Adventures in Peru

Letter 3 - Around Alpamayo Circuit.

(Written on 2-9-02)

Hello Everybody,

Peru is one of the most beautiful countries in South America and Huaraz is one of the most beautiful areas in Peru. The area is surrounded by 6 thousands meters peaks including the highest mountain in Peru – Huascaran (6,700 m).

We came to Huaraz after an almost non-stop travel by bus from Ecuador which took about 48 hours…. There are three mountain ranges (Cordilleras) around here. The Cordillera Negra (the black range) which contains low mountains (4,000m to 5,000 meters height), the Cordillera Huayhuash (which we visited in our pervious visit to Peru) and the Cordillera Blanca (the white range) which includes more than 60 peaks above 6,000 meters.

For us, who are hooked on mountains, the Cordillera Blanca is just the right place to go. So, of course, we were planning a walk in the Cordillera Blanca which should take about twelve days!!! Our trek is called Los Cedrros-Santa Cruz. It encircles one of the most beautiful mountains in the world – the pyramid shape mountain – Alpamayo (5,947 m).

Alpamayo (5,947 m) at night.

Our preparations for the walk included: purchase of food for 12 days (for example – the amount of bread we took was 80 pita-bread + two big bread loafs) , we went to a shoe-maker to fix our shoes which didn't survive the Ecuadorian rain and mud, we did some more other things and were ready to start our adventure…

Buying 80 pita-bread in Rosemberg grocery shop.

The beginning of the walk was just bad, our bags were so heavy that we could hardly move (more than 20 Kg each). However, one should expect this when going for such a long walk. But the thing that was one too much for me was my shoes (remember I repaired them in Huaraz) – the newly repaired shoes caused me huge blisters in each one of my legs. It hurt and I could hardly walk in the few first days. However, the scenery was so great and it compensated for all the difficulties.

The walk started by a climb of about 1,900m vertically (really tough, especially when you carry your heavy bags….). We reached the base-camp of the Santa Cruz mountain (6,270m). We were sleeping on the shore of a great blue lagoon located just beneath the main glacier of the mountain, and the views where amazing, especially the sun-set. During the whole night we were hearing strong sounds of avalanches which were coming down the glacier. It was quite frightening at times, and I planned already an escape route from there in case of a big avalanche…

We were sleeping on the shore of a great blue lagoon located just beneath Santa Cruz (6,270m).

During the trek we passed by many deep blue colored lakes which were amazing. We crossed 8 mountain passes (altitudes of about 4,600 m – 4,850 m). We walked next to huge vertical cliffs – hundreds of meters of vertical walls – through which water cascades were flowing.

We passed by many deep blue colored lakes.

And of course we visited the two base camps of the Alpamayo (a base camp is actually the point from which the climbers make the final ascent to the mountain summit.). Alpamayo is a very technical mountain so we couldn't climb it, but only reached its base camp… The views from both base camps were great. You are so close to the mountain peaks…

Santa Cruz (6,270m) as seen at night from Alpamayo north base camp.

Laguna Jankaruish as seen on the way to Alpamayo north base camp.

We were sleeping next to glaciated lakes (lakes which are full of icebergs that fall down from the mountain glacier..), and were hearing the noise of breaking ice pieces which kept falling from the mountain during the nights. In the first eight days of the walk, we didn't see anyone except for two local people. We were completely alone - us in front of the wild amazing nature!!!

On the way to a glaciated lake above Alpamayo north base camp.

Tali in the glaciated lake...

A close-up of the glaciated lake.

As the time passed we were eating our food so our bags became more reasonable to carry…

Holding our last green onion in Punta Union (4,760m)...

The garbage left from our food.

In the last part of the walk we joined a way which is very popular with tourists (the Santa Cruz walk) so we had the opportunity to see real tourists (quite a few of them) after so many days of being alone it was quite a nice experience…

On the way to Alpamayo south base camp. Piramide (5,885m) is in the background.

Our last night camping spot.

We ended our walk a day ago, and here we are in Huaraz to tell you our stories... Before coming back to Huaraz we took a local bus to the Canyon Del-Pato which is a very high and narrow canyon. It was very impressive, but frightening in times, since the road passes the very narrow edges of that canyon…

We are about to celebrate Rosh-Hashana here in Huaraz. We try to organize a celebration in here with the other Israelis (Normally, in the big places HABAD people organize those things..). Hope we will manage to organize a nice Rosh-Hashana gathering…

Hag Samech, ëúéáä åçúéîä èåáä

Tali and Nir

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Last modified: Sun Aug 17th 23:05:00 IST 2003