Santa Cruz Trek

23 07 2007

The three of us just came back from 4 days walking two two valleys north of Huaraz. The route was the very popular Santa Cruz circuit, but no less amazing for being popular. the constant traffic was a bit much, but there is a reason why it is the most popular routre around. Short, picturesque, high (up to 4750m). And cold. Damn cold at night. Some photos to follow (when I get that sorted).

Climbing in Huaraz

19 07 2007

Ol, Jess and I have returned from climbing at over 4000m. It is certainly a lot tougher at altitude. The barometric pressure at the refugio we stayed at was 610 mbar – there is only 60% of the atmospheric pressure for us to breathe! The climbing was pretty good, but I lost interest on the second day after Jess took a pretty big fall. i just couldn’t get keen after that.

A few days were enough, and now we are recovering from a Mexican dinner and enjoying being warm. But only briefly, tomorrow morning we are off on the most popular trek in the area – a four day jaunt in the mountains.

Sorry for the brief post, it’s late.

Huaraz again. Lots of walking.

17 07 2007

I managed to spend my last day in Trujillo wandering around the Trujillo markets trying to buy a pot set for my camp cooker. It wasn’t as easy as it first appeared. After searching many, many shops (in the market that can best be described as schizophrenic due to the massive mix of products available – I saw a cabinet being spray painted in the middle of the meat section) and a trip to the blacksmith (sort of) I got there. I don’t know if it works yet though – hope to try it out i the next few days. Oh, and after visiting almost every bank, it appears no-one will change English Pounds. It turns out that bringing those was a great idea…

So the teachers finally got off the roads (that was who was protesting) and the buses could start again. So I met Ol and Jess in the entrance hall of a hostel that neither of us were going to stay in. Good timing.

We’ve since spent a good deal of time at or above 3700m. The highest we got to was 5035m, so that’smy second highest assent so far. There are plenty of mountains around here above 6000, so perhaps I can set a new PB. Unfortunately the internet connection here is a little slow, otherwise I’ve got plenty of pictures that could be uploaded – three days of walking, two glacial lakes, and a peak will get a few pictures.

Today we’re off to a “forest of rock in sand”, just up the valley here near Huaraz. There is a lot of climbing – we’ve got supplies for 3 days, we’ll see if I continue to be keen to climb that long. Ol and Jess are climbing really well at the moment and are dead keen to get out there. I’ve always got my book 🙂

Back in Huaraz

5 07 2007

Man, this keyboard sucks. I´ll find a good one one day.

I wet walking the other day around Huaraz. Pretty normal behaviour for me. Then I decided to go a bit higher try to acclimatise. And went walking some more. Damn! Those moutains are big – if only I was a moutaineer. I keep making excuses, such as I left my boots home (already regret that!). Stu ad Kev know the real reason…

It took me a few days to get used the altitude – it really is high here. But I´ve seen a few glacial valleys (alarmingly vacant of glaciers). I´ll see more when Ol and Jess rock up (in a week or so). We may have to reconsider the Lodge as a base, but we´ll discuss that when I see them.

So that I don´t exhaust all of the possibilities around Huaraz, I´m jumping on an overnight bus in an hour down to the coast. Just to see what is there (a get my breath back). Travel is pretty cheap – a 8 hour bus ride is 30 soles (less than US$10). So I can probably afford to go there and back for a week 🙂 . The worst bit is we arrive at 4am. Hopefully I can sleep in the bus station until the sun rises.


2 07 2007

As I mentioned in the last post, Lima was just a city. So I took a bus to the only other place I really knew anything about in Peru, and that is Huaraz. I´m meant to be meeting Ol and Jess here in a bit over a week, so I thought I´d get the jump on them and acclimatise first.

So I caught an early morning bus (after being ripped off by the taxi driver and almost spending more than the cost of an 8 hour bus ride getting to the bus terminal – as it was I spent 1/2 of the fare on the taxi). I got a window seat, but advice to others, try and sit on the right hand side of the bus, then view when you come over the pass is pretty good from that side.

Huaraz is tonnes better than Lima. First of all it is in a valley with mountains all around, to one side is the Corderilla Blanca, with Peru’s greatest mountain at well over 6000m. Secondly, although there are loads of tourists, there are also lots of Peruvians going about there lives (and not jumping all over you like they do in Lima). It´s still pretty much third world though.

Friday night I was buggered from the bus and altitude, so I crashed. Well, I planned to, but ended up staying up pretty late talking to Walter, a Belgian who is now working in the hostel after cycling from Central America into southern Patagonia. Clearly I needed some information. Saturday I did very little (ashamedly I must admit to watching a movie). Just before sunset a group of us (Jo, Jonathan, Nicole, Libby, and Pam) hired a couple of tents and headed up to a valley very close to town – Huanchac for a full moon party. Quite different to the asian version. Thank god we had a fire – it is so cold after the sun sets. It was pretty much a very tame rave, but we danced, drank and toasted ourselves by the fire until about 4am.

And then the heat! My god the sun is hot! We were chased out of the tent what seemed like moments later by the blazing sun. And people started to arrive. It turns out there is a heap of races on today… A cross country, freeride/downhill event, some trials, and BMX jumping. Bikes everywhere. So I roasted in the sun, watched bikes (some very expensive considering the general level of wealth), and again, did very little. When we broke out the Frisbee I tried my usual trick of running around, and was soon slowed by the lack of breath. It could take longer to acclimatise than I was expecting…

And now I have to work out what today will bring, I’ve been exceptionally slack for a few days, and the mountains are so close (well, I´m in them I guess). So I might be trekking tomorrow. Chances are it’ll be alone unless I can find someone quickly.