the pass I caught a group of 5. I stuck with them until the pass. We all stopped at the top. We had finally hit the sun & it was instantly too hot.
Everyone stopped to remove layers. They were all very impressed I was solo as they were part of a guided group. They gave me a few snacks as they said they had too much food. Not the same problem as I had.
The view from the pass was incredible. Too the right you could see a huge 6,000mtr glaciated peak with a number of smaller peaks surrounding it.
The valley opened up into a huge plain with a small creek snaking it's way through. The colour of the grass varied from dark Browns to a very lush green.
Stunning land. I left the group at 10 & moved quickly down the switchbacks. I reached a point where I knew I could either take the easy route or do some route finding & follow the alpine circuit.
Of course I decided on the alpine route. I got out my map & headed in the general direction. There was no real trail but it was just keep the big peaks to the right & don't drop too low.
I stopped a number of times, second guessing myself & wondering if I was on the right path ( not that there was a path )I persisted for 2 hours & finally made the lake.
I was stoked. Route finding in a wilderness like this solo can be very testing as you have nobody to ask for a second opinion. The thought of backtracking is always in your mind.
I took some pics & kept on moving. I had a second pass to cross today :) I decided not too try the alpine route through this section as it was not marked on my map. Instead I took a shortcut that was steeper but linked up with the main trail.
I steadily trekked up the pass,again soaking in the solitude & the incredible mountain views. It was a fairly open pass probably 300metres across with low tussock grass making the walking nice and soft.
These views certainly rival Nepal. The constant proximity to 6,000+ metre mountains is jaw dropping. After 4 hours without seeing another person I caught up to Ross & Jeff. I had met these 2 the other day at the climbing spot.
I slowed down to walk with these guys as I knew it was not far to camp. We walked & talked & enjoyed the surrounds. We took a minor detour to find a better view point.
It turned into another mini choose your own adventure. It was so worth it. The views are just mind blowing. We could see the Laguna that was the camp for the night from about 4km away.
We got into camp just as a group of 15 did. We managed to find a nice flat spot waaaaaay away from the group thankfully. The sun disappeared quick & it got cold. Then it started to hail & rain so it was into the tents for an hour or so.
Thankfully the rain stopped pretty quickly so I jumped out & cooked pasta with tomato sauce. There was a huge Avalanche as we sat around chatting.
I got in my tent at 7 & ate the sublime Wolfgang had left as a present for me. I'm really happy today. I am in such an amazing place. Did I mention the view ?????
After a fresh night I got up to find my tent covered in ice inside & out. It was definitely a cold morning. I took the fly off my tent & made my oats
There were some very loud avalanches through the night & the last one was at 5:30am. You could feel the ground rumbling. We were probably 6km from where they were rolling down.
I left camp at 9 about a half hour before Jeff & Ross. I hiked alone around the lake. It was a magic morning. The reflection on the lake was amazing. I stopped a few times to take pictures.
I continued around the awe inspiring views nice & slowly. It was spectacular. The mountain peaks were right there. A stones throw away.
I went past the next Laguna & met a Belgian couple also out solo. I had a brief stop off with them before continuing along solo. I got to the second of the three lakes. It was so amazing.
The green water with the pure white snow above. Glaciers in all directions. Sun shining. Just wow. I got to the last lake & stopped to take a lot of photos.
The climb started straight after that. It was pretty steep to start but nothing to serious. I lost count of the number of times I stopped to take pictures
The climb was steady but you knew you were climbing. As it climbed away from the mountain range Suila Grande came into view. Wow amazing mountain. It makes you want to learn to mountaineer.
I reached the top of the pass right on 12. The group of 15 who had left a little over 2 hours before me were having lunch at the top. The pass was at 4,800 metres.
On the one side you had huge glaciated jagged peaks & on the other was this wide open valley of rolling green & brown tussock grass.
The contrast was incredible.
I sat on the pass for almost 2 hours before I decided I had had enough of the incredible views. The glaciers were just so close & small avalanches continued to fall.
To be continued................
I'm currently sitting on a bus from Lima to Cuzco. It's a 21 hour ride & I'm not thrilled to be on the bus, but I feel it was the right decision.
It started on the 3rd day of the Huayhuash trek. I stopped for a regular toilet break & got the shock of my life.
Arghhhh it was dark RED. I'm not talking a touch of brown or a drop of blood, I'm talking like you cut your arm blood & it hurt like hell.
Uh oh never had this before. I feel fine hmmmm. In my mind "Ok don't panic you only have a few more days on the Huayhuash I'm sure it will clear up".
Hiking the HH you have no option once you are out there. It's a loop so u either turn back or keep going. Makes life pretty simple really.
I tried not to think about it too much but the need to pee every 15minutes made me think about it. The good thing is the trail just seems to get better everyday.
I set up camp had a chat with the others before one final toilet break & tucking myself as deep as I could in my sleeping bag.
I had a pretty bad nights sleep. It was cold as usual with the inside & out of the tent covered in ice when I got up. My mind had started to wander & think about all the things that could be wrong with me. Lucky I didn't have google it would of said I was dying for sure.
I was relieved when my first pee was clear the next morning. It still hurt like crazy but it was clear. Things are looking up. Nope second pee ended that theory. Oh well keep going not much else to do.
So on the 3rd day I finished the trail & jumped on a small bus back to my bike in Chiquian. I was thinking perhaps I would stay there the night & head to Huaraz in the morning.
Once I got to the hotel where my bike was I went to the toilet. Nope it's as bad as ever I'm getting on the bus to Huaraz. I think I need to see a dr.
A 3hr bus ride to Huaraz was a lot nicer than 2 days cycling hahaha all for the grand total of $3.50. I got off the bus & went straight to the hospital.
Holy shit this has to be one of the worst hospitals i have ever seen. It was horrific. There was a guy getting surgery & people kept opening the door to look in.
Half the windows were smashed. They had security at the front door. The tiles were broken & it seemed pretty dirty. Oh well
The queue for the dr was huge. Of course I waited almost an hour to be told I need to pay first. So off to the cashier, at least that was only a 10-15 min wait.
I paid my $5 then back to the back of the queue. After another 15min the dr spotted me waiting & waved me through. Onto the scales, blood pressure test then to explain my situation in Spanish.
Nobody spoke English. I was explaining in my best Spanish when a girl who was in with her boyfriend asked if I needed help. She was Argentinian & spoke great English thank god.
She said the dr understood & was going to give me an injection & antibiotics. But first to the pharmacy. Again I queued in the wrong side to be told I needed to go back inside to pay first.
$2 landed me Tramadol, 2 injections & 21 antibiotic tablets wooo that's cheap. I got my injection & was referred for blood tests & an X-ray.
I checked into the hostel again but this time I got myself a dorm room. I needed a bed. I went out for pizza with another cycle tourist & continued to need to pee every 5 minutes.
The next morning I went & did the blood tests. I then made an appointment for the X-Ray. I went to do that in the afternoon & after an hours wait was told by the dr I needed to see a urologist first.
I went to the hospital but the urologist was not there. I was then sent down the road to his practice. I will spare the details but I had a Full examination not something I expected at 34.
He then referred me onto another hospital for an MRI. Shit was getting expensive urghhhh. I went to another medical centre that had all of its windows intact so that was nice.
They did a blood test first & told me to go back the next day. I was still peeing a lot of blood & nobody had any answers yet. I was definitely starting to get worried.
I went back the next day was told that blood test was fine & I needed to do the MRI $190 :/ I did the test & was told to come back Monday afternoon.
At this stage it had been 6 days. Still no closer to an answer & still feeling fine apart from the blood.
I tried to relax as much as I could on Sunday even had a couple of beers. I went back Monday at 1:30 was told to go back at 4 I went back at 4 & was told to go back at 6:30, I was getting so frustrated.
I went back at 6:30 they handed them over said nothing except I need to see a dr. Urghhhh So I went to the bus station & booked a night bus to Lima. Hoping at least the dr might speak English.
I overnighted to Lima & went to my wonderful friends Olivier & Sarah's place. I then went to the dr paid another $30 to see a specialist.
He gave me the all clear & suspects a kidney infection. Oh thank god. This was also the first day I peed clear & the pain was almost gone.
I then spent the next day with Olivier & Sarah eating some very nice Ceviche & just hanging out. I booked a bus ticket to Cusco so I could be here when my friend Deb arrives.
I also felt it was a wise decision since I had taken 10 days worth of antibiotics. So that brings me here on a 21hr bus to Cusco which was going really well until the driver missed the hairpin turn & crashed over the railing.
We came to a nice stop about 3mtr from the edge of a 1000mtr drop. Lucky he was not going 10-15k faster or I would be typing this from a hospital bed or possibly worse.
After waiting on the road for 5 hours we finally got picked up by a collectivo then dropped at a small town to catch another collectivo to a bigger town.
We then waited 3.5 hours for another bus. We finally arrived in Cusco at 9:15pm instead of 11am. Lucky for me they reimbursed 3/4 of the fare which only took another hour to sort out.
I rode my bike the 3k into the city & went to 8 hostels all full. So I rode back out to the bus station & tried 3 more before finally finding one just before 11:30pm haha
What a mission. I finally started having a kidney infection symptom the morning before the bus. My lower back has been killing me. So that's a positive sign it was a correct diagnosis / guess
It's all part of the trip really Or as "reality " tv would say " journey "
So keep on living people :))
I am an ultra runner, Mountain biker, Packrafter, Climber, Ironman, Endurance Athlete