Another fab three weeks trekking/climbing courtesy of Val, exploring some of the lesser known locations in the Cordillera Blanca after a humbling few days acclimatising in Quishuar where Val’s LED charity funds the school and the health post (Medics, volunteer!). On arrival in Quishuar, we were welcomed by dancing children strewing flower petals along our path and then serenaded by the young women of the village – everyone in their best traditional dress.
Once on the trek proper, vertiginous passes with gale force winds (I’m talking about you, Gara Gara / Cara Cara) led to plenty of wild campsites with stunning views – the one at the foot of the Nevados Pucahirca and the Safuna Lakes being a particular highlight.
Plenty of Inca ruins en route, culminating with the aqueduct and channels at laguna Cullicocha – with its stunning array of peaks.
Throughout, Val distributed solar lighting units to new recipients and checked that all was well with those who had received lights on previous trips. When you see just how basic life is here, you realise how big a difference having a light must make.
On the upper slopes of Nevado Viscacha (aka Nevado Christina Vegetariana) in the Northern Blanca, Mike and I were trained in how to use crampons and ropes in readiness for our subsequent successful ascent of Nevado Pastoruri (5240m) via its glacier, as we rounded off the trip with three days in the Southern Blanca.
A super group – thank you Dottora Anna, Vegetarian Christine, Pirate Dave and Marathon Mike for your good company, conversation and scrabble / dice / card sharp skills. And muchas gracias to Val, Melky and Antonia, Amner, Augustin and Luis – I’m sure we’ll all forever share those memories of Aguaaaar paraaaaa lavaaaaargh.
February 2015 Update: Read about the trek day by day in Cordillera Blanca: photos and notes.