Entries from Peru
This is Mike checking for the last time. The Team finished the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu today and we’re fortunate to see the sunrise over the Citadel from the Sun Gate.
It is always a bit of a culture shock when you have spent 5 days hiking in the remoteness of the Andes and arrive at Machu Picchu where some 3000 people visit each day. Today was a light traffic day and we enjoyed a 2 hour tour of the highlights. The scale and shear amount of earth moved leaves people speechless.
The Team is currently at the hotel and enjoying some rest after a hot shower. They will have tomorrow morning to visit the site before we catch our train back to Cusco via the Urambamba River valley and high plateaus. Our trip will culminate with 1 last day seeing some more Incan sites around Cusco. Thanks for following along and RMI’s next Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is July 2018, come join us!
We are at WinayWayna 8,700’ for the night. Today the Team enjoyed some spectacular views of the high glaciated Andes juxtaposed against the semi-tropical orchids and song birds.
Our campsite is located near an incredible Incan ruin that has a series of 10 fountains and more terracing. The Team has been in awe of the manpower and resources needed to build let alone maintain this network of trails and sites that stretch from Ecuador to Northern Argentina.
Tomorrow morning we will get an early start in hopes of catching the sunrise as we walk into Machu Picchu.
We have not had many blue skies this trip and today was no exception. The morning provided some great views of the glaciated mountains in the distance as we climbed up Warmi Huanusca Pass at 13,600’. The rain set in and would come and go as the Team go closer to the cloud forest after climbing the second pass of the day named Runkurakay 13,022’.
Today we will join a slew of people hiking the Inca Trail, the team has enjoyed the last 4 days in relative solitude. We took in a few Incan ruins and some members continued to document the floral and avian life that this part of the world offers. Some just took in the views provided when the rain would stop and clouds would lift while figuring out a sequence of ascending and descending the wet Incan steps.
Everyone is doing well, resting in their tents at Chaquicocha 9,900’ and looking forward to the ruins at WinayWayna and Machu Picchu in the coming days.
Leaving camp this morning to the sounds of sheep being moved into the high pastures we walked along the Inca canal and eventually down a steep valley. The vegetation began to change and soon we started to see several types of wildflowers and a few different species of hummingbirds. After a few hours we arrived at our first Incan ruin, Inkaracay.
At the village Wayllabamba (10,000’), the famed Inca Trail joins our trekking route for the remainder of the trip. We said our good byes to the horseman as our porter team joined since we are now in the National Park and horses would have difficulty with the trail ahead and destroy the trail itself. The Inca used llamas as pack animals, they do not have hooves, instead their feet are soft pads like a dogs feet thus gentle on the stone trail.
The team is adjusting to the ‘Incan steps’ and resting after a long day. We are camped on a scenic mountain bench called Luluchupampa (12,300’) looking at the valley below, Salkantay in the distance, and the cloud forest all around us. Two more full days of walking brings us to Machu Picchu.
We woke this morning to a snowy camp, after having a wintery mix start around dinner last night. Salkantay was out all day as we hiked through the snow covered trail to Incachiriaska Pass 16,300’. The Team did well despite the altitude and muddy terrain.
We descended down a wide grassy valley and paused often to take in the scenery and soak in the sun after a cold and cloudy day yesterday.
The Team is resting in Pampachuana camp located at 12,800’ among a high rural farming community. Through the valley is an Incan canal that was constructed to straighten out the glacial stream that provides water to the farmers. Tomorrow we join the ‘Inca Trail’ and our horses will leave us as porters join the team for the remainder of the trip.
We packed up and left Cusco at 6 am and headed for the Salkantay trail head near Soraypampa. The drive took us over some high passes and down a very scenic river valley filled with eucalyptus trees and small subsistence farms.
When you describe to people the quality of food we eat on these Treks you get some doubtful looks, seeing is believing. Our Team feasted on guacamole and bread only to be followed by a pumpkin soup and rounded out with a main course of vegetable and cheese stuffed trout. That was only lunch, who knows what is for dinner.
Bellies full we set out into grey skies with a spectacular view of Cerro Salkantay and Humantay. Gradually the glaciers and snow covered faces disappeared in a light rain as we walked into camp, Ichupata at 14,846’.
Rain is coming down quite heavily now, the team is getting warm in their tents and we will check in tomorrow.
This Is Mike, the RMI Machu Picchu group has all arrived with luggage in tow. We had a nice dinner on the main square in Cusco last night after a team meeting and briefing about the Salkantay Trek. Today we went on a tour of the Urabamba Valley to visit the Pisac Market and the amazing stone work at Ollantaytambo. The weather has been great, the team is adjusting to the altitude and excited about beginning the trek tomorrow morning. We will check in from our camp tomorrow evening.
Glad to see you in good spirits! We hope you have a great trek! Love & miss you dad!
Nina & Mom
Posted by: Nina Guenther on 9/5/2017 at 3:43 pm
Amazing to think that just 24 hours ago we were striking our high camp on Alpamayo at 17,500’ in the snow, ice, cold and wind and now we are hiking in T-shirts and shorts past cactus and gorgeous rivers. Back in Base Camp this morning we had a very civilized breakfast of bacon and eggs with lots of strong coffee, loading donkeys and shortly after 9 AM we hit the trail. Chased by clouds and propelled by music the 6 hour hike back to Casha Pompa went by quickly and by mid afternoon we were sitting in a courtyard sweaty, dirty, but happy with a beer in hand. Then a three hour van ride brought us back to Huaraz. After cleaning ourselves up we met for drinks and dinner at the Andino and realized that we are all still on mountain time. Most people are starting dinner around the time we are ready for bed.
Because we didn’t use our weather day we have bought ourselves an extra day here in Huaraz, we will most likely sleep in, slowly re enter the “real world” and wander around town tomorrow. We are all happy to be back.
Thanks for following along
RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the Alpamayo Team
Alpamayo team heading down hill.
As we crawled out of our tents this chilly morning we saw clouds whipping around Alpamayo and throughout the range. Very glad we climbed yesterday. We packed up, had coffee and began our descent by mid morning. Three rappels from the col got us back on the glacier and easy walking back to Moraine Camp. The team did great despite being tired form the efforts of yesterday. At Moraine Camp we took a good long break before shouldering our heavy packs again. We picked our way through the rocks and slabs leading back to Base Camp. Ilario, our base camp cook, was waiting and had individual pizzas for us shortly after rolling in. We are all glad to be back in the land of trees and grass, tired but happy. This afternoon we are organizing gear for the donkeys to haul down tomorrow and resting. Tomorrow we will make the walk all the way to Casha Pompa, and catch our shuttle back to Huaraz.
That’s all for now,
RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the A Team
The team summits Alpamayo!
We had a spectacular climb starting this morning just after midnight. A short walk on the glacier slowly became steeper as we approach the massive wall of ice and snow in front of us. Once we crossed the bergschrund we pointed our headlamps up the runnel but our lights were lost in snow ice and darkness above. We began pitching it out, climbing a full rope length before building an anchor and belaying the second climber up. In this fashion we inch-wormed our way up into the steep snow and ice. The climbing was superb, soft enough to accept the pick of an ice tool but firm enough to support a crampon. We climbed nine of the 12 pitches in the dark, but as we closed in on the summit the sun began rising across the Cordillera Blanca. Truly outstanding views as we celebrated on the summit before making our descent back down the face. Seven full length rappels brought us to the glacier below and then on to our High Camp. Extremely tired but also satisfied the team is eating, drinking, and napping for the rest of the day before making our descent to Base Camp tomorrow.
Thanks for all the support and following along on this incredible expedition.
RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the Alpamayo Team
Congratulations to all of you!!! Spectacular photos.
Posted by: Lisa on 7/24/2017 at 3:01 pm