The Santa Cruz trek gave such a great impression of the Cordillera Blanca that we just had to see some more of it. And this time from up high...Of the 7 people on the trek, 6 joined for a climb of Vallunaraju, a peak of 5686 meters. It was a two day trip, starting with a drive from Huaraz at 3100 meters to 4400 meters and then a hike up a steep hill to establish camp at 4800 meters. The summit attempt started in the middle of the night and with clouds below and a full moon above, the scenery was nothing less than spectacular!And it was quite a workout. The thin air in combination with snow, heavy boots, crampons and the 5-6 kilos of camera equipment I just couldn't leave behind made me completely exhausted long before we reached the summit. But reached it we did and were rewarded with the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. I have been higher (Kilimanjaro, 5895 meters), but from Vallunaraju the views are much more impressive, surrounded as it is by dozens of other peaks in the Cordillera Blanca.If you like hiking and mountaneering, Huaraz is a place you shouldn't miss. I had heard great things and it still impressed me far beyond my expectations. Click here for the full album.
I am still traveling with Andre and after Vallunaraju we took a nightbus to Lima, then decided to skip a couple of other popular destinations and just fly direct to Cusco. Heading to Macchu Picchu tomorrow, then onwards to Bolivia in a few days. Internet connectivity is probably not as good in Bolivia so updates might be a bit farther apart the next month or so, but I'll do what I can.