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 Peak(s):  Maparaju - 17,550 feet
 Post Date:  06/30/2013 Modified: 02/20/2014
 Date Climbed:   05/25/2013
 Posted By:  Brian C
 Additional Members:   Glen

 Exlporing the Cordillera Blanca - Peru   

Still anticipating a trip report from Pete, I will only post a few photos and the text from what I posted on my website. To see all of the photos (there are a ton!), go to Brian in the Wild or


Exploring the Cordillera Blanca
May 25 - June 13, 2013

Since a near 3 week trip can be a bit hard to piece together, in lieu of a full-blown trip report, I am going to simply transcribe my personal notebook exactly as I wrote it out. Every day I jotted down a mixture of thoughts, bullets and small, poorly-drawn illustrations. There is a very real possibility that none of it will make sense to anybody else, and that it will be filled with grammatical errors, but hey, the photos are all that's really worth sharing anyway.


**All photos are taken by Glen, Pete or myself. Thanks for the great photos guys!**

May 25, 2013 - Day 1

Denver ---> Houston ---> Lima

An early drive w/ Jen led to an early arrival at the airport. After a very short wait, Glen + Pete showed up + we got in line. Check-in was smooth until I realized we each had to pay $70 to check 2 bags. Security was easy + the flight rough, but quick. I told, myself it didn't count as being in Texas as long as I didn't touch the ground. The flight to Lima was good + the seats had nice screens to watch movies on. We landed at about 10:30pm + stood in the customs line for way to long. Fortunatley, we made it in w/out incident but I then pushed "the button" + got us flagged to be re-xrayed. We checked in w/ the taxi 15 min. before the hotel closed. Thankfully, a nice girl let us use her phone to call + let them know. Lima is a mess of people + cars + the cab ride terrifying. Avoiding many accidents we got dropped off in the "dangerous" area that our hotel was in. The hotel was pretty nice and we quickly went to bed as it was 1am.

---> Oh yeah. Our bag fell out of the taxi!

Stopped by police.

May 26, 2013 - Day 2

Lima ---> Huaraz

Having a 9:30am bus to catch, morning came quickly. The hotel had a small breakfast bar + this is when I stopped being Celiac. After a nice breakfast + getting gouged for bottled water, we called for a cab. Traffic was much better on Sunday + Lima looked just as dismal in daylight. The taxi dropped us off in the bus station's gates + we checked + had cafe con leche y Inca Coke. Eli Helmuth showed up + we enjoyed chatting w/ him. Although Pete had gotten a seat further back, Glen + I sat in the front of the 2nd level. We had a large window too! The drive through Lima was depressing as it took an hour or more to drive through the slums. Glen calls is shanty town + it seems odd that 10,000,000 people live here. The city finally relaxed to an exposed road over the ocean + into a barren waste land. Hours were spent driving this dismal terrain. Hills brought vegetation + the road moved steeply upward. As we gained 13,000 feet the terrain became lush + small villages dotted the roadside. Dogs, pigs, donkeys, alpaca, sheep + chickens were everywhere + people in traditional dress sat outside their houses. Cresting onto a high plateau, the Blanca came into view. The mountains are HUGE + we're already at 13,000 feet, We made it Huaraz + walked to our "hotel". We had to knock + wake up an old lady to check us in.

Talked to Jen. Got dinner + settled in early.

Glen doesn't feel well.

Day 3 - May 27, 2013


The door on our room sucks + wakes everybody up every time it opens. SLept in until about 9 when ambient noise becomes too much. Back to Cafe Andino for good food and coffee.

Lost + found first aid kit
Crazy stinky market
Perfume TP = Butt Itch
No flush
Backalley bamboo shop
Avy on Alpamayo kills 2

We had a list of groceries + took a cab to Skyline. Jen was nice + we ordered pickets to be made from a "glass shop". The market was filled w. people, dogs, dead animals + smelled terrible. Bought bamboo from people in a narrow/dark alley. Walked down a rubble filled street + bought 2 mantas. Tomorrow will be Laguna Churup to acclimatize. Weather has been weird + is "not normal".

May 18, 13 - Day 4

Huaraz Laguna Churup

Door strikes again much to Glen's dismay. Pooped for first real time since being here + actually took a warm shower. Weird washing in poison sewer water + washing hair w/ bar of soap.

Laguna Churup + Churupina -->15,000 feet
Walk through rural Peru

After we had cafe y desayuno, we got a taxi to take us to Pitek for the Laguna Churup TH at ≈12,500 feet. We drove through very rural Peru + thought the taxi would be destroyed on the rugged road. It got too rough right before the TH + he he dropped us off + backed down the road. We checked into the park + booked it up to Laguna Churup at 4450m or 14,600 feet. Higher than any mountain in the 48 states. The color was astounding + Churup loomed overhead. We skirted the lake + hiked to Churupina at 4600m or 15,092'. Thin air for sure, we'll see how I do at 17,800' tomorrow! We hiked down through a animal trail/foot path + walked through tiny villages who seemed surprised to see us. The locals were all very nice + asked where we're walking. No rabid dogs today. Glen was concerned. We finally ran into a collectivo + rode it down. By the time we were in Huaraz, we were packed in like sardines. The picket lady didn't have them done, stupid.

Day 5 - May 29, 2013

Huaraz Huarapasca

Puya Raimondii plants
Vicuña - National Animal Manuel

Day 8 - June 1, 2013


Woke up at 3am to eat nice breakfast + cafe. Started up the trail at 3:45 and somehow managed to find the hard-to-follow path up valley. The slopes reared up + we slowly gained elevation up the ruthless path. Shortly after dawn, we roped up + set foot on the glacier. Glen went up to his knee in a crevasse + I led up a new path on good + bad snow. We followed ≈45-50° slopes up between monstrous crevasses + one was so large I had to find another way. A nice plateau led to more uphill + the hot sun had me worried about snow conditions. Cayesh is a fearsome peak nearby + we huffed slowly upward + the clouds began to descend. We summited in the clouds + quickly went down. The snow was too soft + I was sinking into what I thought to be a large crevasse at one point. Other than a brief whiteout + constantly knocking knocking snow off the crampons, the descent uneventful. I took a short fall + quickly self arrested. The dirt hill down steep + glad to miss the large party coming up.
First up to summit this season?

Day 9 - June 2, 2013

Maparaju BC Lag. Tullpacocha

Stinging nettles
Cranky cows
Puking Pete
Shit weather

Decided on a rest day + hike to unpronounceable lake. Pete puking last night + diarrhea this morning. Used all the TP. Hike to lake beautiful + 6000M peaks + ice fields above. Rain moved in for hike out + aggressive cows needed rocks thrown at them. Very easy day!
Watched large group climb Maparaju from camp.
Took "portraits". Haha.
Saw avalanche.

I think I'm still in Peru.

Day 10 - June 3, 2013

Maparaju BC ---> Huamasharju BC

Packed up + headed out. Talked to Israeli girl + passed Swiss team. Sounds like lots of failure on Maparaju. We were supposed to camp at the gate but "el Presidente" happened to be there + we kept going. Hiked through very rural terrain w/ many sheep herders watching us carefully. Set up camp at about 13,700' near cool boulders. Spent time bouldering + Pete hurt his hand. I'm feeling a bit off today as well.

Windy! + Cold!
Cool dogs followed us.
Lunch in meadow.
Manuel likes it here.
My butt itches.
I want Manuel's park ranger vest.

Crossed a bridge made of sticks + mud that moved when on it.

Day 11 - June 4, 2013

Huamasharju BC ---> Adv. BC

Not feeling well today. Neither is Glen. I was awake almost all night. Hopefully this clears up. Moved camp up toward lake at ≈4,500M. Burros had to negotiate some tricky terrain to get up here. After lunch will scout approach to lake. Starting to feel like a nomad. Stomach still iffy but stable. Hike to lake is steep but short. Huamasharju is an impressive peak.

I wish I felt better. Will stay in AM if I still feel bad.

The weather is still weird. Looks to be raining on both sides of us.


Señors carrying burlap bags filled w/ medicinal herbs to sell in Huaraz at the market.

Day 12 - June 5, 2013

Glen + Pete climb Huamasharju
Me - Rest + Laguna

Woke up early + still have head/stomach ache. Glen + Pete headed out. I slept finally + watched Pete + Glen climb to summit. Winds + clouds + cold at lake. Glen's polarizer is cracked!! Hope it's not my fault. Back at camp hanging out w/ Umberto + Manuel + speaking very crappy Spanish. Feeling better. I wonder if it's nerves. Looks like rain again on the way. It'll be nice to shower tomorrow.

This is our 6th day above 13K feet!

What does it mean to "climb" hard but only lead easy?

Pete + Glen back + successful. Sounds like quite an experience.

My Ability

Partner's Ability + Motivation

Route Difficulty


TRUST + Confidence
---> Hard to happen w/out trust if pushing limits. Does my partner have rescue skills?

Where/how does a desire to summit affect or intersect a personal skill set or level?

Summit? ---> Experience?


Day 13 - June 6th

Adv. BC ---> Huaraz

After 1 week out back to town. Really looking forward to a shower + bed. It is really beautiful up here though. Camp at ≈14,500' is neat. Temp. variations are unreal. The tent was encased in ice + my Nalgene frozen + now I'm hot in a t-shirt. Hopefully the burros manage the descent ok. Pete's stomach is bothering him. Hike down was quick + short. Said bye to Manuel + baked baked in sun waiting for transport. Had lunch in a beautiful field. Bus thought 3 to pick us up. Oops.
School children walked by seemed very unsure of us. The weather is turning shit. Hopefully we get picked up before it hits. Umberto says it's because of the new moon.

Our ride finally showed up ≈ 4 hours late. We gerry-rigged our stuff on the top + took off. It was the most horrifying experience of my life. I thought we would die. She hit 3 boulders + nearly drove off cliffs many times. We stopped after one collision to make sure the car still worked. I've never been happier to be on the ground.

We are back at La Familia Maze w/ a group of jerks from Boulder. Pompous! Oh well. Pisco Sours!

We saw a rat run into our hotel from the street. I got buzzed + grilled Pete about climbing ethics.

Our driver. Boobs + Blue track suit.
Lumpy butt.

Day 14 - June 7, 2013


Terrible night of sleep. Pete must not feel well as he tossed + turned + got up + down most of the night. No idea how long I was awake but finally gave up + went upstairs for tea. We will meet w/ Ted again at 9 to plot leaving for Yannapacha tomorrow.

Camera fixed
Parade + Fireworks - BOOM!
Packed for Yanna
Cevechi - Glen has gas.
Thai Curry
Pete says he is going to move here.

Walked around markets + Glen wants to buy "something weird". Bought a few things. Ate some Cevechi. I really hope I don't get sick! Packed and went to Chili Heaven. Delicious!

Off to Yanna tomorrow. Glen pretended to be a doctor. Got Valium. Haha.

Saw a crazy parade w/ costumes + dancing + music.

Day 15 - June 8, 2013

Huaraz ---> Yannapacha BC

Annoying Neighbors AAC
Saw Huascaran
Saw Yunguy cemetery
Lied to park asshole
Picked up porters in field
Hiked to 16K' camp
Crazy road
"Weather is kind of...Shit?"
Team goals a bit mis-aligned
"Interesting" day all around. That is all.

No motivation to write. Met French guy.

Day 16 - June 9, 2013

Yannapacha BC FLEAS?

Woke up to shitty weather (wind, rain, snow) + went to sleep. Clouds down all day + only saw mountain for 5 min. German team made attempt + got to a highpoint but not sure if actual summit. We spent time skipping stones + messing around on the glacier. Short + easy ice climbing + wandering crevasse fields trying to find one to "fall in".

Saw a viscacha.

"Jump up + down on it!" - Glen to me.

Day 17 - June 10, 2013

Yannapacha BC ---> Huaraz

Still at 16,000 feet. This is the homestretch. We will go home soon! Woke up to clear skies + freezing temps. The French couple has climbed up ≈40% + now looks to be having trouble skiing down. Who knows. Really looking forward to town + food + drinks! Porters will be here before too long. Pete didn't sleep too well + doesn't feel well. Hopefully we see that little animal again today. Super weird!

"It is too be naked!" - Glen in French accent.

Porters showed up early + enthusiastic. French couple was on wrong route + disappeared into clouds on descent. Pete doesn't feel well + seems a bit moody. He is mad that Glen doesn't want to carry his water-logged non-dry rope. Ride down pleasant but clouds. No mountains. Ate lunch by a pig. Back at Mamma Meza's. Much quieter. Pete threw up + feels better. Mamma thinks we took a towel but did have my jacket.

Glen + I had a great time drinking too much sangria (box) + Pisco Sours. Pete didn't want to join in.
Lots of laughing!

Day 18 - June 11, 2013


Last day in town. Woke up ungodly early + drank tea upstairs. Will pick up laundry today.

Pete likes chocolate milk + does pullups on stairs.

"Tres...ahora...dos!" - Mamma Meza implying we stole her towel.

Bought touristy stuff. Pete still sick so Glen + I went to lunch. Stomach feels a tad weird.
Feeling better after lunch, went back for Pete to buy postcards. Says he feels better but doesn't want to go.
Sat in park + mailed cards + went to Cafe Andino for juice + cafe con leche. Beautiful weather. Town is quiet due to Peru vs. Columbia soccer game.
I think Peru lost. Hung around room for a bit. Stomach still weird so I took Cipro incase of bus illness.
Chili Heaven again! Big travel day tomorrow.

Glen sick mid-dinner. Ran back to hotel + said almost had to use Poop Alley. No bueno.

Day 19 - June 12, 2013

Huaraz ---> Lima ---> Airplane

Woke up early again but slept much better. Stomach still feels pressure but seems better overall. Continued Cipro just incase. Not looking forward to really long bus ride. Was going to call out but internet not working. We are the only people at Mamma Meza's again. Pete didn't sleep well.
Went to Cafe Andino + said bye. They thanked us for spending lots of money. Bus went just fine. Valium made 1st half cruise + the traffic in Lima nutty. We crammed into small taxi for more insane traffic to airport. Check-in was fine + time for food + Pisco Sours. 3 1/2 hours to kill.

Arrive Leave
I have come full circle.

"Texas act annoying. On the most part most Americans are." - Glen

Day 20 - June 13, 2013

Air ---> Houston ---> Denver

Valium kicks ass.
...too bad we're in Texas.

Slept a solid 5 hours on the plane. Watched a bit of "Looper", per Glen's recommendation. Texas is as bad as Lima in ways. Lots of nutty people. Customs was easy + the "officials" actually nice for once.
Pete still doesn't feel well.
Time does not exist here, in a land where timing dictates everything.

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau


  • Comments or Questions
Wyoming Bob

Viscacha + Lomo = Peru     2013-07-01 22:23:34
Enjoyed photos and train of thought that comes with long trip down south, well done.

And can you speak of Benway's niece? PRAY TELL ME SHE IS STILL THERE . . .


Sweet!     2013-07-01 09:31:09
Nice + report + pictures!


A Gastronomic Delight!     2013-07-01 12:49:20
Don't mean derive humor from your misery, Brian, but it was pretty funny to note all the comments about nausea, potty issues, etc. If you go back, remind me me to buy stock in the company that makes Cipro! Sounds like a real adventure, glad you guys returned home safely.


Awesome!     2013-07-03 13:58:21
Well done everyone - way to live life!

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