Hike to Churup Lake
17 November 2012
To warm up for the climbing of Nevado Pisco, we made a small hike to Churup Lake at 4500 m.
It is the city of Huaraz in the valley far below.
Churup Lake, 4500 m.
Climbing Nevado Pisco (5752 m) in Winter
18-20 November 2012
Already on the road from Huaraz we had brilliant views to Huascaran Sur and Huascaran Norte.
A look back through the valley from the beginning of the trail. To the left out of the photo, the north face of Huascaran Norte is rising like an enormous and steep tower above the valley.
The first day we hiked up 750 m to the Refugio Peru at ca 4680 m. Here Marco and Cesar are taking a break with Huascaran Sur (6746 m) and Huascaran Norte (6655 m) in the background.
Arriving to Refugio Peru (ca 4680 m) at the foot of a cloud covered Nevado Pisco (5752 m). The refugio is on the small hill in front of the moraine, in the center of the picture more or less.
We started climbing the next morning at 2 am. It was raining and later snowing but fortunately it cleared up around 6 am. The first couple of hours we walked over the moraine before jumping on the glacier just before sunrise. This is the first view we got of Pisco in the pale morning light.
Marco on the glacier early morning. The snow was quite high in places and we had to make the path so progress was slow. But then we had the pleasure of making our way up through the pristine snow on what seemed an untouched mountain. The refugio is way down behind the lake and the steep moraine wall.
Magnificent early morning view across the frozen valley to the two Huascarans.
Huascaran Sur (6746 m, left) and Huascaran Norte (6655 m, right).
The steep south face of Pisco in the morning sun. Our route went up to the pass on the left and then turned right to the peak, which is to the far right, more or less in a straight line above Cesar’s head.
Marco on the glacier.
The steep and dramatic Huandoy Sur (6160 m).
The first view to the top of Pisco from the pass…the summit is hidden behind the clouds to the left.
View to the north-northeast from the pass, from left to right: Caraz 6025 m, Artesonraju 5999 m and Piramide Garcilazo 5885 m.
Beautiful pyramid shaped Artesonraju, 5999 m.
It got steep. Here Cesar is making the path.
Marco and our path below.
View to the east from the steep flank of Pisco.
There is the top! Still a couple of hours to go.
Cesar and Pisco.
Finally, the summit!!! Now completely covered in clouds but we did not care!
As we began our descent it started snowing quite heavily. On some of the steeper sections our path had already disappeared but fortunately Cesar knew exactly where to go. Finally, 13 hours after we started, we returned to the hut. We had dinner and crawled into the sleeping bags. The next morning we woke up to a completely blue sky and this view of Nevado Pisco:
Refugio Peru and the dramatic Huandoys (6395 m, 6342 m and 6160 m).
Refugio Peru, 4680 m above sea level.
Early morning clouds spilling over the ridge below Chopicalqui 6345 m.
On or way down through the valley, we got distracted by magnificent views to Chopicalqui, Huarascaran Sur and Huascaran Norte.
Huascaran Sur (6746 m).
Huascaran Norte (6655 m).
Marco enjoying the panorama.
Market Day in Caraz
18 November 2012
Fields and villages at 3000-4000 m asl.
21 November 2012
Going down to Lima, we drove for hours through the highlands south of Huaraz at altitudes of 3000-4000 m. The hills were golden and reminded us of the steppe in Kazakhstan.
In the far far distance we could still see the two bright white peaks of Huascaran. They look like clouds, center of photo.
Sheep and hills were slmost the same colour.
We passed through very small villages. This one was selling cheese and honey. We bought both, slurp.
Traffic was generally light.
Suddenly the road went down and down and down through this long valley to the coast.
Everywhere people managed to make a living on terraces on the canyon side or along the river at the bottom of the valley.
The women of the mountain areas of Peru are very strong and colourful. It is always a pleasure to see them along the roadside.
Finally we reached the coast where the panamerican highway runs south to Lima. The coast is mainly desert, suddenly interrupted by huge settlements in small shacks like the one below. We were already missing the highlands.
Home of the Alpacas and the Vicunas
24 November 2012
Driving south from Lima, we passed through Nazca and then turned east, up into the highlands again. After climbing up a windy road we entered a vast and beautiful pampa, located at about 4000 to 4500 m above sea level. The name of the pampa is Pampa Galera – the pampa prison. What a magnificent prison! This is home to the wild vicuna and the domesticated alpaca, relatives to the llama.
Wild vicunas on the pampa
Rolling hills at 4500 m above sea level
The sky is beautifully clear at these high altitudes
Alpacas grazing on the pampa
Young alpacas – extremely cute! And very well insulated.
High up there on the pampa, we came across a village celebration.
First the small boys were dancing….the girls were obviously not interested!
Then the small girls danced, very sweet, everybody clapping.
The spectacors were relaxing and enjoying.
We continued driving and mazed at the man-made geometrical signs in the landscape…
Alpacas grazing in a green valley.
Drying bricks for houses in the sun.
25 November 2012
Cusco is the historical capital of the Inka Empire which lasted from 1438-1533. The Spanish arrived in 1533 and destroyed many of the Inka buildings and used the stones and remaining walls to built their own city.
Surviving Inka wall – the individual rocks are huge and fitted perfectly together.
Mudbrick houses in the back streets.