We were at Huaraz, a town located between two ranges of mountains along the Andes (Cordillera Blanca & Cordillera Negra), and everyone’s hiking was being tested. I had already survived Llanganuco and Pastoruri, where i faced the first ever snowstorm of my life. The third and final one was Lake Churup, at nearly 5000m above sea level.
Here’s a few images from the Llanganuco valley, a place that’s breathtakingly gorgeous, even for a cynic like me.
And here’s a few more from the glacier Pastoruri, where i was fortunate (?) enough to brave a snowstorm for a few minutes. I loved it.
Our destination in the distance.
Glorious, glorious valleys.
Shaggadelic in my way. Check out the dreadlocks on the guy, thick as my wrist.
That way to the glacier.
Those were the easy treks. Now back to Lake Churup.
Now this is around the time my final wisdom tooth is popping out of my lower jaw, on the right side. As much as i’m used to the pain, it still hurts like a bitch every time. There’s five of us that undertake this trek, and we don’t need the help of any guide or expert. Parchis was in tears not even halfway up the climb, and only Bob Marley tunes could encourage her to keep walking. Now why they all say you need an expert for this trek, is because halfway up the 4800m peak, there’s a 40m straight face of the cliff, that you have to climb at 90 degrees. A straight face of a mountain. Imagine scaling up an apartment like spiderman. There are vines that you can hang on to, to help hike yourself up. And there are trees and shrubs you can use too. But if your hand slips, your bouncing down a rock face. Dead.
There was a point i almost said ‘fuck this, I’m going home’. But i was guiding two women, cos the other two guys had gone way up ahead. So i couldn’t chicken out. No way. So yeah, i climbed that rock face with my balls in my mouth, along with the brutal motherfucker wisdom tooth. Looking down was NOT an option because i recently discovered i have vertigo.
But eventually we made it, got to the top, and enjoyed the view that was Lake Churup. A mesmerizing water body so high up in the world from the rest of civilization. Once the necessary pics were taken, we climbed the way back down. And for all those who think the way up is hard, the way down is a ball-buster.
Overlooking the rest of the town by now, but we’re only halfway up. Not even halfway up, actually.
I’d bottle that water for all of you to taste. I would.
2nd from left is Andrew. There’s a reason i’m introducing him to you. Also on the extreme left is an Israeli man who learned yoga in my hometown Poona.
A good look of our summit.
It’s raining all over town but up here we’re dry.
Now here’s what happened after we finally got back home, some 6 hours after we undertook this adventure. We noticed Andrew, the 24 year old Swiss boy limp a little bit. Asked him if he was ok, and that’s when he said he was born paralysed on the left side.
Just in case you were looking for inspiration in life…
There was a point during this climb, when i took a mis-step. Suddenly I’m lying on my back on a a 45 degree rock face, slipping inch-by-inch downwards. On my immediate left is a drop, about 800 meters. About five feet to my right, is a vine i can grab, but i must jump. If my hand slips the hold on the vine, free fall. I spent about 7 minutes on that surface, and almost called out to mom.
Eventually i made it out, to do what?
To update this blog, that’s what.
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