Trekking the Cordillera Huayhuash


The Cordillera Huayhuash, a comparatively small mountain range measuring at just under 20 miles (30km) in length, has some superb high altitude trekking. The trails wander from valley to valley over mountain passes of up to 16,400 feet (5000m), rarely dipping below 13k feet (4000m).


Huaraz, a town of about 100k nine hours north of Lima, is the trekking hub for the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash. The former lies to the north of Huaraz, and the latter to the southeast. Both mountain ranges have trailheads easily accessible by public transit from Huaraz.


The full Huayhuash Circuit tends to take 10 to 14 days, and the vast majority of hikers hire locals with mules to carry their belongings, cook, and do all other camp related chores. They hike with light packs, often starting around 8am and finishing by 2pm with one pass a day. I saw no other independent trekkers during my six days on the trail, but I found the ordeal pretty easy to arrange on my own. I carried all my belongings and managed two passes a day, finishing an extended route in 6 days.


The first 7.5 miles (12km) are along a road.


The Huayhuash used to be home to an outpost of the Shining Path, a communist terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of almost 70,000 people. It was largely eradicated by President Alberto Fujimori in the 90s. Up through the 80s hikers were ransomed by the Shining Path, and you can visit their old camp near the trail (I didn’t realize I was so close to the guerilla outpost until afterwards, or else I would’ve gone to visit if feasible). In the early 2000s multiple hikers were murdered in robbery attempts on trail, which prompted the government to close the area for a few years. Nowadays the locals charge small amounts of money to cross their valleys as a form of “protection fee,” and the area is very safe. I ended up paying about $45 over the entire trip in these fees and had no issues whatsoever.


The hotel owner thought I was totally insane for trying to do the hike in fewer than 14 days, especially without mules carrying all my stuff. “You know, you should really consider taking a raincoat with you,” he admonished. Did he really think I wouldn’t take a raincoat on a 6 day hike?! As I do with most people in life I just smiled, nodded, and ignored him.


Two hikers in the distance heading along the road towards the trail.

He insisted on accompanying me to the main road to help me hail a taxi to take me to the terminal for my 5am bus. The taxis in Latin America are known for ripping off gringos so this was fine by me, and he negotiated the lofty sum of $1.25 for the 12 minute ride. Huaraz, where I based myself, has an abundance of tuk tuks and taxis roaming the streets and honking at anything that moves in the hopes of getting customers. The only other time I bought a ride across town, which took all of 10 minutes, the driver quoted an opening price of less than a dollar. So I just took him on it (though in bigger cities I use uber or its Latin American equivalent; way safer and cheaper than anything I could get with pale skin and green eyes).


The entrance to the hike passes along mining areas, where employees seemed shocked that my pack weighed less than 25kg/50lbs (my pack with a full complement of food and water weighs around 20 pounds/9kg maximum). This sign is boasting that they’ve been 0 days without an accident, and have only had 85 incapacitating accidents.

The bus took two hours to reach Chiquian, where we stopped for an hour before continuing another 2.5 hours to the village of Pocpa. The whole trip cost about $9, and there were four Germans and one other American on board along with tons of villagers. Two of the Germans immediately lit up cigarettes upon disembarking at the end of the ride, which was a bit impressive considering we were already at around 13k feet (4000m). They ended up hitching a ride and skipping the first part of the hike, whereupon they set up camp at 2pm. I would get so bored spending 18 hours a day in camp, which seemed to be the norm for everyone else.


I get a lot of flak from Europeans for wearing shoes instead of boots, but I haven’t had blisters in 2 years. Plus they dry out in 10 minutes in the sun if they get wet.


Rather than camp where the road curves away and the trail begins, I opted to head over the first pass and take a detour off trail. The other American on the bus was going to do the same detour and I found him pretty obnoxious, constantly bragging about how little he pays locals on his trip through South America, and to avoid spending the next week with him I went back to the official route.


Taking a breakfast break in the morning as I head up to the second pass.

There are official campgrounds you’re supposed to stay in rather than wild camp, but this wasn’t enforced (partially because there’s hardly anybody out there). I got to the Mitucocha “campground” at dark and found it to just be a fenced area that was locked. The idea of being locked in a pen didn’t appeal to me, so I just camped a few minutes’ walk away. I spent every other night in the official campgrounds, largely because they had flush toilets, but only saw others one night.


It would often be sunny in the morning and cloud up over the day.


I had to take a lot of rest stops when climbing up to the passes.


Looking back down the valley on my slow but steady way up the pass.

The second night, at Huayhuash Camp, I was surprised to find almost a couple dozen hikers after seeing very few people all day. I have a theory that the locals assign the village idiot to man the camps and collect the fees, which seemed to be confirmed by the Huayhuash attendant.

“There are lots of bad people around here. But don’t worry, I’ve got my rifle and if they come and try to take your shoes I’ll just-” he then mimicked holding a rifle and shooting people in the hills for much longer than was necessary to prove his point. Not that I was concerned somebody was going to steal my filthy shoes.


Cooking my ramen noodles in Huayhuash camp.

“And I’ll lock the gate at night so nobody can get in,” he added. He must’ve noticed my disbelieving look, since he changed the topic pretty quickly. I wasn’t sure a gate, standing in the middle of a field with large openings on either side and a fence that just stopped after a few meters, would keep anyone out.

“Oh, you’re 26? I’m 30!” I would’ve guessed closer to 50, but I was hoping that if I gave monosyllabic answers he’d just leave me alone. After a few minutes it worked.


Lake Viconga. The Shining Path camp is really close to here. I took a break on the ridge and was unfortunately joined by the local fee collectors, who asked me three times over the course of an hour how many people were behind me. If they asked for a fourth time I was going to say 7.5 people would arrive at precisely 12:42pm, but they seemed to take the hint when I ignored them after repeatedly saying I still didn’t know. The guides of the hiking groups were pretty cool and I enjoyed talking to them, especially when they trash talked their clients.


The view from my tent the third night. A fox walked right in front of here shortly after I took this photo.


A view from a pass on the third day.


The clouds looked ominous so I hurried down the pass, hoping not to get caught in a storm at high elevation with no shelter.


I didn’t know it at the time, but I was heading up the wrong valley.


Still in the wrong valley, but it was pretty. I spent half a day there and retracing my route, after which I headed straight to the village of Huayllapa through a storm. At the village’s only store I talked to the owner, who told me he’d give me a room in his hotel for $3. The room looked like the cellar from the Blair Witch Project, but the bed was comfortable and I got out of the rain.



Heading through the valley.


Descending from the higher route to the valley. The storm let up for a bit.


This dog followed me for two and a half days. I hate dogs.


Most of the time there was a trail that was easy to discern.


Walking in the clouds.


The early morning views.


One last view of the snowcapped mountains.


The very last pass! I got cell service here for the first time on the trip, so I made a reservation for a hotel room for when I got back to Huaraz.


Llamac, the end of the hike. A bus leaves for Huaraz every day at 11am, and I arrived at 4pm. I wandered around until I found a “hotel,” where the very kind owner charged $12.25 for a room, two meals, and a large hunk of cheese. I have no idea why she had so much cheese, but she had me help carry the cheese to the bus for sale in Huaraz. Really good cheese, wherever she gets it from. In the village of Huayllapa you can supposedly resupply, but they only had crackers. After spending two days eating just crackers, I was glad to get hot meals in town.


La Paz and Lake Titicaca

Uyuni es una especie de infierno (o como dicen en España, esta en El quinto pino) . Si no fuera por salar más grande del mundo al lado que estaría muerto. Así que una vez que estaba hecho con mi recorrido por los pisos que quería GTFO.

Sin querer levantarse en la previa al amanecer gélido viajar en un autobús de pollo 15 horas a Chile, he optado en lugar de continuar directamente a La Paz. La empresa Todo Turismo tiene un autobús climatizada con baño partida que sale cada noche a las 20:00 para el viaje de 10,5 horas a Bolivia de capital de facto y la ciudad más grande de alrededor de 36 $. He pagado un poco más para conseguir un mejor  cama de asiento, bien vale la pena.

Los autobuses de mayor calidad en los Andes centrales, que es una región mucho más pobre que el de Argentina / Chile / Uruguay, a menudo tienen sus propios terminales. A menudo esto es sólo un autobús en la calle delante de la taquilla, la facturación de equipaje, como en un aeropuerto.

Tal vez era porque había estado con falta de sueño la noche anterior de un delirio pasando cerca de mi hotel con música ensordecedora hasta 5 de la mañana, pero dormí bastante bien en el autobús. La única parada que hizo fue en la mañana temprano en Oruro, y de nuevo 5 de la mañana para que todos pudieran salir y mirar a la ciudad de La Paz desde un punto de vista. Esto parecía bastante innecesaria cuando la mayoría de nosotros sólo quería aprovechar al máximo lo poco sueño era posible en el viaje.


El centro de La Paz, vista desde el mercado.

El autobús se detuvo en el terminal de La Paz en la madrugada. El área cerca de la terminal tiene una reputación sombra bonita, pero había un montón de gente caminando y me sentí bien. El primer hotel que fui era completa, pero rápidamente encontró alojamiento en el Hostal completa y consiguió una habitación privada para un poco más de $ 7 por noche. No había habitaciones disponibles con baño privado, pero las instalaciones estaban muy bien y era muy tranquilo. En América del Sur las últimas cuenta mucho.

La Paz tiene una reputación de violencia, pero me sentí más seguro que tengo en otros lugares (es decir, Addis Abeba, capital de Etiopía). El Internet está lleno de historias re extranjeros siendo agredidas a punta de pistola. La ciudad es una ciudad de fiesta grande para gringos que han venido a América del Sur para la cocaína y el alcohol barato, y por lo que he visto y oído Tengo el presentimiento de que muchas de las víctimas eran de embriaguez y pasear por la noche . Pero cosas pasan, y me tomó precauciones: Nunca he caminado por las calles vacías, se aseguró de que siempre sabía dónde estaba, sacó mi teléfono lo menos posible (que es por eso que tengo comparativamente pocas fotos de La Paz), y nunca he estado hacia fuera más allá 20:00.


Llama fetos en el mercado de las brujas en el centro de La Paz. A menudo son utilizados en la construcción para proporcionar una ofrenda a la Pachamama, la diosa de la Tierra. Bolivia es el país más indígena en América del Sur. Con la conversión forzada al catolicismo, la línea entre la Pachamama y la Virgen María se ha convertido en muy borrosa. Es muy fascinante de ver la mezcla entre las antiguas religiones andinas y el catolicismo.


Tomé el nuevo teleférico La Paz desde la ciudad a los suburbios en expansión de El Alto, en el altiplano circundante. La Paz está construido en un valle, con la liquidación de todos irradiando cuesta arriba de la avenida central. Si se pierde, es fácil que acaba de ir cuesta abajo y pronto llegará a la avenida central siguiendo el río. Fue un poco extraño ver a casi un millón de personas que viven en 13.620 pies (4,150m).


El conseguir en el nuevo teleférico de La Paz.


Descendiendo desde El Alto hacia abajo hasta La Paz en el valle. El teleférico no es para aquellos que tienen miedo a las alturas. La Paz es de alrededor de 12k pies (3,640m).

Tres días pasados ​​paseando por La Paz y sus cafés fue mucho. Con mi próximo destino es el Lago Titicaca sólo 4 horas de distancia en autobús (la mayor parte de ese tiempo dedicado a navegar aparentemente tráfico a salir de la ciudad en expansión), pagué un par de dólares extra para conseguir un autobús de turistas a Copacabana en lugar de afrontar el minibús.

La compañía anuncia un baño a bordo, pero como es bastante común que la mantuvo cerrada para que no tener que limpiarlo. Después de tres horas de no ir al baño muchos de los pasajeros comenzaron a ponerse nerviosos, y un tipo comenzó a golpear la ventana que nos separa del conductor con la esperanza de conseguir el WC abierta. “Porque todos somos amigos aquí que voy a abrir el inodoro”, anunció el encargado extrañamente en español, que estoy seguro que muy pocos podían entender a bordo.


Para llegar a la península de Copacabana y su sin pasar por Perú, hay que atravesar algunos estrechos. Todo el mundo se baja del autobús, mientras que los vehículos están puestas en balsas de madera en mal estado. Era un milagro que no se hundió.


Los pasajeros que van en una lancha para cruzar el estrecho.


Barcos en el lago Titicaca.

Había oído durante el último par de semanas que el lado boliviano del lago Titicaca, aunque bastante turístico, es mucho mejor que el lado peruano. La mayoría de los mochileros partida de Bolivia a Perú a través del lago Titicaca parecía centrarse en el lado boliviano y seguir directo a Cusco en el Perú después.

La costa del lago Titicaca no es tan atractivo. Más bien, el principal atractivo son las islas. De Copacabana hay dos barcos al día a la Isla del Sol (Isla del Sol), teniendo dos horas para llegar a la ciudad del sur de la isla de Yumani a un costo de alrededor de $ 5. Yo quería ir a la parte norte menos turística de la isla y caminata hacia el sur, pero debido a una supuesta disputa sobre tarifas de entrada al sur de la isla estaba bloqueando el acceso al norte.

No hay nada de Copacabana, Isla del Sol, pero es bastante agradable. Turístico, sí, pero la mayoría de la gente visita durante una hora por la mañana o por la tarde e inmediatamente se dirigen de nuevo a la parte continental. Por la itinerancia de la isla en la mañana, y derrochar en un hotel de $ 15 por noche en un canto de distancia del centro de la ciudad, que en gran medida tenía el lugar para mí.


La vista desde la habitación del hotel en la Isla del Sol.


Yumani, el pueblo en el extremo sur de la Isla del Sol, se fija en la parte superior de una subida empinada tanto desde el puerto. El lago en sí es de 12.500 pies (3800M). Se llama el lago más alto navegable del mundo.


Lago Titicaca es conocido por sus truchas, y fue realmente increíble. Esto es lo que pude ver desde mi asiento en un restaurante en la Isla del Sol, cerca de mi hotel.

Después de pasar dos noches en la Isla del Sol que estaba listo para salir, y cogí el primer lanzamiento del día de regreso a Copacabana. A diferencia de la última vez fue casi en su totalidad los locales. El autobús directo desde Copacabana a Puno, también en el lago Titicaca aunque en la frontera con Perú, no se iba a otros 4,5 horas. Así que cogí un minibús 15 minutos a Kinsani en la frontera, conseguido el sello de Bolivia, y fue capaz de conseguir estampado en Perú en unos 30 segundos.

Los estadounidenses reciben 90 días en Bolivia, pero el abandono es muy fácil, siempre y cuando tenga la tarjeta de turista dada en la entrada y no lo estadía se sobrepasa su visa. Entrando en Perú es también muy fácil. Usted sólo tiene que rellenar un formulario, lo convierten en los agentes de inmigración, les dice cuánto tiempo desea quedarse, y te dan una tarjeta de sello y turistas que especifica cuánto tiempo puede permanecer (hasta 183 días). He oído si estadía se sobrepasa su vez en el Perú se le cobra $ 1 al día, a la salida, que a menudo puede ser más barato que hacer una carrera de visa para Ecuador.

En la frontera vi un americano subir a un taxi e intenta utilizar española rota para conseguir un taxi a la ciudad peruana más cercana de Yunguyo. Me ofrecí para dividir la tarifa con ellos y organizó un precio en Español, $ 1.60 en total para el paseo de cinco minuto para él, su amigo, y yo. En el que viajaban con sus esposas y, aparentemente, no tenían idea de que hay una tasa de reciprocidad para los estadounidenses, $ 160 a pagar sólo en la forma optima de dólares estadounidenses. Usted puede obtener dólares de los cajeros automáticos del Perú, así que tuve el taxi nos deja en un cajero automático mientras yo iba a ir a buscar a los minibuses a Puno. Los americanos estaban muy contentos de encontrar un cajero automático que se negaron a dejar que me pago mi parte del viaje en taxi, que estaba bien para mí. No sé cómo se puede descuidar a mirar en los requisitos de visado para los países, que también parecía bastante frecuencia pasan por alto en Europa del Este (recuerdo dos escoceses en el tren de Bucarest en Rumania a Chisinau mí preguntando si necesitábamos visas para visitar la República de Moldova). después vi a los dos en Cusco, así que supongo que no fue así.

Había oído en repetidas ocasiones que después de visitar el lado boliviano del lago Titicaca que el lado peruano realmente no vale la pena. Decidí darle una oportunidad, pero después de caminar por el puerto abandonado rápidamente esa idea. Era demasiado mierda turístico. Las islas Uros caña artificiales son el peor de todos ellos. Antes de que llegara el Inca, un grupo étnico distinto emigró a la zona de la Amazonía y las islas construidas hechas de cañas lejos del continente y sus habitantes hostiles. En los años 80 una gran tormenta destruyó las islas, y fueron luego recreada cerca de la costa y se convirtió en lo que he oído es como Colonial Williamsburg, excepto aún más turístico. En resumen, todo es una gran trampa para turistas falso, y he escuchado a los aldeanos regresan al continente por la noche después de que los turistas van. Visitar las otras islas en el lado peruano parecía casi tan malo, por lo que siguió el consejo de todos los demás que había estado en ambos lados y simplemente se dirigió directamente a Cusco.

Trekking Apu Ausangate


Ausangate is a mountain about 60 miles (100km) east of the old Inca capital of Cusco, Peru. Extending up to almost 21,000 feet (6,384m) with lots of snow and glaciers, it’s a pretty prominent part of the landscape.

A circuit around the mountain is 45 miles (72km) and used to be a pilgrimage route for the Inca, who viewed Ausangate as sacred. The trail is fairly well marked. I never once had to take out my map, though I did make extensive use of the GPS function on my phone along with the Maps.Me app. That app has the route in the free downloadable Peru map set, and fit the actual trail perfectly.


Ausangate as viewed from the trail.

Hiking the route solo seems pretty atypical, though I did it by myself without pack animals and had no problems. Most people hire transport to cut off 15 miles (25km) from the beginning and end of the hike, and also have mules carry all of their belongings. They generally do this shorter route in 4 or 5 days, though carrying all of my belongings I managed quite well in 2.5 days. The main difficulty is elevation; the trail rarely goes below 15,000 feet (4570m) with multiple passes up to 17,000 feet (5180m).

The area is inhabited by alpaca farmers. There are many hundreds of alpacas along the route, and the pastoral herders are quite friendly. Their first language is Quechua, but they speak passable Spanish.


The loop starts and ends at Tinqui, a small village with a few restaurants and basic hotels three hours east of Cusco. It used to be a seven to eight hour bus ride, but the recent completion of the Interoceanic Highway linking Peru and São Paulo has made the trip possible in less than half the previous time. Buses cost $3 and leave approximately every 45 minutes from the Paradero Livitaca, a very basic (and tiny) bus terminal near the old stadium. It’s visible on Google Maps, and taxis from the old town cost a little less than $2 for the ten minute ride. The sign in front may say Ocongate, which is a larger town 15 minutes before Tinqui, but they almost all continue on to and terminate at Tinqui.

Day 1

From Tinqui a dirt road leads up towards the mountain. The glaciers and permanent snowpack of the 21k foot mountain make it fairly easy to discern, and since there’s only one road navigation isn’t difficult. There are signs marking the way to Upis, the first village in the counterclockwise direction.


Walking through Tinqui, the village where the loop begins and ends.


I did the route counterclockwise, so I started going towards Upis and came back via Pacchanta.

It’s a fairly gradual climb up away from Tinqui, passing by fields of crops and livestock. There’s a fee of $3 for the hike, which should be the only fee for the trip though herders may ask for something for crossing their land.


Heading towards the mountain. The clouds are growing fairly ominous, though it often rains in the afternoon here.

The trail leaves the road and jolts to the right along a footpath through a narrow valley populated by alpacas and older herdswomen. The dark clouds gave way to a light rain for about 30 minutes. I just walked on through it.

Once the rain stopped I arrived at the Upis campground, which is just an open field with an outhouse. At 1pm it seemed like most people had already stopped for the day, maybe because the sun disappeared for half an hour. You can camp pretty much anywhere in the area, which along with rain seems for some reason to really disturb most hikers in South America. Many of them refuse to hike in the rain, and will stay in their tent all day to avoid it.


Alpacas on the way towards the Upis campground. I kept on going and decided to tackle the pass since it was only 1pm.


Leaving the campground for the pass, which is around the corner on the right.


Around the time I got too close to an alpaca herd and the herd dog let me know. Throwing rocks at it kept it at bay.

The rain seemed to hold off until I got farther down, and I was glad not to have to deal with a thunderstorm at the pass. I could hear the thunder but never saw any lightning.


The first pass, Arapa. I didn’t stay long because of the thunder and approaching storm.

At 5:15pm, with the sun below the ridge and the darkness rapidly enveloping everything, I opted to set up camp. It was my first time setting up my new tent, having shipped it to my father who brought it with him when he visited me in Argentina (tents in South America are three times the weight, twice the cost, and really shitty, so I decided to just buy an American one). Setting it up in a thunderstorm was far from ideal, but it was pretty easy to figure out. And it kept me dry, which is what really matters!

I decided to go without a stove for this trip, so I just sat in my tent eating crackers and waiting out the long 12 hour night. I woke up around 11pm to see some small dog-like creature inches from my face outside the mesh of my tent, and was glad I´d brought all my food and belongings inside the nylon.

Like on the PCT, I just slept with my food (although unlike on the PCT I slept inside a tent). Except for grizzly bears and animals in high-use areas used to people, everything is usually terrified of humans and won´t approach food if you´re touching it.

Day 2

Waking up, I opened my tent flap to find a great view of Ausangate in the clear dawn skies. Visibility was nil when I set up my tent in the deserted alpaca grazing grounds, but now it was shaping up to be a phenomenally clear day.

My 10F/-12C sleeping bag, which served me so well in the Arctic, kept me warm throughout the night. It must´ve gotten below freezing, since when I awoke my tent was covered in ice.


I lost the trail here in the early morning, having to backtrack a bit and cross the lake outlet to get to the other side.

With socks on my hands to protect them from the cold, I hurriedly packed up all my things, shook the ice from my tent, and headed off.

Some alpaca herding dogs stopped me from going into the next valley, but my trekking poles and some rocks stopped them from biting me. My break by a stream in the hills above the valley was abruptly cut off when the alpaca herd appeared around the corner emerged and stopped, just staring at me. It was a little surreal seeing dozens of alpacas appear and just stare at me en masse, but I knew the demon dogs from hell would be there soon. I crammed all my stuff into my pack and zoomed away as fast as I could at 16k feet (4900m) and headed toward the next pass. This hike was basically pass hopping punctuated by valleys filled with alpacas and their evil herd dogs.

I lost the trail heading down toward the next valley, but somehow managed to get down a steep hillside without slipping in alpaca dung. The woman tending the herd demanded $3 for crossing her land, which I argued over before finally paying. It almost certainly wasn´t official, but I had just terrorized her flock by walking through it and the fee was pretty minimal.

A German hiker came from the other end of the valley and passed me while I took a break. He´d just come from the Rainbow Mountain, a popular day trip from Cusco that gets many hundreds of visitors each afternoon. I´d opted to skip it since I was concerned about my first hike at a sustained high elevation, and wasn´t sure exactly where it was. I wanted to make my first hike in Peru as easy as reasonably possible.

“Maybe we’ll see each other in a while!” the guy called as he left. After 20 minutes I finished my break and almost immediately passed him while he huffed his way up towards the pass.

“This is the last pass, and it’s all downhill from here! Only 30km more,” he panted. I just smiled, knowing that there was another pass after this one and that his distance was quite off (though he might have been taking a taxi from the last village to the highway, which cuts off a few hours and is common; but his mileage was still pretty off). I decided against crushing his dreams with reality.

The pass was beautiful albeit cold and windy, so I didn’t stay very long.


My view during the break I took below the pass, in a more sheltered site.

I passed hundreds of alpaca on my way down the valley, and was accosted by five snarling dogs near a hut. They startled me, and though most of them seemed friendly one tried to lunge at me. Throwing rocks at it, I saw a woman come out and run towards me. I think she wanted money or to sell me something, but recognized that in the midst of avoiding the teeth of her dogs was not a good time to beg. This was the last time dogs were an issue for me on the trek.


The valley below the pass.


There’s a group of trekkers, with horses hired to carry all their things, to the left of the photo. They let their horses roam after setting up camp.


The next and last pass is up ahead around the corner on the left. I camped before it in the hopes of climbing the pass in the morning.

The trail followed a stream through a picturesque, verdant valley. One of the dogs from the hut followed me and seemed to want food, which I didn’t give it. I figured mint cream crackers and dry ramen weren’t good for some aging alpaca dog. There was nobody in the valley other than some guy who I’m fairly sure saw me while I was going to the bathroom. Turns out I wasn’t as alone as I thought.


My campsite the second and last night. Since it was getting dark I decided to wait until morning to tackle the pass, not wanting to be caught at night at high elevation without a sheltered campsite.

Day 3

Going up to the pass took more time than it would have at lower elevation, but at the top I had cell service and chatted with my brothers about topics that will not be addressed here. It was the highest I’d ever been in my life, 17k feet (5180m), and was amazing.


A panorama of the last high pass.

The descent through the last valley was easy, and I quickly passed some hikers that had hired mules to carry all their belongings. They must’ve been the ones camped with the horses the night prior.

As I got closer to Tinqui I saw more and more people, including a woman who was way too old to be begging for candy. One young girl rushed out to show me her orange and white kitten, which really did not want to be in her grasp, and was satisfied when I told her it was incredibly adorable.

A hailstorm lasted 40 minutes, which I walked through while listening to BBC podcasts. Making good time, I decided to continue all the way back to the highway and catch a bus back to Cusco.