Peruvian Adventure 5/18/2006-6/28/2006

Steamboat Denver Miami Lima Huaraz Cordillera Blanca Huaraz Lazy Dog and LlacaCordillera Huayhuash Huaraz Lima Miami and home

6/16/2006: Atuscancha (Laguna Vicanga) 14,380 ft:




High Point

15,694 ft

15,830 ft


1,920 ft

10,571 ft


1,860 ft

9,786 ft


Woke at 6 AM to cloudy, but promising skies. After packing camp we started the gradual climb to Portachielo de Huayhuash Paso at 15,700 ft. The promise of sunshine was insincere and as ascended the clouds gradually built and blocked out the sun.

Cant have sun shine every day. Just below Portachielo de Huayhuash Paso at 15,700 ft with a storm moving in


We passed the small village of Matiraqui where three small children with runny noses and coughs calling out carmela, carmela we gave them an orange. The trail traversed along the west shore of Laguna Vicanga about 200 feet above the shore line and then dropped at the outlet of the lake in to a valley where the hot springs and our camp awaited. By the time camp was set up the wind had picked up and granizo (hail) was spitting from the ski. Other than a brief and chilly dip in the 40 degree water of Carhuacocha Lake, I had not bathed in five days and Mo had only managed tent baths, so a little hail, sleet and wind was not going to stop us from a long soak in the hot springs.

At around 5 PM with darkening skis and some nasty weather moving in Mo and I hiked the short distance to the hot springs. We had the pools to ourselves. The water appeared to be crystal clear, about five feet deep and I would estimate around 105 degrees F. Just as we were lowering in to the water the sleet came down in sheets. Thirty minutes late as the granizo and rain continued to fall we found little motivation to get out and get dressed, and what little motivation was melting away.

Atuscancha camp site. Frosty moonscape.


Reality has a way of creeping in at these moments and we gradually committed to the move back to land. You would think that going from 105 degrees to 35 degrees, drying yourself off as vales of sleet and mist wash over you, putting on slightly damp clothing and then walking ten minutes through the dark would be uncomfortable, but with our core temperatures up to about 102 degrees and the call of hunger and the desire for sleep strong, it was relatively easy.

Back in the tent we had just gotten a dry layer of clothing on and hung our wet ones in the vestibule to dry when Quique called us to dinner. Zack cooked up a home made vegetable soup and a tasty rice and carne dish.

Zackaria, our cook and all around great person. Never stopped smiling, was a great cook, spoke only Spanish and Quequa, was a father of two and hoped to be a Casa de Guia guide someday.


Later we lay in our tent drifting off to sleep as the rain and sleet continued. Tomorrow we are going over Cuyoc at over 16,000 ft so are praying for a sunny day.


6/17/2006: In a meadow below Nevado Cuyoc 14,820 ft:




High Point

16,460 ft

16,460 ft


2,676 ft

13,551 ft


2,136 ft

12,226 ft


We got our sunshine and an absolutely beautiful morning. The lime stone pillars around our camp were cut outs on a blue screen. We let the frost melt and the tents dry before packing up and then headed on our way up Cuyoc.

Breaking camp at Atusconcha


A boot adjustment before the climb, Mo and Quike


Another spectacular hike. We turned the corner on the Huayhuash range and are now heading northwest looking at the opposite side of the range from where we were two days ago. We crossed under the hanging glaciers and seracs of Nevado Cuyoc at 16,400 ft.

The summit of Cuyoc Punta with Nevado Cuyoc in background


We set up camp in Quebrada Cuyoc 3,500 ft below the shear rock face of Nevado Puscanturpa Norte. We have this entire valley and the rest of this sunny day to relax and explore. From our camp we can see the trail that will take us over San Antonio Pass in the morning. We are taking a less traveled route to our next destination and hopefully will have the weather, energy and time to climb Mount San Antonio (16,700 ft) on the way.












Nevado Puscanturpa Norte from camp






















Camp in Quebrada Cuyoc between two

16,000 ft passes. Our tent in foreground, mess

and cook tent in the back

















Peru Adventure Part Two Chapter XIV

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