Updated 11 Oct 2012
Huayhuash Circuit, Peru 1984
"One of the best long distance Treks in the World"
16-camp 100 mile trek reaching 5,000 metres at Punta Cuyoc, Peru.
Above 13,000 feet for 2 weeks.
The story of a 16-camp trekking holiday in Peru in 1984.
Most of the walking, and most of the campsites, were above the 4000 m
tree line, the landscape was rugged and mountainous, with
views over very wide areas.
We saw Spectacular glacial lakes, hot springs,
snow-covered peaks, condors, llamas, alpacas and viscachas.
We never saw or heard a vehicle for 20 days, tents, food and kitbags
were carried by mules.
The 15,000 words are taken from my battered logbooks. Scans are from
30 year old color prints.
The words are only those written on trek, hot under a burning sun or cold,
by candlelight, weary after a day's climbing, and shortage of oxygen....
The trek was organised by Alfred Gregory Photo Treks ("Greg" was stills
photographer on the first successful 1953 Everest Expedition).
See also Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.
Anyone on this trek please contact me on
Cordillera Huayhuash from Space
Yerupaja Chico |
Siuli Grande |
CAMPS 1-16 -
Huayhuash Circuit, Peru 1984 -
by Jim Bartle 1981 -
I carried this map in rucksac round Huayhuash!.
Trek Profile - CAMPS 4-15 -
Altitude in metres - Spelling approximate -
The range has become noted for trekking in the form of the Huayhuash Circuit,
which is considered quite a challenge and is undoubtedly far more demanding
than the famous Inca Trail in the south of Peru. Fewer people trek the
Huayhuash than the nearby Cordillera Blanca. The circuit generally takes
between ten and fourteen days, depending on the route taken.
Most of the walking, and most of the campsites, are above the 4000 m tree
line, so the landscape appears rugged and mountainous, affording views over
very wide areas. The area is noted for its spectacular glacial lakes. Hot
springs can also be found in the area. Condors, llamas, alpacas and
viscachas can be seen. Trekking is almost always undertaken in the dry
winter months of May to September, and the cities of Huaraz and Caraz over
100 & 167 km away are the usual choice for organizing and hiring camping
a/o logistical support. Chiquián was for a long time the "Gateway to the
Huayhuash" but nowadays, daily buses (called locally colectivos go deep
into the mountains to the village of Llamac (3300 m) and with private
transport, as far as Cuartelhain camp, reached both by road built in the
late 90s and 2000s, becoming now the new trail heads for starting/ending.
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6511. Driving to Heathrow [text]
6527. Frankfurt Airport [text]
Day 01 Thu 07 Jun 1984.
Broadstone - Worcester Park
Left work at 1430. This week I've been working unofficial flexitime,
we've been getting up at 0500 (Lillibulero and World Service) and
starting at 0600. I've been testing Intermediate Range Active Tests
on TAMS using the Logic Analyser to collect data and measure
processing time. Got home to find Rosie Packed and ready. Sunny and
warm day. Loaded the Metro. Rosie's case weighed 25kg, she phoned Lufthansa,
they said no problem. Mine exactly 19 kg. Said goodbye to Jean and Taffy,
who lent us an Esso map of Lima they got 20 years ago when they lived
there. Set off 1600. Easy journey along Motorway or dual carriageway
all the way, Rosie driving
Lots of traffic. Things got a bit hectic
on the A3, knowing which turn to take. Eventually reached Aunt Joyce
Rumble's house in Manor Drive,
Worcester Park 1820. She cooked us a lovely meal, chatted and then we
went out for a walk through riverside fields. Unloaded our gear and
locked the Metro into a corner of the front garden. Got to bed about
2230 after managing to get Rosie to give up repacking.
6529. Lima in its usual pall [text]
7629. The huge bill [text]
6532. Remains of Francisco Pizzaro, Lima [text]
Day 02 Fri 08 Jun 1984.
Heathrow - Frankfurt - San Juan - Bagota - Lima
Woke up about 0430 after a good night's sleep. A sizeable dawn chorus
in the very green deciduous gardens of suburbia. Our alarm clocks, set to
0500, weren't needed. Rosie got up after much protest. Taxi arrived spot
on 0700, had to put my case in front seat. Nice being driven through traffic
to Heathrow. Got there about 0745, taxi cost £10, just as Greg and
some others arrived. David Carter, the chap we didn't see on the weekend.
Handed our suitcases in, then went through the X-ray and loop into
Departure lounge. Iris made us laugh. A week ago a bottle of weedkiller
broke, bleaching her Travellers cheques
and soles. She had to replace the TC's and wash and hang the
soles on the line to dry! All 135,000 of them! We boarded an
A300 Airbus, I got a window seat, port side, sitting with Iris, Rosie
behind. We took off at 1010, climbed rapidly to 37,000 ft in sunlight.
We got well fed. Cloud gathered and we landed at 1115, descending
through thick cloud to a dull day. Scenery neat and clean, large
coniferous woods. Bit of a race to get off plane and across to our next,
transatlantic flight, but it turned out we had plenty of time. Efficient
X-ray and body search system, neither my film nor camera were X-rayed
but they took the lens off and peered inside.
(PS. At Frankfurt airport, on top of airport building, were 3 German
WW2 planes and a WW2 jet, Me262?). Greg tried to get
non-smoking seats well away from smokers, but could not - he's a bit
obsessive about smoking. I got an aisle seat, 37H, and we took off at 1300
in a Jumbo 747.
Its a 9 hour flight to San Juan. Very good service
on Lufthansa - drinks were free - good meal of pork,
mash and sauerkraut, blackbread, cheese, strawberry and cream. I sat with
Rosie and Iris. She's very interesting. Quite a few Spanish speakers in
the packed plane. Queue outside the Loo, I managed half hour sleep
before lunch. After lunch managed about 2 hour sleep, film finished about
1800. Film was called "Educating Rita" with Michael Caine (released 1983)
but I didn't watch it, so Iris and I swapped seats and I got the window
seat. A baby screamed for a bit. There's just not enough room for me to get
into a sleeping position. Rosie says there's lots of room in the Business
class in front, but our section is packed tight. The music on the 10 audio
channels available on the free headphones is good - classical, pop and easy
listening. Got fed again at 2000. Excellent meal with red wine.
The guy Timothy has dropped out so there are 11 of us.
They brought round hot face cloths as we started descending at 2150 BST.
We landed 2205 with a thump after steep bank to starboard giving great
view of San Juan. Line of clapped out old DC3s in aircraft graveyard.
We had to leave the plane with our hand luggage and stay in the air
conditioned (ie cold) Transit Lounge, like a posh prison. Back onto 747
again - same plane but different crew. I managed to get a seat next to
door and toilets - room to stretch right out. Not near a window, but it will
soon be dark anyway. Took off much emptier, at 2350 after usual demonstrations
of where exits are, oxygen masks and life jackets. They brought round more
food and drink but this time I actually refused and went
to sleep. Woken when they brought round blankets. Landed Bogota
0202. Seems a large place judging by the lights of the city in the dark.
Its 12C outside and 2004 local time. Don't think we'll be allowed out of
the aircraft. Looks wet outside, and its night outside. The air-hostess
facing me belts up with both lap and shoulder straps and faces
rearwards - much safer in a crash. Why don't all passenger seats face
rearwards? Yellow blouse, blue skirt, blue yellow neckerchief, medium
high heel shoes. I wonder hat sort of a life they have? Had a look out
of the door - its raining. My altimeter says 8,000 ft, is this correct?
(Wikipedia: 8,612 ft) The girl next to me is American from
Cleveland, Ohio, visiting her sister in Lima. Rosie came to lie on the
3 seats behind me. We took off (for the 4th time!) at 0322. The aircraft
seems very empty now, and is darkened. I "stretched out" on 3 seats
behind Rosie and slept well until woken by order to fasten seat belts
because of turbulence at 0500. Lillibulero Time!
Landed at Lima 0552 BST. Very slight drizzle. Rather long queue
through immigration. All our luggage was together, then Rosie had panic
to get to a toilet and went back through immigration, causing chaos
while we waited. Eventually all OK. Piled on posh bus, handsome Luis
guided us. Drove through outskirts of Lima, lots of low rectangular,
tatty, small industrial sites. 2nd May Square. 8 similar buildings,
French style, 1900. San Martin Square, where Avenue starts, where Hotel
Crillon is. Went straight to posh room, bed about 0200, slept like a
log for 4 hours.
Frankfurt-San Juan is 4,568 miles. Our Boeing 747D has 245-404 seats.
Frankfurt-London 406 miles, Frankfurt-Delhi 3,800 miles. Lima-Bogota 1172 m,
San Juan - Bogota 1097 m. ie 3,000 miles further than Delhi.
6602. Dry cliffs at Pasamajo. [text]
6603. Desert conditions North of Lima [text]
Day 03 Sat 09 Jun 1984.
Am writing this one day in retrospect. Woke refreshed, had a shower,
pressed some wrong buttons, and room service called with coffee, much
to Rosie's surprise. Gathered downstairs, met Wyn Evans from Toronto here,
Continental breakfast, then we went off exploring Lima, broke into groups.
Rosie and I went with Iris who is rather nice. We made for Union Street,
which is a long straight walkway with decent shops. The traffic comes from
wrong direction, but is remarkably tolerant. The people are interesting,
all the way from tall fair gringos like me to short squat dark Indians
with big noses. I wish I had sat in Union Street photographing people.
PS. early in the morning I got up and went for
walk. The place is plagued with shoeshine boys, one of whom gave me an
excellent 3-stage shine, I gave 5,000 (£1.25) but he thought it
too little! Rosie and Iris and I reached Plaza de Armos and managed
to get into Lima Cathedral
and saw the terribly emaciated and rather sad
remains of a little man who was the great Francisco Pizarro.
All skin and
bone, like a mummy. Then we went through the market by the river and
railway station, another fascinating place to study people. If only we
had more time. We were pushing through crowds of people surrounded by
pots, pans, cheap clothes and more shoes than I've seen together in my
life. People seem good natured. Then Rosie became violently hungry,
so we found a restaurant just off
Union Street and ate remarkably well. I had beefsteak and chips, finished
off Iris' very tasty soup and some of Rosie's meal too. Back to Hotel
and packed ready for early departure tomorrow. Then we all had our first
drink of Pisco, the Peruvian spirit, while waiting for Rosie. Its very
tasty and very strong, and a lot of us got a bit drunk. Staggered off to
the "Restaurant 1900" and had meal and drinks while being serenaded
by trained singer dressed in traditional Inca clothes and disc-shaped
hat, a trained high soprano according to Rosie, sounded like Yma Sumac
to me. Sang theme tune from Flight of the Condor several times, which in
my drunken state sounded terrific. When the reckoning came, we owed
35,000 soles each.
embarrassing, I had to borrow 60,000 from Max which I had to get from
the hotel strong box. Eventually staggered into bed about 2300 feeling
a bit shattered.
6615. Road at Conococha 4,000m [text]
6627. Chiquian main street [text]
Day 04 Sun 10 Jun 1984.
Lima - Pativilca - Chiquian
Up at 0500, Rosie not well with Fred as usual. Dark outside, got
everything ready. Breakfast, first Diamox, set off in posh bus at 0800.
Outskirts of Lima rundown, seedy, bare earth, lots of young eucalyptus
trees planted. River with earth banks, must cause chaos when it floods.
We can guess a lot of the signposts and adverts, Spanish probably easy
to learn. 6 million in Lima, 20 million in Peru. 100% cloud above.
Graffiti - probably political. Adverts with sultry white, blonde females.
Little markets, unsightly power cables and pylons. Dust on trees. No grass
Many buildings only half-built - save on rates? Out of Lima 0817, fields
with bananas, some kind of fruit tree. Steep bare earth hills on our left.
Red oleanders in a garden. Huge pictures painted on hillsides! Lots of
eucalyptus - they don't need much water. Puente Piedro 0825.
Lovely red bourgainvilias. Lines of steep hills to the road edge, not
a blade of grass - sand - dust - earth all bare. 0837. Stopped at
Garita de Control, some kind of police check post. 0842. The
sea and Ancoia. Now driving along corniche, earth cliffs and sea
on left, steep sand hills next to road on right. Stopped for 5 mins for
photos. Grey mist, warm, road half way down huge sand cliff plunging
down to sea. Line of pelicans flying just above water. Tiny guano
islands just off coast. Pasamajo is where we stopped.
Fields of Indian corn now.
Back onto main highway again. This really is the Atacama Desert.
Chancay 0920. Lot of large wall slogans - Presidential elections
in '85? Bermudez, Morales. Field of tapioca? No rain falls on this desert,
all agriculture is by irrigation from the Andes watershed. 0957 now
driving through flat sandy desert, sea in distance on left. The sun
has come out, still misty. They have sea salt pans near here says Sue
(PS: she's been telling us about their Galapagos trip in June - sounds
great). Now a great desert landscape, stones, gravel and sand and sun,
each side of our arrow straight road. Loneliness. "Great God but this
is an awful place". 1017 entered a large sprawling shanty town.
Cruz Blanca. Then Churua. Had a diamox stop (ie for a pee)
in a thick and high field
of sugarcane. I came out with trouserlegs and socks covered with burrs,
took me 30 minutes to pick 100 prickly little buggers off. Scenery now
like Mexico, desert, sun, shanty shacks by road, white painted houses,
roaming dogs, peasants. Long line of Pacific surf to left. Dense fields
of sugar cane each side, high with "flower" at top. Lorries loaded high
with cane on the road. Vulture gliding overhead. Occasional high bamboo
clumps. Almost every shack has its tall TV arial. People laying the dust
with water. Barren hills beyond. Now a port with fishing boats. 191 km
from Lima. Orange flowers of Chile pepper field. Hibiscus. Cotton plants?
1115, crossed big river which comes
down from the Huayhuash. More high sugar cane. Pativilca, here we
head inland towards the Andes. Steep foothills on our right. 207 kms from
Lima. 1124 . Acres of sugarcane, a fine sight when mature. Becoming more
rural. Avocados by road, maize laid out to dry, old ladies in big hats,
little wayside shrines. Locals squat, fat, brown and ugly. Barren
foothills rise very steeply from our valley, both sides. Orchard of Mangos?
Making sun-dried mud bricks for house building. Can't rain much here!
Little homes made of sticks and mud, maize heads drying, real peasants.
Valley closing in, sides quite spectacular now, still completely bare.
Saw first cactus. 1200. 1,500 ft. Now lots of stick-like cactus sprouting
from the bare hillside! March '83 El Nino
caused heavy rainfall high in hills, and parts of this road were washed
away, but it has now been well repaired. Stopped for a meal at El Paraiso
restaurant. Had soup, bread and chicken, all a bit ropey, the best being
something that tasted just like potato but looked like a giant parsnip.
Assorted kids came to watch us feed and we photographed them afterwards.
51 kms from junction, left at 1310. 4,000 ft, valley narrower and
bumpier all the time. This is a very well graded road. 1327, 5000 ft,
our bus is going quite fast too. The hills around are now covered with
some kind of straggly shrub. Vultures still glide above. 1336, 6,200 ft
and climbing steeply with hairpins now. Past a cliff with vertical flutes
like Giants Causeway. Basalt?
Now getting cloudy and cooler. Quite a lot of grass around. Raquia.
6,700 ft, still very good road. Eucalyptus, large gourd hanging from tree.
Broad leaved cactus.
Rosie saw a turkey. Older women short, stooped,
long skirts, large hats. Lot of donkies. 1358, 8,500 ft, slight rain.
Valley sides green. Spectacular views down. This is a very fine road.
Sue says it was much improved by World grants after a recent big
earthquake, and it supplies a large area of resources. Its an old Inca
road, and Peru is unique in having these. 1410, 10,000 ft. Not much traffic,
we pass the occasional lorry. Apparently no air service to Huarez now,
not commercially viable any more. Mayoraca. Top of hills around
appear to be volcanic plugs. Lots of blue lupins growing by roadside.
1426, 12,000 ft. Slight rain. Getting cold. 1435, 13,000 ft. Near the
summit which is supposed to be 4,100 metres. Conococha.
stopped for 15 minutes and chatted to locals, a real language barrier,
they were pleasant but they didn't want us to take their photo. 1500
set off 18 miles very bumpy to Chiquian. Now in flat plain, grassy and
bogs, bit like Scotland. Sheep, dull grey, open moors, women herders in
ponchos and wide brimmed white hats. Small thatched farms. 1529, 13,500 ft
and going down. The descent to Chiquian was fantastic. Flowering shrubs
everywhere. Track only as wide as the coach, and hairpins all the way.
A great Indian driver. Eventually the roofs of Chiquian
appeared below, quite a sizeable and very attractive
town. We got established in Room 3 of Hostel San Miguel, on first floor
facing an inner compound of fuchsias and other flowering plants. After
the coach had unloaded and left to park elsewhere, we strolled along
the straight streets,
with high pavements and overhanging roofs, all men
wear brown ponchos and hats, women coloured ponchos. Lots of kids but
none speak English. Pity. We went to a Restaurant for a tea, then at 1900
went for a main meal consisting of lovely new potatoes, soup, chips and
meat and beer. I was full and couldn't finish. Slight rain most of the
time, got back about 2100. Felt no effect of Diamox, no tingling.
Bed at 2115.
Islands scattered out to sea where birds breed somehow in still desert
conditions - eg pelicans which we saw flying low over the sea. We stopped
for picture-taking overlooking sand in all directions on quite starkly
attractive sea cliffs.
Day 05 Mon 11 Jun 1984.
Chiquian - Villavicencio
Slept like a log till 0300, then snoozed. It suddenly gets light about
0545, making a 12 hour night. Went down and
had a real good crap. Felt no effects of altitude yet. Weather high
broken cloud. Looked up Spanish names for animals in my photo album,
then went and sat at end of main street, observing. Everybody wears
ponchos and broad brimmed hats, men in trousers, women in skirts
usually brightly coloured, black hair often long and plaited. The women
have broad hips and are squat. Altimeter shows 11,000 ft. Went to the
El Viatero restaurant again and had a good breakfast of bread,
jam, tea, and fried eggs. Started off just ahead of the donkeys and
walked down the track to the river 1,500 ft below us at 9,500 ft.
This was an easy downhill stroll, took us 3 hours, the sun came out
and gave us magnificent views of snow covered peaks both up and down
river. It was like strolling through the hot house at Kew, each side
of the track was covered with all sorts of cactus, flowering shrubs
and insects. A beautiful experience.
Unfortunately, 45 mins out of Chiquien, Greg twisted his right knee
on a boulder and I think the patella came loose. It hurts a lot, and
he won't be able to walk for a bit, but is riding like Lady Godiva
on a white horse. Wyn gave his opinion as a pathologist. At the bridge
over the cold torrent, we ate our lunch packs, and I made friends with
a lot of charming kids, amused as usual by pictures and the snake.
Eventually (1400) Greg and the donkeys arrived and we are going to camp
here by the side of the torrent and bridge and just below the village
Pitched camp. Nice site. Mekki and I climbed up to the village,
10 minutes, where we were given firewater like vodka out of an Inca
Cola bottle and invited to the Fiesta
tonight. They have a huge harp and are letting off rockets which explode.
We said OK and descended for a good meal of soup, staek and potatoes
(fried). As we were eating it started raining, after being almost clodless
with a full moon. Earlier we had met a Chamonix guide who had to return
to Chiquian to be stitched up after being hit by a falling lump of ice.
He was walking back through the night to join up with a French party
making a traverse in the Huayhuash. Mekki, Max, Rosie and I went up to
the village when the rain stopped, the orchestra consisted of the giant
harp, muted trumpet and violin.
First their men wanted to dance with our
girls, all done in a small room by candlelight. Max and I danced with 2
of their women. They are very good natured, but not speaking Spanish is
a big handicap. Got to bed about 2200. Woke at 0300 and slept again,
dreaming of strange things till 0600.
Camp 01 - Villavicencio
Day 06 Tue 12 Jun 1984.
Villavicencio - Llamac
Woke to a cloudless sky, lot of condensation. Tea came round at 0600.
All seem OK except Wyn who has a funny tummy. Greg has his leg strapped up
and manages somehow with 2 sticks. Started walking 0800. Long rocky
track among dense and lovely cactus and shrub vegetation
rushing torrent between towering scrub covered mountain walls. Lovely
little flowers, epiphytes, beetles, little birds, all different and
unknown to me.
And all the time under a cloudless sky and boiling sun.
Stopped at the top of a particularly long haul at 1213. Continued on
through more lovely scenery, came across a local woman who said (through
Mekki) we would get to Llamac by 1330. Eventually the 4 leaders, Bob,
JCP, Mekki and Max stopped on other side of a little wood and earth
bridge. A few clouds now 1340. We had our lunch stop here. Left at
1440 and got into Llamac, first at 1505 knackered.
Stopped outside the first hostelry, and as the others rolled up we decided
to have a beer here and wait for the others, who may be a long time and
very tired. Pocpa is 2 hours away and it will be dark before the whole
party gets here. Also there is a mystery about our burros, which we
had not seen when we left Camp 1. Its possible they have been stolen
by people returning late from the Fiesta. At 1605 the rest of the party
rolled up, everybody OK except for Wyn, who has a little dysentry and
Dave, who is still a bit deaf from his cold. We all had beers and cokes,
and then, lo and behold, all the burros arrived with all the gear!
Tremendous!! Cesar found us a field at the other end of the town.
We pitched the tents
just as dusk fell at about 1830.
Finished a good meal of soup, beans, chips and steak,
and pineapple at 2100. Also Bob's treat of a rough biscuit each with
our personal name on. One way from mes to own tents we could see
Southern Cross just over summit of mountain, lovely, also full moon
and little cloud. Its 42°F now.
We think we saw a condor, and parrots squawking in flocks. There are
numerous single black birds that look a bit like large blackbirds, but
smaller than rooks. Saw various small birds, singly - no snakes. Many
bright coloured flowers and shrubs and cacti. Mostly dry underfoot.
Camp 02 - Llamac
Day 07 Wed 13 Jun 1984.
Llamac - Pocpa - Palica
Woke at 0530 after good night's sleep. Bright full moon, just setting,
and almost clear sky made it seem like dawn already, which came at
0600, with tea. Had good crap. Some dark clouds in East, over peaks.
Reached 36°F last night. 10,600 ft here. 0800 finished good breakfast.
Bits of high cloud, won't be as hot as yesterday. Reached Pocpa
after puffing uphill walk through the usual lovely vegetated gorge scenery
at 0905. Greg was there on his horse, had a coke and climbed up into
the village to see children.
and blue sky. Lovely, dirty isolated village, interesting people.Children
are dirty, matted hair, candles from noses, smelly, dressed in bright
but ancient clothes, T-shirts. Left Pocpa about 1005, climbed steadily
again through lovely vegetation and scenery, which became a puff with
altitude. Greg's horse and the locals shot past us, but Bob and I could
only keep a slow steady pace up the climb until, at 1210, we suddenly
reached the top to be presented with a wide flat green pampa between
spectacular mountain walls, with a snowy peak, Jirishankar 20,000 ft,
peeping over the top. This is a lovely spot, and gradually the whole
party turned up. Wyn still feeling a bit rough. This place is
Palica I think. Just seen a heron-like bird, with
bright yellow legs and a white wispy feather sticking out of the back
of its head along its back. Big bird when it flies, landed in a tree.
Suddenly we got chased off our sleeping place by the sudden appearance
of an angry bull ("Toro Bravo" the arriero called it). Everybody
ran and hid. From half way up the hillside (!) we can see another snow
peak, possibly Yerupaja (21,765 ft). A whole lot of cows turned up and
they have taken over our eating spot. We then moved to the other end of
this beautiful flat meadow (pampa) and are now (1600) camped by the
side of a bubbling stream,
among lots of low grass-like greenery and
lovely white flowers, low like gentians.
Some of us have had a good wash, it may be the last chance. I had a wash
all over and shampoo. There's a cold wind blowing up the vally, and the
is dropping rapidly. Beautiful display of Southern Cross. The meal wasn't
ready till 2000, I slept a bit, and Bob in the next tent snored! When it
was ready, we all turned up except Sue who wasn't well. Wyn wasn't well
either and Mekkie had a headache and cough, and Dave a cough. The rest of
us had good appetites, I swallowed a good meal of soup x 2, hash,
blackcurrent jelly x 2. Excellent. Bed 2114. Bit cloudy.
I saw in morning 2 humming birds, a brown one and a bottle-green
iridescent one, also a bright yellow and brown bird, one with orange
and brown colouring, martin-type birds and a flock of black ibis on
the Pampa. I have also seen dandelions and speedwell. There was also a
heron on the pampa and a plover.
Camp 03 - Palica
Day 08 Thu 14 Jun 1984.
Palica - Quebrada Rondoy
Woke quite often, went back to sleep, finally looked out at 0430. Cloudy
so no frost. Went back to sleep again. Up at 0630 for a crap in a nearby
hillock covered with wild flowers of all colours and a lot of thorns.
Have a slight headache, may be due to overheating last night, I slept in
thick shirt, sweater, trousers and socks. Wroiting this at 0718. Tea is at
0800. Curlews (sort of) round here. Heard some kind of geese honking in
Arriero is collecting the mules. The cloud seems to be breaking, bit of
sun. The tops of the valley sides are vegetated, 14,000 ft I guess. 0721
sun hits camp. Cool breeze blowing down valley, but not cold. Had
reasonable breakfast, started walking at 0945 up the valley again. The
cloud ahead came and went. Quebrada Rondoy, 13,200 ft = 4,000 m.
I chatted to some kids who waded across the Rio Llamac to see me. West
of us are some bare peaks covered in red scree., to the South a high
snow-covered peak. We had 1.5 hours rest here, then continued up the
easily graded valley to camp site 4, which we reached at 1332.
My altimeter says 13,400 but we're probably at 13,800 ft.
at a little plateau, where we turn right, away from the main Rio Llamac
valley, and tomorrow we shall head up a steep gorge to the Pass at
4,700 m 15,412 ft,
a gain in altitude of about 1,600 ft. Greg says it will be a hard day
since we are not acclimatized. I am feeling rather cold and have
retreated into the tent, but Rosie is outside in her duvet, with the
3 little girls, Marita (11), Erica (6) and Amerino(5), if I have
remembered and understood correctly.
They are rather sweet, and I
have given them a balloon (lobo) and showed them my photos. They
banged the plate about 2000 and we shot off for a good meal of soup,
3 great fatless chunks of meat that beat me, some kind of custard.
Max's treat of chocolate biscuits and Pisco Puro, very strong and
very good. Only 40°F.
A few hovels, made of stones and thatched roofs which house farming
families, cattle and sheep.
Camp 04 - Quebrada Rondoy
6819. Near Cacanam Punta 4690m [text]
6823. Kids in ponchos [text]
Day 09 Fri 15 Jun 1984.
Quebrada Ronday - Mitucocha
Woke up at 0130 for a pee out of the door and was also sick - it
was that meat last night. Woke up again at 0530 for a pee, put my
clothes on, staggered off 100 yards across the
puna, was promptly sick until I had emptied my stomach of its contents,
then I just reached a flat rock in time to empty a lot of my bowel too.
Feeling considerably better, I staggered back to the tent where Rosie
gave me her water, Bless her, I was terribly dehydrated. A local dog
ate up the first sick outside the tent! Apparently she'd been kept awake
by dogs barking all night. Went down to 30°F last night, some hoar
frost. Couldn't face any breakfast - neither could Wyn. We started off
0800, and I was sick almost immediately, losing all the water I had just
drunk. John Jackson stayed with me and set a very slow pace, I felt as
weak as a kitten but no headache. A few hundred feet below the summit,
[Cacananpunta 15,387 ft] Sue actually came down to take my rucksack! I got to the top at 1045,
in front of Wyn on the second horse, both of which seemed more nackered
than me. We had a rest
the other side just below the summit, then set off again, heading up the
valley towards Jirishanca [19,993 ft] and its group of magnificent
snow-covered peaks up to 20,000 ft. Unfortunately they were covered in
cloud. Eventually reached camp 5, after some discussion about which side
of the river. The mules had continued on towards the Laguna, but had to be
brought back because the Laguna is surrounded by bogs, not suitable for
camping. Got to Camp 5 [14,100 ft] at 1405 and camped within some cattle
dry stone circles, very handy.
I was very tired, but Rosie rushed around, mended my rucksack. I managed
to eat a bit of dinner, and went to bed early.
We think we saw 3 condors together. Also 2 black and white geese. Many
crocuses, gentians and anemones in flower. There are some geese flying
home to roost towards the large laguna and bog.
Camp 05 - Matacancha
6827. Loaded mule [text]
6930. Jirishanca 6094 metres [text]
Day 10 Sat 16 Jun 1984.
Mitucocha - Punta Carhuac 4650m - Carhuaccocha
Looked out at 0430 and cloudy. Looked out again at 0540 and clear sky
with magnificent view of Jirishanca twin peaks and camp site. Took several
until it finally disappeared
behind cloud. Had breakfast of jelly and porridge. Set off at 0900. Felt
tremendously much better than yesterday. Kept up with the horse till we
stopped for a rest at 1011. The going was very easy, walking on pampas
all the way with easy way. Vidal, the 67 year old leader of the arrieros,
calls the pass ahead "Yana-Yana", but Jim Bartle's book calls it Carhuac.
Reached the summit [Punta Carhuac 15,256 ft] about 1100, then came down,
easy going, for a lunch stop at 1130. Viscachya were plentiful among the
rocks, like rabbits with squirrel tails. The great mountain in front of us,
with large glacier and icefall, was almost all covered in cloud, but we saw
a sizeable avalanche through a gully. Reached the view above Laguna
Carhuacocha at 1330, with the usual 3 children, above us (hidden in cloud
unfortunately) Yerupaja 6634m, Yerupaja Chico 6121m and Jirishanca 6094m.
Sauntered down to Camp 6 on the bluff above the Laguna and pitched our tents
at about 1430
We may stay here for 2 days. It is a beautiful spot when the cloud
clears. Got cold later and we all retreated to our tents. Dinner at 1930,
announced by banging of plate. Soup, cold mince of fish, onions and
something else and lovely mangoes in juice. Bed about 2100.
There were some beautuful orange-red alpine flowers below the summit.
Visquachias are playing in the rocks near where we are sitting. They
look like a cross between a squirrel and a rabbit. Saw a flock of black
and white Andean geese by a boggy area.
Camp 06 - Carhuacocha
6931. Yerupaja Chico 6121m [text]
6932. Yerupaja 6634m [text]
Day 11 Sun 17 Jun 1984.
Woken in night by rain twice. Got up at 0600. Mountains 50% covered by
cloud. Walked down the little valley for a good quick crap. Saw plenty
of geese. largely white, honking, also two large birds with only tail
white, rest black. Laguna Carhuacocha is held in by very large terminal
and lateral moraines. There must have been a very big glacier in this
Its beautifully quiet here, apart from distant streams and bird calls.
Set off with Bob and Rosie, the rest of the party had a rest day and stayed
around Camp. We circumnavigated the Laguna, visiting the upper lake in
the cirque below El Toro. We continued round, leaving about 0900 and just as
we reached a little hut, the rain came down and we were invited in by
a hospitable man and his wife. They lived in a hut made of very thick mud
walls and new corrugated iron. They had 10 children! Inside was a table,
3 chairs, sheep fleeces stored above the ceiling, maize cobs hanging
from the ceiling. They showed us a little photo album of excellent
photos taken by a Swiss climbing group, who subsequently must have
posted them. Before meeting the family we came across
large white-faced coot, flocks of black ibis, geese with 80% white plumage.
Then it cleared and we climbed slowly and with much effort to the small
lake in the corrie at the snout of the glacier tumbling down from El Toro
15,421 ft. A lovely place, with a swift-like bird zooming over the water
catching some insect. Very peaceful, quiet, high, with the three massive
peaks climbing into the clouds above us. Here we had our packed lunches,
regailed by Bob's stories. Set off again about 1300 and contoured round
till we had the most superb view down onto the beautiful terminal and
lateral moraines below another mountain (Siula) and glacier forming a
symmetrical "arena" with a very small lake inside. We descended again,
and met a group of locals fishing for trout.
Later Cesar joined up with
we followed the lake shore round to the exit stream, which proved
difficult to cross. We had to take our boots, socks and trousers off
and wade across, rather cold. Got back to camp after a fabulous day
about 1630, just in time for tea.
Dinner call at 1930. We had soup,
2 trout (!- very good) and mixed fruit with Pisco and Wyn's treat
of assorted biscuits. Bed about 2130.
I went, like Gunga Din to fill up our Sigg bottles and on the way I
saw a glow-worm on a rock, it was dark by then. It looked like a thin
maggot with light on tail.
6933. Siula Grande 6344m [text]
6937. Crossing river dryshod [text]
Day 12 Mon 18 Jun 1984.
Another lovely day. After breakfast, we left camp and walked down to
the outfall. Forgot to mention - I woke up at 0430, cloudless night,
half moon, stars, woke Bob and we walked down to end of Laguna, taking
photos of the mountains
as the sun came up, and some cloud gradually
developed. Lovely. To continue - the group crossed the
river on horseback, led by an arriero on another horse,
one by one.
JCP took off his trousers and socks and boots and waded across. We
continued along the South side of Laguna towards the "amphitheatre"
Lake Siuli we had seen yesterday. Most of party camped in
warm sunshine on grassy patch to one side, while Jacko, Sue, JCP, Bob,
Iris and Rosie climbed to the top of the moraine wall, which
incidentally was covered with tiny flowers of all kinds and some
flowering cactus. At the top we were rewarded with a great view of
the small lake, ice 80-100 feet deep covered with rock debris and
surrounding magnificent peaks and icefalls. Kept hearing and sometimes
seeing the occasional avalanche high up. Climbed down again and
had our packed lunch, then made our way back to the outfall.
This time, Rosie, Iris, Bob, and JCP waded across. Lovely sunshine
most of the time, though some big convection clouds. As we were having
our tea, it rained a little. Went for a climb and a crap, from where
I could see a couple of French tents well behind the end of the Laguna.
Had a kip, went into the mess tent with Rosie and wrote some cards.
Filling meal of soup, mutton and beans, rice pudding and John's treat
of Welsh Fudge. Bed 2100
Day 13 Tue 19 Jun 1984.
Carhuacocha - Carnicero Pass 4600m - Huayhuash
Woke after a good 9 hours sleep, dreaming I was shopping at Foyles and
had left some clothes there. Just got sleeping-bag stuffed, kitbag and
rucksac packed and self dressed before the tea came round at 0600, brought
by Cesar and an arriero. Quite a bit of cloud but getting higher. Had very
dry throat after no clearing for 9 hours at this altitude (13,500 ft).
Had breakfast of thick trout soup or stew (which I didn't touch), bread,
jam and porridge. Day rapidly clearing into lovely weather. Set off about
0900. Goodbye Camp 6. We crossed the Laguna outfall a bit lower down, I
decided on horseback this time, last by general acclamation, and caused
great hilarity by leaping into saddle and falling flat on other side.
We climbed the Carnicero Pass [15,127 ft], stopping for a rest at
1022, where we saw 4 vicuna on the other side of the valley. Later saw
3 more vicuna, but they may have been same ones, from much closer. They
nice like ponies with long necks. Had our lunch stop just below the pass
Its an easy walk turned into a slog by the altitude. The Pass
turned into a bit of a swine, with new "ups" after what you think must
be the last one. A superb succession of peaks on the right, stretching
into the distance, the closest and largest being the Nevada Serapo
[20,101 ft] with a great icefall. The Andes are much better than the
Himalayas for photographs because the terrain is concave not convex,
and the snow-covered peaks stand up unhidden from Trekking heights of
13-14,000 ft. Eventually we saw below us Huayhuash, consisting
of about 3 sheep rings and 2 cattle shelters, in the middle of a great
emptiness surrounded by snow-covered peaks.
We made our way down, and reached the mules and the arrieros (who had
passed us near the summit) about 1540.
For the last 2 hours we had been following a trail of blood splashes,
and near the tents we saw the mule which had a damaged right cheek,
perhaps kicked by another donkey. It was squatted down, and when I saw it
a continuous spurt of blood was coming from its cheek. Its owner, Vidal,
didn't seem particularly worried and was prepared to let it die. Wyn and
Iris suggested we staunch the flow of blood with a pad and rope
give it as much water as possible. I said it should be moved into a shelter
and covered with blankets, we are 14,000 ft here and it will be very cold
tonight. Apparently an arriero's horse died last night. Tea at 1730,
followed by very cold 2 hour wait for dinner at 1930,
but it was worth it.
Excellent soup (onion?, asparagus?), spaghetti and sausages, pineapple,
and Max's treat of tinned Camembert on crackers. All excellent. Chatted a
bit in the dark as the hurricane
lamp went out, then bed at 2100
There were quite a few peat bogs on the way up. Peat bogs contain islands
of this prickly "moss" + saxifrage looking mounds which are outside of
the peat bogs. Both mounds make excellent 'stepping stones'
Camp 07 - Huayhuash
Day 14 Wed 20 Jun 1984.
Huayhuash - Portachuela Pass 4750m - Laguna Viconga
Looked out at 0530 and 100% cloudy, but rapidly became cloudless,
tea at 0600, breakfast at 0700, off at 0800.
Started climbing almost
immediately, and reached the top at 1000 with Bob.
We heard Max's cough
just before he came over the top. We saw a photo-recce Canberra bomber
fly over. We descended to the Viconga Lake which is also
dammed to produce a head of water. We stopped here for lunch at 1200, then
continued turning fairly sharp right up another valley, but camped not
too far up, perhaps because the arrieros were in front of us and didn't
want too cold a night.
Pitched tent in windy conditions, had tea, then
interesting talk with John Jackson, who recommended the books listed at
the back. He is a quiet, modest, very likeable bloke who has really done
a lot in his 63 years
Had to put up our own tents because the arrieros had gone 'on strike'.
We are at 4,600m
Dinner at 1930, smokers last as usual, its getting very cold so we
all cleared off to bed at 2040.
"he's a bit obsessive about smoking."
"Greg twisted his right knee on a boulder and I think the patella came
loose. It hurts a lot, and he won't be able to walk for a bit, but is
riding like Lady Godiva on a white horse."
"Greg has his leg strapped up and manages somehow with 2 sticks."
Alfred Gregory, taken 2004.
John Jackson, taken 1990.
"....interesting talk with John Jackson, who recommended the books
listed at the back. He is a quiet, modest, very likeable bloke who has
really done a lot in his 63 years."
7125. Rosie on Punta Cuyoc [text]
7130. "Dead sheep" cactus [text]
Day 15 Thu 21 Jun 1984.
Laguna Viconga - Punta Cuyoc 5025m - Huahacpatay
Up at 0530 after a good night's sleep broken only by the necessity
to wet my throat from strategically placed water bottle. It only got
25°F last night. Got packed and out before 0600, wandered down valley
and found an excellent place for a crap. Had an excellent crap, then
lifted an immense rock and covered the results. Then went and filled
water bottle again and put 2 steratabs in. Its much easier going downhill
than uphill, even on a slight slope like this valley. Hoar frost on ground,
and a lot of the marsh is frozen. Set off at 0800. Very cold, hoar frost
on ground, clear sky, but only reached 25°F last night. Slow steady
slog. We saw 5 llamas just before we started. Like large less refined
versions of vicuna. We had
rest at 0930, a mountain snow covered top called "The Sleeping Lion"
seemed very close. Then on again, a steady climb for an hour to a nice
summit, just above vegetation level on this side. Great snow slabs on
right of the Sleeping Lion. A long way below, a flat green pasture,
otherwise apparent desert on the other side, with a strong cold wind
blowing from there.
Just beyond summit, some large wind-carved sandstone
sculpture. We stayed at the top for some time, then scrambled down steep
but easy loose surface to flat pasture, where we had lunch break at 1200
to 1300. Could see the mules descending in the distance. Continued along
a magnificent glacial valley, which was U-shaped, showed roches
moutonees, plucked dykes, and curved slightly to right all time, flat
but sudden changes of height over sill 3 or 4 times. It had a milky
glacial stream. It was a long tiring walk before we caught
up with the burros about 1515, and erected the tents.
Weather still good. The main stream is glacial and full of debris,
so I walked a couple of hundred yards up to a clear tributary to fill
water bottles. Tea at 1700, dinner at 1930, usual long cold wait, but
excellent soup, pork and chips and pineapple and Sue's treat of
Black Forest Liqueur. Talked about Hotels in Kathmandu till bed at 2100.
Beautiful starry sky, more of constellations familiar except Southern
Cross and Castor and Pollux possibly
Camp 09 - Huahacpatay
Day 16 Fri 22 Jun 1984.
Huahacpatay - Huayllapa
0651. We have an extra hour in bed because its a short day today. Cloudy
when I looked out, but rapidly clearing. Horses (2) are hobbled, two front
feet tied. An arriero in brown poncho on horseback is collecting the burros
that have been allowed to stray
across this great valley, U-shaped, but steep sides. Magnificent peaks at
Eastern end. Low grass with hoar frost here. Higher up sides, scree,
almost sand, with clumps of "thatching grass". All arrieros dressed same,
dark shoes, trousers, shirt covered by brown poncho, wide brimmed hat set
slightly askew. After tea arrived, climbed about ¼-way up side of
valley to get a little bird's-eye view of valley floor. Valley side is
covered with great clumps of coarse "thatching grass" which makes a good
hand hold. Lot of loose scree and breathless climbing at this altitude.
There are 2 large drumlins just up valley from our camp, some eskers
lower down. About 400 yards higher up 2 sheep circle walls are full of
about 100 sheep with 4 black ones. A thatched stone wall dwelling
attaches, and the ever watchful cur barks at all intruders. The milky
glacial stream meanders its way along the valley bottom, a pale reminder
of the once mighty glacier. John J has just come out for
a crap, in my full view, but too far away for detail! Good job I forgot
to bring fieldglasses. Good breakfast at 0900. Then we set off down the
beautiful valley, very easy walking down the flat, grass covered floor.
John Jackson fell into the river while crossing it, saturating his jacket
and his camera. Eventually our magnificent valley met another, lower
valley coming in from the right. We turned right slightly into this new
valley and then started a steep descent, zig-zagging through lovely scrub
covered in blue lupins, red flowers, white flowers, yellow flowers.
Reached the floor of the new valley about 1100 and waited for the rest
of the party to catch up. Then we continued along the side of the main
river, crossing occasionally, a lovely route, but it turned out to be
a long way to Huayllapa. I had run out of film early in the morning, and
had not loaded my rucksac with unused film as usual, but used film, so
I missed photographing this section. Eventually Bob and I got into the
[Huayllapa 14,107 ft]
just in front of Greg, horse and Vidal. We had a beer each in
a hostelry, and after much negotiation decided to sleep together in
the room above the hostelry, with mess and cook tents in the back garden.
This will be safer, because tomorrow a 7-day festival of San Juan begins.
Visiting football teams are coming in, there will be much drunkenness
and a security problem. About 1500 it started to rain, stopped, then
started again about 1800. I got shown round the local school by a French
priest dressed in a poncho, who introduced me to the "professor" a teacher.
Later he met the rest of the
party. The village is very dirty, but some of the younger women are
brightly dressed, and in sun and with time and patience good shots of the
locals and kids can be obtained. The school is putting on a series of
cameos at the village hall from 1900 till 2200, this will clash with our
meal so I don't know what we will do. Glad we are in a room now as
raining even though its corrugated and so makes a noise. Had not a very
good meal at 1900, then a group of us left for the village hall about
1945. A lot of locals were peering through the entrance, and the place
was fairly full. At first they charged us 2,000 soles each but
this was reduced by negotiation, after we had walked out, to 500 each
(1 beer = 3,000). Inside, there was much noise, on and off stage. All
the ladies, in their white
broad brimmed hats, were against the right wall, and the gents, in brown
ponchos and dark broad brimmed hats, against the left wall. In the middle
were seated mothers with kids. Chairs and benches were eventually found
for us. Someone was told earlier that the show started "7 o'clock
Peruvian Time". It started 2022! The stage was packed with kids and
order was kept by the master of ceremonies, the vital person, the
Professor of the school who I had seen earlier and his assistant
the Alumnus. They introduced the acts one by one, drawing a curtain across
the stage in between. Professionally they were pathetic, the whole charm
was the amateurism and the oblivious way people turned their back on the
audience, wandered across stage, waved arms and spoke inaudibly, got
stage fright, all with the fervour and support of the audience. The one
or two adult acts, dancing, were
much better, and brought suggestive roars from the audience. The males,
boys and men, were ordinarily dressed, but some of the little girls
had beautiful skirts and shoulder-covers all in glowing colours and
beautifully embroidered. The huge Welsh Harp - a large harp with sound
box - was brought in about 2100 to help proceedings. The rest of the group
left about 2100, but Bob and I stayed on till 2145. Straight to bed and
we all tried to sleep through the music and dancing and TERRIFIC bangs
of rockets which went on until about 0500. And the Fiesta isn't
supposed to start until tomorrow!
We are now going to sleep on the floor of the 1st floor of a house -11 of
us on air matresses and in sleeping bags - makes Hotel Snowland (Jomosan,
Nepal) like the Hilton - no dunny, just a field with a drop to the river.
Camp 10 - Huayllapa
7236. Breakfast at Camp 12 [text]
7328. Rondoy 5870 m [text]
Day 17 Sat 23 Jun 1984.
Huayllapa - Huatiac
Everybody slept late, I eventually got up at 0650 and tea came round at
0700. Looks a good clear day.
Today I think we have to climb a long way. After breakfast, the sky cleared
and promises a hot day.
We went about 500 yards upstream, turned left and
started a slow climb up into the new valley. Slow because horse was not well
today and moved slowly. We gradually climbed out of the shrub line and had
our lunch stop near the top of the terminal moraine at the top of the climb.
When the party had collected and eaten their lunches,we set off again,
but only for about 15 minutes, when we reached the first flat part of the
U-shaped valley, where we decided to camp at 1230, our earliest Camp.
Greg said this was because the arrieros had hangovers and we shouldn't
go too far and give them a chance to recover. I climbed the hill on the
right, with John, where I had an excellent crap (my turds are in excellent
shape at the moment, coming
once every two days), found a sheep pen containing a lovely little baby
goat, found a wild potato growing in an earthy crack between huge boulders,
saw a viscachaya, saw a huge boulder which had many inclusions in caused
by heat and pressure (may be caused by subducted Pacific Plate), and it
was very peaceful up there. Came down, had tea, waited for dinner. Got
cold and started raining (not very hard). One of the little girls
watching us from the other bank of the river apparently goes to school
in Huayllapa - 2,000 ft down and 2,000 ft up at least.
Had excellent meal,
mulligatawny soup and vermicelli, new potatoes, cheese, mutton hash.
Chatted till 2100 and to bed, by which time not a cloud and usual
beautiful display of stars.
Cesar says there is a Puma wandering around polishing off lambs!
Camp 11 - near Huatiac
7335. Jirishanca from Laguna [text]
7415. Greg's white horse [text]
Day 18 Sun 24 Jun 1984.
Huatiac - Tapush Pass 4800m - Susucocha
Up at 0615, packed, out and climbed hillside again overlooking camp.
You can see a lot from up here. Climbed up other side as well, where
the local s have cut a path which goes through a huge rock. After
breakfast, we set off at 0900 in lovely sunshine. It was a fairly easy,
steady climb to top of Tapush Pass, which had a false summit.
Bob and I saw a puma track, showing a large pad and 5 small pads,
about 4 inches across. We reached summit at 1115, and descended to
terminal moraine of lake to get out of cold wind to eat our lunch
As we were eating, the donkeys went past,
and this was a mistake because they camped just below the terminal
moraine of the lake, within a sheep-pen.
This camp must be at
15,000 ft [4572m], and tomorrow we shall have to descend to
13,000 ft [3962m] where it would have been preferable to camp, before
climbing to the next pass
at 15,000 ft and down again to the lake. It has made it a long day,
We got to Camp 12 about 1330! Bob and I crossed the valley floor to
the large slabs on the valley side and scrambled part-way up these,
from where a good view down the valley and onto the Cordillera Blanca,
including one large peak with a glacier in our direction that could be
Huascaran. Later joined by John Jackson, we went to look over the
terminal moraine into the valley below our section, where we shall go
tomorrow. There are trees, apparently Eucalyptus, up to 15,000 ft.
Back to the mess tent, where 5 of us - Rosie, JCP, Jacko, Iris and
Mekkie, waited out the 4 hours to lunch, first by daylight as it got
colder, then by the light of two candles supplied by Jacko. Soup (Rosie's
treat, very good), spaghetti not so good,
jelly and fruit very good in my opinion. Bed about 2100. Some cloud,
Coots, Andean geese, Black Ibis on the lake...horse peed all over
Vidal's poncho....Jacko produced candles and we warmed ourselves
until the food arrived...
Camp 12 - L.Susucocha
Day 19 Mon 25 Jun 1984.
Susucocha - Punta Yaucha 4800m 15,748 ft - Jauhacocha
Went out about 0645. There's a light sprinkling of snow on the ground.
Dense cloud is rolling up the valley towards us, and also down from
higher towards us, its very cold with a bit of wind, men in brown ponchos
are wandering everywhere, presumably looking for mules, who very wisely
have spread to the 4 winds. So I went back to the warmth of the tent.
Rosie says Max coughed all night in the next tent. Up for breakfast,
seems to be clearing, 2 jellies and porridge, long discussion on
"Loos I have known" by Iris until stopped by common consent. Started
at 0900, descended to below terminal moraine near which we camped,
then turned right up a
new valley, which appeared to have its end blocked by a huge ledge.
We climbed slowly, then steeply up the ledge and on through fine
black powder to the summit of Punta Yaucha 4800m 15,748 ft.
No wind here, and lots of fine geology to see. Above and beyond us
were about 7 huge black condors circling over something, dead presumably.
Left at 1120. Had lunch on the pasture just below the pass. To one side
is a rock tower with 2 ledges covered in what looks like droppings,
probably condor ledges. They are still cruising around above us. There's
a fine view all round from here. Continued steeply down, with the mules,
amongst lots of blue and white plants (lupins), until - wham! - we suddenly
came round the corner with a superb view of the main valley into which this
valley empties. Stayed here half an hour taking pictures. At
the far end are superb snow covered peaks - see the Bartle book for details
- Rondoy, Yerupaya Chico,
Yerupaja I think. Below us is a
superb icefall and terminal moraine. Below that is a double lake, at the
terminal moraine of which we are camped Jauhacocha 4050m
Below that is a flat boggy green meadow, the whole huge U-shaped valley
lined with impressive rock walls.
Bob and I saw the burros below us cross
the main stream and apparently camp on the far side, so John, Bob and I
waded across the big stream (John in his boots and socks because of his
back) only to find, to our annoyance, that they had shifted to the other
bank again and left us stranded. Eventually we had to wade across a
second time. After tea, in lovely sunny weather, but cold (13,200 ft)
3 Austrian climbers turned up.
They are camped further up the valley.
Vidal rode on horseback up the valley and returned with beer and Pepsis.
We had an excellent dinner of beer, thick soup, ham and new potatoes,
and pineapples. Afterwards Cesar lit a big fire and we all gathered round
that until only the embers were left.
We passed Quienial trees growing at 15,000 ft. They looked a little
like yew trees with bark peeling off, also they had pendulous orange
flowers. These were aparasites.
NB. One of the Austrians, returning to camp, attempted to jump the stream
and fell in - total immersion. He had to run back to keep warm
Camp 13 - Laguna Jauhacocha
7334. Yerupaja Chico 6123m [text]
7412. Parasites on Quenual [text]
7413. Rosie below Yauche [text]
Farming at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).
Jauhacocha between the Lagunas.
A plateau with a stream.
18 Cattle rings with cows and sheep.
About 60 animals.
Remains of five houses.
Although rich in mineral resources, the Andes are endowed with limited
usable agricultural land. Only 4.5 percent of the highlands, or 19,665
square kilometres, is arable and cultivated. Nevertheless, this area
constitutes more than half the nation's productive land. About 93,120
square kilometres of the Sierra is natural pasture over 4,000 m. in
altitude, too high for agriculture. The 4.5 percent of arable land,
therefore, has dense populations. The best areas for cultivation are the
valleys, which range from 2,000 to 3,500 m. in altitude. Although many
valleys have limited water supplies, others, due to glacial runoff, enjoy
abundant water for irrigation. In the protected valleys, the dry climate
is temperate, with no frost or extreme heat. In the high plateau or puna
regions above 3 939 m, the climate is cold and severe, often going below
freezing at night and seldom rising above 16°C by day. Llamas and
alpacas are pastured on the native grasses of the punas. Sheep and cattle,
when adapted, do well at lesser altitudes but overall, livestock raising
is of modest economic importance, although crucial to the survival of the
human population and maintenance of soil fertility.
Day 20 Tue 26 Jun 1984.
Jahuacocha - L.Solteracocha - Jahuacocha
Up at 0645. Frosty and clear. Breakfast. Several people are going to walk
to the Upper Laguna on this a rest day.
I set off first at 0900 and reached
the top of the terminal moraine at 1020, after a beautiful walk all by
a toffee to the little girl at the farm, at the foot of the moraine, and was
almost immediately bitten by one of the resident curs. Don't think it
broke the skin though. Some cloud gradually built up, but it is a lovely
day, through the field glasses I can see Cesar, Bob, Wyn, Dave, Iris
and Rosie all making their way towards the moraine, but heading towards
the right hand side as they see it. I walked along the rim to join them.
Lots of pretty flowers and flowering shrubs around. Have seen 3 avalanches
while I've been here. Cesar decided to continue up a very narrow, steep
"climbers track" towards an overview of the glacier. He took with him
Bob, John and JCP, but Rosie followed by herself, the rest sensibly
staying put. We heard her "cooee", but then just as the 4 men
were negotiating a particularly dicey stretch we heard a scream from Rosie
that sent shivers down John and me.
"Laguna Jahuacocha is generally considered the most beautiful spot in
the Cordillera Huayhuash...The peaks, especially Yerupaja, tower so high
above Laguna Jahuacocha and its companion, Laguna Solteracocha, that they
seem to be a part of a different world".
Cordillera Huayhuash by Jim Bartle 1981.
We decided to stop there and have lunch
when Rosie caught us up, while Cesar and Bob continued on for 20 minutes.
John gave us some interesting facts about him leading the Snowdon Mountain
Rescue Team for 18 years, and being called out 35 times per year on the
average. He was also the person that found the 3 boys from Robert's
[my brother's] school in 1960 that fell off the PYG track and killed themselves.
[See Tragedy on Snowdon].
We returned, past the springs which bubbled unidentified gases, and back to
the camp at about 1430. Dubbined my boots and slept in the sun till it
got too cold, then retreated to the mess tent, talked and drank a beer
until dinner came at 1900. My treats seemed to go down well -
Turkish Delight (though Iris prefers it with chocolate round), Kojak
style lollipops and 2 blocks of stoned dates (only 1 of which got eaten,
but John particularly liked). Afterwards we gathered round a fine fire
outside until only the dying embers were left. About 50% cloud and stars
above. Bed, very full, about 2106.
Plenty of bird life around lake area including yellow and light brown
small birds as before - light brown upper, yellow breast - males have
yellow heads, females brwnish and yellow less bright. Around camp this
morning were many chaffinch-like birds.
Day 21 Wed 27 Jun 1984.
Breakfast of toast and jam at 0800. Cloud a bit low.
Bob, Rosie and I would climb North side of valley towards Laguna
high up. Everybody else staying in camp, fishing, dhobiying, etc. We started
out at 1000 by wding across the very cold stream, and then climbed
slowly through the steep, grass and
lupin covered hillside. Eventually after 2 hours climbing through
attractive scenery we reached a ridge from where we could see the stream,
flowing from the Laguna above a rocky ledge about 1.5 hours above us. We
decided to climb another half hour then have lunch. We crossed the head of
a gulley the surface of which was rather loose. Bob decided to wait for us
by a little tree, Rosie and I went on and found a large path climbing
upwards. We shouted to Bob, who apparently didn't hear us. Rosie and I
followed the path, but it kept going, so we came down to have lunch
and found Bob gone. We shouted - no response - so we had our lunch, then
followed the path down till we lost it. The wildlife was interesting.
Lots of Qrunicil trees, with flowering red sections
(the 'leaves' of
which look completely
different from normal leaves and may be seed pods), lots of humming
birds pollinating the flowers, lots of blue lupin bushes, bright
yellow flowers on the ground, mosses green and red. We continued steeply
down till we reached the river. I jumped over the two arms, but poor Rosie
had to wade again.
A Swiss priest and his mate have pitched camp on the
other side from us. Wandered round the local hump and found a place
for a good crap. Then stayed in the Mess Tent chatting, beer was brought,
and eventually food at 1930. Very good oxtail soup, trout (caught by
the arrieros in the lake this afternoon) and chips, peaches and John's
treat of Anglesey fudge and Welsh rock! Then we all gathered round the
usual excellent fire of Cesar until about 2115. Bed 2130.
Cesar gave his weather forcast this morning -"bad weather -
lightnings in the Amazon"!!
7428. Unfriendly scorpion [text]
7502. Flowering cactus [text]
Day 22 Thu 28 Jun 1984.
Jahuacocha - Punta Pampa 4300m - below Pass.
Set off at 0900, down the valley.
We had to cross the main stream
again - I did this by jumping the side and main stream, most others
by using the horses, Rosie by fording.
We followed the flat valley bed
for some way, then gradually ascended the right hand side of the valley,
contouring round the ridges, as we gradually rose.
Saw some woodpecker type birds. Brown speckled wings, yellow underparts,
about size of pigeons around camp site.
Very impressive views
as we got higher until eventually we went over the slight pass
[Punta Pampa 4300m 14,107 ft]
and saw below us the Cordillera Blanca, Chiquian in the distance, and the
valley of the Llamac below. Starting to meet more insects, in particular
one with a large proboscis which I photographed.
We dropped a short way
and waited in the sun for the mules. Before the pass, I noticed a bird
with black back,
white under and orange legs and bill which I pointed out to Sue. I saw
it dive into white water. Sue seemed very pleased and pronounced it a
Torrent duck. Continued on to just below the Pass, where we camped.
[Punta Pampa 4300m].
The burros came eventually, but one was missing, and an arriero had gone
looking for it on Cesar's horse. Another horse (Greg's) and an arriero
were dispatched and eventually found it. It was only carrying vegetables
and canned fruit, but it could have been carrying kitbags, much more
Meanwhile we erected tents, lounged in the hot sun, and went
hunting scorpions, which seem to live under every other rock.
found some very large spiders. I got ready for collecting
botanical samples tomorrow by getting a spoon from the kitchen and
lots of plastic bags. Had an excellent meal of soup, spuds, meat,
tinned fruit. Piscoed-tea and large chocolate as treat. Bed about 2100.
...we saw torrent ducks in the river...passed through Quenual trees
and cacti with the large flower spikes (Bromeliad)...saw a turquoise
humming bird with brown wings amongst all the other humming birds.
...There are all sorts of insects here - most under stones - scorpions,
spiders (black and large brown ones with 'arrows' on their bodies, and
large 'bluebottles' with a proboscis the length of their bodies. Also
there was a 2 inch long insect, black with orange wings which took off
like a Boeing 747!
Camp 14 - Punta Pampa
Male Torrent Duck
Day 23 Fri 29 Jun 1984.
Punta Pampa 4300m - Llamac
Quite a warm night, even though we must be at 14,000 ft. I had a bit of
a rough night, Rosie woke me from a deep slumber because I was snoring,
and immediately I couldn't stop coughing so had to suck a fisherman's
friend. Then it rained, making a noise on the roof. After breakfast, I
started collecting botanical samples,
then trailed behind the main group
as we descended almost 4,000 ft to Llamac, collecting samples all
the way, the air getting thicker and heavier
and with more smells, more vegetation springing up.
very pleasant descent through attractive countryside, we reached Llamac
and had a beer in one of the hostelries as well as our lunch stop.
Pitched camp just outside the village, above the rushing torrent.
Lots of insects around. Wandered around, collected an agave cactus (baby)
as a sample.
Saw out 2nd Boeing 747 insect. Many proboscis insects, one stung Sue
through her socks! Vegetation got larger the lower we went, with usual
cacti including Bromeliads and then lower, Agave. Lots of 'prickety
bushes', and quite a few birds including green parrakeets with orange
necks. These in flocks. Saw a brownish bird with a pleasant call - also
black birds (larger than British blackbird) which ahd a lovely call.
Much warmer now. Good evening meal. Bed about 2100.
The baby survived transport to our home in Dorset, England, and was put
in a pot outside our front door, where there was
the most sun and least rain. It grew rapidly until one winter wet snow
rotted our teenager. It needed cold and DRY!
Camp 15 - Llamac
7601. An old agarve [text]
7605. End of Trek, Rosie [text]
7609. Chiquian, Cordillera [text]
Day 24 Sat 30 Jun 1984.
Llamac - Villavicencio
Started off at 0900 and walked down the rocky, stoney path following
first the Llamac, then the Achin, then some other river, for miles,
under the burning sun of a cloudless sky near the equator near noon.
Very dusty, covered all possible flesh with
clothing of some kind. Eventually, at 1230, crossed a river by a bridge
and got to a flat plateau where two rivers meet between huge cliffs on
each side. Trouble is this will not do as a camp site as all the grass
is dry - not food for burros or horses, so we will have to continue on
to our old campsite at the bridge. Most of the party are riding the
extra distance - Greg says it will take Rosie over 3 hours. We set off
immediately, Max, Mekkie, Rosie and I. Its a long, dusty, stoney track,
under a boiling sun but with a strong wind at times
and generally upwards,
but not very steep.
I got into the old campsite (Camp 1) at 1500 and
promptly had a lovely wash in the stream.
I had followed the burros for miles. Rosie was only about
20 minutes behind, then Mekkie. I then spread my samples out for their
daily UV dose. Later the rest of the party arrived on horseback with
funny stories, but nobody actually fell off.
Pitched tents, at tea call we ate 2 tins of pilchards (or sardines),
excellent. Later had a jolly good meal, after beers all round. This is
last night under canvas, rather sad. All the stars out tonight and a
lot of insects and a few bats and a thin crescent moon, horizontal,
looks wrong somehow. Bed 2045.
Camp 16 - Villavicencio
7524. Mule blankets drying [text]
7525. Kids at Villavicencio[text]
Day 25 Sun 01 Jul 1984.
Villavicencio - Chiquian
Up at 0630 to a cloudless sky, which really warmed us up when the sun
got down the valley sides to us. The mess tent steamed in the sun.
There has been a lot of condensation in the night.
We didn't hurry breakfast, and afterwards, while the arrieros were
and airing out tents we had a photo session of people getting
on and off their horses. I used the opportunity of taking mug shots in
the bright sunlight.
At last, at 1000, the horses started up the hill,
led by Greg and Vidal and preceded by Rosie, JCP and John (who started
about 30 minutes earlier. It was a long slog to Chiquian, taking about
1 hour. I stopped once, to take photos of the magnificent Yarupaja and
adjacent snow-covered peaks in the distance, and have a drink. Caught up
with John just before we reached Chiquian,
and we all had our
lunch stop in a field with a great view. Rosie wasn't far behind, but
was to keep in front of the horses.
When we finally got to Chiquian,
we paid off the arrieros, got established in the Hotel San Miguel, and
then went looking for somewhere with beer, which we eventually found.
Later we went to the restaurant next to the church, which seemed clean
and where I had soup and shared rice and beans with Rosie. The others
had considerably more. Afterwards, while the sun was still up, Rosie and
I walked some way up the road from Conococha and photoed the town,
returning across country. At 1600 the sun goes behind the hills and
it rapidly starts to get cold. There's an American printer and his
daughter (fluent in Spanish he says) staying at San Miguel. He's sold
his business. He
likes Ecuador because its easy to reach sea, mountains and jungle and
"You can live for 500 bucks a month". If he went back to the
States he'd have to start working again. Went down to a Restaurant
at about 1845 for our meal. John bought a large bottle of Pisco Pura
on the way, 5,000 soles = £1.25! At the meal I shared a
bottle of beer with Rosie (2,000 soles = 50p) and then we had
cheese, bread, excellent Indian corn (I had 2 cobs), soup, and then
I couldn't eat any more - other people had tortillas and rice. Lots
of Pisco Pura. We got back and went to bed at 2115. Note - chatted for
some time to 60 year old American who had been trekking with Mountain
Travel to the Caucasus - Mount Elbruz.
7620. Cordillera Blanca (left) from C. [text]
7619. Cordillera Blanca (right) from Conococha [text]
Day 26 Mon 02 Jul 1984.
Chiquian - Conococha - Pan American Highway - Lima
Woke up at 0530, after trying to sleep in a Procrustian bed - it was
6 ft long only. Had spectacular dreams about an airshow and different
types of aeroplanes. Rosie got up, switched on light and started crashing
round on the wooden floor like a herd of elephants, to the great ire of
the 3 Indians in the room below, one of whom, in a sleepy Spanish voice,
said "F*** off". Rosie finally ready and packed about 0700, and we trooped
off after the others to the restaurant next to the church, where I had 2
fried eggs and bread - excellent.
We then wandered down to the municipal
gardens and waited in glorious weather under a cloudless sky. The problem
is Vidal hasn't been paid yet, Olinda (Cesar's wife) is rumoured to have
left Lima and spent the
night at Conococha (high and cold). Cesar hired a truck last night and went
up to look for her but no trace. He's now back, sleepless and worried
because the bus hasn't come either, At 0800 the telephone exchange
opened, phone calls were made and the bus will arrive after 0900. I think
Olinda has been located too. We sat in the sun and watched the world of
Chiquian go by - kids, dogs, women fetching water, beggars, kids off to
school at 0900.
Our bus eventually arrived about 1100, it had come from Lima, and contained
The drivers had something to eat, then we loaded our kitbags
and started off at about 1130. As we climbed up towards Conococha, the views
of the snow-covered peaks around and including Yarupaja became more and
more majestic. The sky was
practically cloudless except over the peaks.
We stopped at Conococha,
and there met Olinda, who had brought some money, but not all, and also
some beer cans, bread, cheese and fruit. Vidal decided to continue to Lima
with us. By the way the 2 Americans are with us, the younger one is an
engineer working on the Pacific Missile Test Range, but doesn't have chance
to talk because the elder (his Dad?) talks all the time about his travels.
As we descended from Conococha, the coach hurtled round lots of
nasty hairpins, and several people were feeling rather sick. Vidal was
actually badly sick apparently. We stopped at a Restaurant "San Lorenzo"
for some food - I had beer, bread, cheese from Olinda and soup provided
by the restaurant. Then we continued on, the road getting lower, straighter
and more desert-like as we approached the sea. At 1630
we turned left onto the Pan American Highway, and drove through the
frightful desert landscape in the fading light and mist, eventually reaching
the Hotel at Lima about 2000. Most people only had time to have a good
wash, pack and have a simple meal in the cafeteria before going to bed.
I had an orange juice and a super large club sandwich, Rosie some kind of
avocado, but isn't now feeling very well. We are being collected at 0500
tomorrow, those going to Cuzco at 0400!
7615. Dusty bus to Lima [text]
7624. 747 Jumbo to Frankfurt [text]
Day 27 Tue 03 Jul 1984.
Lima Airport - Bogota - San Juan
Woke up about 0430, must have been sounds of others going to Cuzco getting
up. Rosie wasn't feeling at all well, and shortly after becoming vertical
she emptied her stomach into a bucket she'd thoughtfully placed there
the previous night.
I put the cases outside the door, and went down to see
the others and have some breakfast. Iris had also been unwell all night.
Off they went, how many shall I see again? I had an orange juice only,
contacted Jacko, and nipped upstairs (6 floors, no breath problems) to
collect Rosie. We 3 piled into a huge Mercedes and drove to Lima Airport.
We checked in. I had plenty of soles, but the goods on sale in the
airport shops were very poor quality. Eventually I bought a bottle of Pisco
for Taffy, leaving me with about 65,000 soles. They weren't
interested in changing it at a money exchange counter, so I'm stuck with it.
When we went through the personal check, they really took my hand luggage
I was carrying my sleeping bag (stuffed), which they felt at every angle.
They were dumbfounded by my moss in an Elastoplast tin, and very suspicious
of my pills in anther tin, opening one of the capsules to test
the powder. But they did not have an X-ray so the film was OK. We finally
got into a 747 Jumbo which had come from La Paz,
we had 3 seats with mine
by the window, wing trailing edge, starboard side. We took off at 0830
and started the long tedious haul. A lot of people got in at Bogota.
They allowed us out again at San Juan into the transit lounge.
I only had breakfast and evening meal. I watched
a bit of the film, which was a kids, then managed to get some sleep on
the 8.5 hour to Frankfurt.
At 0700 2 July we went to a cafe by church for breakfast... I had 2 fried eggs
+ 2 cafe con leche...Vidal was violently sick due to the bus motion.
This made others a bit queasy.... After lunch we went slower as requested
by Sue. I had developed stomach pains...some of us went to eat in Coffee
House at hotel. I couldn't eat my 'starter'....about 2330 started
gagging... Could not sleep, stomach felt awful. Up about 0445 3 July and was
promptly sick as 3 pigs...I ate breakfast before Bogota and was sick
again....Have also diarrhea and wind, also felt feverish...ate a little
roll and butter + small sticky bun - and still I was sick.
7627. Airport carousel [text]
7628. Home to Aunty Joyce's [text]
Day 28 Wed 04 Jul 1984.
Frankfurt - Heathrow - Home
Woke up suddenly to find dawn lightening the sky and Rosie and Jacko
already starting their breakfast. Lovely red along the horizon as dawn
came. Had breakfast and then we landed at Frankfurt Had about an
hour before boarding London plane, so shot round airport trying to find
a way up to the roof where German WW2 and modern fighters were on display,
but I couldn't. Some kerfuffle while we all had to identify our main
luggage before boarding, and ours.......
[here my epistle ends! It is taken up by Rosie's logbook....]
At Frankfurt we boarded an A310 airbus and we received our 3rd breakfast,
and I ate some of it. Left (Frankfurt) about 0830, arrived Heathrow
about 0930 BST.
Taxi to Aunty Joyce's - not very friendly driver. Dull,
cool weather in Frankfurt - warm sunny at Heathrow. Arrived at Aunty Joyce's
Drove home from Aunty Joyce's stopping at motorway restaurant
on M3 for a snack. Sun is shining at home and no rain at all at home since
we left for Peru. Reached home about 1430 after a very good holiday
except for ATAHUALPA's REVENGE at the end!!!
Feet Metres Oxygen Boils
0 0 100% 100°C
1000 305 96 99.0
2000 610 93 98.0
3000 914 89 97.0
4000 1219 86 96.0
5000 1524 82 95.0
6000 1829 79 94.0
7000 2134 77 92.9
8000 2438 74 91.9
9000 2743 71 90.8
10000 3048 68 89.8
11000 3353 65 88.7
12000 3658 63 87.6
13000 3962 61 86.6
14000 4267 58 85.5
15000 4572 56 84.4
16000 4877 54 83.3
17000 5182 52 82.2
18000 5486 50 81.0
19000 5791 48 79.9
20000 6096 46 78.8
21000 6401 44 77.6
22000 6706 43 76.5
23000 7010 41 75.3
24000 7315 40 74.1
25000 7620 38 72.9
26000 7925 37 71.7
27000 8230 35 70.5
28000 8534 34 69.3
29000 8839 33% 68.1°C
+6 hrs | | 0920 BST
LHR Heathrow | 1010 BST | 0320 PT
| 1:05 hrs | 1:00 hrs
FRA Frankfurt | 1115 BST | 0220 PT
| 1300 BST | 0020 PT
| 9:05 hrs | 8:50 hrs
SJU San Juan | 2205 BST | 1530 PT
| 2350 BST | 1330 PT
| 2:12 hrs | 2:00 hrs
BOG Bogata | 0202 BST | 1130 PT
| 0322 BST | 1030 PT
| 2:00 hrs | 2:00 hrs
LAP Lima | 0522 BST | 0830 PT
-6 hrs | 2322 PT |
Total | 19:12 hrs 14:22 hrs | 18:50 hrs 13:50 hrs
Hand luggage: |
Trav cheques |
Airline tickets |
Film cassettes |
28mm lens |
Close-up rings |
Pentax insructions |
Face cloth |
Toilet bag |
Biros for JCP |
3 thin logbooks |
Keys for cas and kitbag |
2 plastic carrier bags |
Spanish phrase book |
In case: |
Litre water bottle |
Max-min thermometer |
Pentax batteries |
Photo album for kids |
Battery razor |
Pocket knife |
Film cassettes |
3 case belts |
Prism compass |
Turkish delight |
Photo logbook |
Sun goggles |
Thin trousers |
Street shoes |
Subdued shirt |
Sleeping bag |
Stuff bag |
Jog shoes |
3 prs Thick socks |
4 prs Thin socks |
1 Thick shirt |
1 Thin shirt |
Thicj trousers |
2 Navy sweaters |
3 prs coloured pants |
Thermal vest |
Long Johns |
Thick overtrousers |
Wool mittens |
Hilary hat |
2 prs White sun gloves |
Glacier cream |
Blister plasters |
Fisherman's friend |
Mycota powder |
Toilet paper |
Dubbin + rag |
Torch batteries |
Spare laces |
Troll pouches |
Night lights |
Dustbin liners |
Small towel |
Rubber snakes -
Bubbles for kids |
Clothes line |
Laundry kit |
Enamel mug |
Belt for trousers |
Tips for next time:
Take packet of powdered soup to use in hot water
or weak tea |
New housewife + thimble |
Take fags for locals |
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