After sitting admiring the view of the glaciers for about an hour it was time to get out of there. We still had a long way down & were still unsure if we could get through without crampons & ice axes :)
We dropped down right next to the glacier on some scree & rock. It looked as long as we stayed off to the far side of the glacier we should be able to get to camp. This was also the first time I started to pee blood. For more on that story see my previous blog
We picked our way down the rocky outcrops jumping from one rock to another. Seeking out the path of least resistance. We could see the camp site waaaaay down on the valley floor. The sun was slowly dropping lower & lower easing its way behind the giant mountains.
After many hours of descent & skimming along the glaciers we finally made it to camp Cutatambo. There was a group of about 17 there but again there was enough space we didn't need to be anywhere near them.
19- 7-16. Cutatambo - Huaiq camp 21km the huallabamba day
It was a pretty cold night again & I woke up to find my Nalgene water bottle frozen again. I packed my stuff up & dried my tent out in the sun. I was not in a huge rush as this mornings first 15k or so was all down hill through a gorgeous valley.
The glacier melt started off as a small stream & as you followed it down it turned into a raging river. I stopped many times to admire the river & views.
There were giant cliffs both sides as I continued down with the river twisting & turning through the weakest points to create its own lines.
I passed through the gate into the small pueblo Huallabamaba just as Jeff & Ross caught me. They had run down the valley haha. After some searching through the village we found a tiny hole in the wall to buy some lunch & have a beer. The Belgians arrived & had the same.
After 2 large beers & lunch it was time to start the big climb back out of the village. We followed a river quietly meandering it's way back up to another pass. I dropped the boys about halfway up & pushed on solo content as always with my own company.
I climbed about 1,000mtr vertically before rounding one last bend to find a beautiful flat piece of ground for tonight's camp. There was the Italian group already set up with all their yellow tents with an incredible backdrop of different glaciated peaks & a small stream running through the camp.
I quickly changed & set up as the sun was going down fast. I cooked dinner & the boys showed up then the Belgians.
20-7-16 Huaiq - Jahucoucho
Left camp at 9ish. Another perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky. The mornings are hard though because it's sooooooo cold. I had a pretty cold night as well.
There were icicles in the river it was so cold. The campsite was spectacular though. I caught the Belgians pretty quick then was on my own, ( they had left early )
It was so quiet all I could hear was the ringing in my ears haha. I climbed the first pass before taking a break in the sun. I was also trying not to catch the group of 15 Italians.
I had probably half hour before setting off again. My back is very sore today. ( I learnt this is a symptom of the kidney infection ) I caught the Italians about 20min later. They gave me a chocolate bar & some chocolate biscuits. After a 10min chat I headed off.
I dropped down into a very basic campground & said hello to the workers that were with the Italian group. I climbed a small hill then dropped into a HUGE valley.
It was a total different landscape again. There were Cactus, small shrubs even a few trees. Haven't seen many trees along this route. I guess it is mostly above 4,000mtr
I crossed a small stream & started on the next pass. It was a wide open plain again & when the sun was out it was hot. In total contrast if the wind blew it was freezing haha bloody mountains
The climb was pretty long but I was surrounded by tussock grass that waved gently in the wind. Again another spectacular spot.
There were a few switch backs before crossing a scree field. There were also a couple of condors flying around overhead.
I reached the pass & was rewarded with the final show piece of the trek. It was a full view of the mountains.
The trail snakes it's way along the ridge line ending with a final very steep descent to the Lagunas off in the distance.
The colours were breathtaking. Everything from pinks & purples to amazing shades of grey of course all in the shadows of the glaciated peaks towering above.
Absolutely Incredible. After taking another 100 pics & detouring off the trail to reach the highest point I started the descent to camp.
The camp sat on a grass covered flat area between 2 of the Lagunas. It was the lowest camp of all at a mere 4,090 metres above sea level.
Lucky for me I had rolled in around 2:30. With plenty of sunshine still left in the day I wandered down stream to a smaller lake to do some washing.
Nothing like washing socks and body after 5 days of trekking. The water was a fantastic in your face translucent blue. Of course it was absolutely freezing being glacier melt.
I hung my socks on the guy lines of my tent & prayed they would be dry before the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
Just on dusk after I had cooked, cleaned & climbed into my sleeping bag the Belgians arrived. They had had an epic day. Shortly after the boys arrives in the dark having gone off route in the final 5km.
The next morning I headed out with the boys for the final 15-20 odd km. We were in a bit of a hurry to get to the 1 bus that leaves for Chiquain. I needed to see a Dr & find out what was going on.
We we raced through the beautiful gorge that was now resembling parts of Australia. Dry, hot with spikey plants everywhere. It was another stunning part of the trail.
We we got to the bus with 20minutes to spare :)
Do yourself a favour, if you ever get to Peru DO THIS HIKE. It is an absolute must. It was as good as, possibly better than the treks I have done in Nepal.
I am an ultra runner, Mountain biker, Packrafter, Climber, Ironman, Endurance Athlete