Off to the Mountains
Here we are in Huaraz at the end of day 4 resting after a gorgeous hike and an equally as good chicken dinner. Excitement amongst the group is starting to increase from its already high mark as we leave for Pastoruri Glacier in the morning. That’s not to say that today wasn’t exciting either. We started the day out early with a breakfast here at Hotel Galaxia, loaded up in a collectivo, and headed up into the Cordillera Blanca just east of Huaraz. After a very rough and rugged hour and a half ride, we reached the park entrance and the trail that would be taking us up to the glacial lake Lake Churup at 14,300 feet. First we had to climb, though, from our starting elevation of 13,000 feet through some beautiful but sometimes treacherous terrain. After the first twenty steps up the trail, everyone was feeling the effects of the altitude except for the local Peruvians passing us like we were standing still. We all combated with the altitude and made it to Lake Churup in approximately two hours which, according to Austin and John, was one of the faster trips up to the lake of which they have been a part.
The scenery leading up to and at the lake was absolutely gorgeous. The lake sits below large cliffs and 17,000 foot peaks which it reflects off of its cold blue water. Being students from UVM and having been hardened by the fierce Vermont winters, three brave souls jumped into the lake which had to be around 40 degrees. They didn’t last very long in the water and shortly after they exited the water, we packed up our lunches and gear and headed back down the mountain. The hike down was quite sketchy but very rewarding as we hiked down along a waterfall leading from the lake to the valley below. Once we completed the hour and twenty minute hike back down to the park entrance, it was time to hop back into the cramped collectivo and head back down the treacherous Peruvian mountain roads.
Now we are packing up our bags for the next part of our expedition, Pastoruri. Tomorrow we will be heading up and establishing a base camp which we will call home for a few days as we learn various climbing techniques, glacier travel, mountain weather, and various other topics.
I can’t believe I’ve only been here for 4 days. I’ve experienced and seen so many new things in such a short amount of time. I don’t think it’s truly hit me yet that I am in Peru attempting to climb 18,000 foot peaks my first time traveling outside of the United States. It’s truly an amazing an experience; I’d be content with not making a summit during this trip, although it would be a very nice perk. We have a very strong and well-connected group that, in my opinion, could tackle any one of these peaks down here.
Well, that’s the update from Huaraz for now. Here’s to us all returning in good health and a couple of summits under our belts 8 days from now.
We will be out of contact until the 11th of June, so please stay tuned for and update then and more photos to come. Thanks for your interest in our adventure.