After driving along the coast for so long and our fun family time in Lima, we were yearning for some good quality mountain time. The Cordillera Blanca is one of the most famous mountain ranges in the Andes and boasts some of the most beautiful snow-capped peaks in the world. After bidding farewell to Sarah’s parents and after much debate, we decided to backtrack the 8 hours to bear witness to the behemoth mountains.The good weather window for hiking, trekking and climbing for this region was coming to a close, so we quickly headed back north. Arriving two days later after a long, but beautiful drive, we met back up with the Swiss duo of Tim and Andrea and quickly planned a multi-day trek through the famous mountains. Parking the van outside the quaint little mountain town of Caraz for a night, we prepared by our adventure by heading to the market. We met a very nice lady in the street selling papas rellenas (fried stuffed mashed potatoes) and picarones (fried pumpkin dough with syrup) that were to die for. We ate our fill and chatted for quite some time. That afternoon, after safely storing the vans and taking an adventurous 1 hour taxi ride to the trail-head, we embarked on a 6-day, 5 night journey on the rarely traveled Cedros trail. It was a beast of a hike with 5 passes, each exceeding 15,500ft with many of the surrounding mountains peaking above 20,000ft.
One of the most famous mountains in the world, Alpamayo, was visible throughout much of the trek.One of the best camp spots we’ve ever visited below Alpamayo with no one else around. Notice the massive breached terminal moraine left behind by the glacier.This picture shows why Alpamayo is famous with its near-perfect pyramid shape. Photos courtesy of Tim and Andrea.
There were even wild horse hanging out in the valleys showing off their stylish hairdos! These mountains proved to be some of the most beautiful and magnificent either of us have had the pleasure to witness.
Despite some rainy afternoon conditions, we were extremely fortunate to have windows of blue skies where we could overcome the grueling passes.
Thanksgiving occurred while we were deep in the backcountry, so we cooked a nice little meal in the tent while it was raining outside and telepathically sent a big happy thanksgiving to all. Before arriving back to civilization, we walked for a few miles through countryside where the residents live simply on farms with stunning views. After a successful trek, we rested for 2 nights in Pomabamba, a small rural mountain town that sees very little tourist traffic. The pace of life here was nice to partake in after the hike, slow and tranquilo. The indigenous clothes were beautiful and we even stumbled upon a very talented man who was sewing elaborate patterns on to traditional skirts.We had plans to follow up the Cedros trek with the more famous Santa Cruz trek, but unfortunately Sarah caught a stomach bug which wore her out and the weather appeared to be changing. Heavy rain and dark skies greeted us for the next few days in the afternoons and in the end we were happy to be out of the high altitudes where snow was beginning to fall.Instead of hiking back, we took an 8 hour bus ride back to Caraz over one of the most impressive mountain passes that is drive-able, Olympic Pass. Despite the rainy and snowy conditions, we still enjoyed the scenic journey. Back safely in Koru, we put our efforts towards some rock climbing where we could climb in the morning before the afternoon rains came. The town of Huaraz is considered the adventure capital of Peru with lifetimes worth of climbing and hiking. Later that day, we met up with another traveling friend named Rene from Italy, and we all headed up to a trail-head for the popular Laguna Churup hike and hoped for good weather. After 2 days of waiting, we finally got a clear morning and were treated with incredible lake and mountain views. Yet again, another stunning vista in the Cordillera Blanca at Laguna Churup. Our next stop brought us to Laguna Antacocha, a beautiful lake with a great climbing flanking one side. A panorama view of the Cordillera Blanca was seen between the storms and the views never got old.After a few days of rock and views, we headed back south towards Lima. Our final climbing spot in the area was Inkawakanka, a roadside area with amazing climbing on otherworldly rock, camping and more incredible views. We spent almost 3 days here enjoying our friend’s company and climbing in the mornings before the rains (everyday starting at 2pm) followed by beers and cards under Rene’s tarp.Following our mountain and climbing adventures, we had plans to make our way to Lima again to do some normal life things like laundry and shopping for hard to find items like a fan for the fridge and various electrical connectors for our dirty van that needed a good wash. Continuing south on the Panamerican Highway, we stopped for the evening in the small beach town of Cerro Azul. The spot was quite the surprise!
Not only were we able to camp for free right next to the beach, but it wasn’t very desert-like compared to the rest of Peruvian beaches we had visited and the water was a few degrees warmer too.
With Tim and Andrea joining us, we all enjoyed the beautiful scenery and nice breaking waves. Hiking to a viewpoint, we were again reminded of the magnitude of ancient coastal civilizations in Peru. We bore witness to remnants of another entire coastal city left unprotected. There appear to be many ancient ruins throughout Peru and unfortunately not all can be protected and preserved or even fully understood.Our next set of plans had us heading inland and into the mountains to the famous Sacred Valley, Cuzco and the one and only Machu Pichu. Our excitement was high as well left the coast; we had always dreamed about visiting this sacred area of Peru. Vamos!