A year since our arrival in Peru; it’d flown by. 12 months wandering trails, turning cranks up hills, flying frozen down descents and softly shaking Peruvian hands. In a few short weeks we’d be back in the old country, and for the first time didn’t have a ‘next trip’ planned. Heading back to the UK to stay was a foreign concept – we’d spent longer in Huaraz than almost anywhere these past few years. At the foot of the Blanca, it’d been a good home.
For our guidebook research we’d saved a real treat for last: a return to the Huayhuash, in the company of two fine young bicycling gents, Alex and Nathan.
The boys on day 1. Flights to catch = double stage day = bad idea, when you’re weighed down by food and cyclist-conditioned legs.
The morning sees spirits restored and much whooping from the otherwise quiet camp above Carhuacocha. Never tire of that Yerupaja-Jirishanca view.
Everyone’s second-favourite Austrian and Peru’s most famous Jesus-impersonator discuss whose turn it is to carry the peanut butter.
The clouds roll in, engulfing the peaks. But the lake’s still there, looking mighty fine…
… yet still the glaciers tower overhead. Sending down roaring chutes of snow…
…that have us swinging heads round and staring.
Cresting the pass we’re rewarded with a sneaky view of Siula Grande…
…before being chased down to camp by ominous clouds.
The route over Trapecio Punta is a new one for all.
Glaciers close enough to touch, but we don’t linger.
…leaving Puscanturpa to escort us down to Cuyoc camp.
Previous sky monitorings inform us of the need to beat morning clouds to the pass. We’re soon warmed by the brisk climb to Paso Jurau.
Boom! Morning rays on the east flanks of Yerupaja…
…and shimmering fingers ease their way into the Sarapococha valley.
An hour of, well, just looking, was an hour well spent…
…before crunching down scree…
…into technicolour Quebrada Sarapococha – the arena where Joe Simpson once battled against death.
We descend, to spend an afternoon sheltering from rain, with little to do except look forward to the egg and chips we know will be on offer in Huayllapa the following day.
There is some light entertainment, watching the chaps preparing themselves for reintegration into society. Not every day Messner gets out-bearded, but the judges were unanimous on this occasion.
The chips and egg materialize, accompanied by the Champions League semi-final. Watching Real humble Bayern in a shop in a rustic Cordillera village would’ve fazed us once; but when you’ve watched van Damme films in Tajik yurts, it’s hard to be too surprised these days. An overcast day goes by, then a mountain appears and Pike takes out his camera again.
At Incahuain we’re cheered by the cobradora selling us chilled beer, and dismayed listening to her complaints about other trekkers (the usual suspects). The sun appears…double rainbow*!
Ridges climb out of clouds…
…Jirishanca resplendent in the evening sky…
…and then, to bed.
….to mighty Rondoy, but heavy hearts.
Chow for now; bye bye why-wash. Hasta la proxima!
* We soon learnt this was Austrian for ‘kühl, ja’.
Kr lives! Great news! We’ve been trying to get the phrase to catch on in England…but it hasn’t yet. Maybe if Conchita Sausage came over here again and started using it more people would take note?
Double Rainbow indeed Mr. Kr!
Funny business there Mr. & Mrs. Pike. Had me chuckling away. Can’t wait to get back to the Blanca… I’ve heard there’ll be a guidebook coming out soon. Imagine that!