The Huayhuash Cordillera, The Andes, Peru. 125 Kilometres, 5000metres altitude, 4 donkeys, 1 horse, 1 donkey driver and 1 guide.
Spending 10 days camping in the Andes is no mean feat. The temperatures hit 20c during the day, and can plummet to -15c at night. It can suddenly start snowing, hailing, raining.. or the sun can burn hard, cutting through the atmosphere at the high altitudes. Water comes from the river and all food must be carried by donkey as there are very few people living at this elevation. Oh yes, the altitude. No amount of hot tea can offset the effect of altitude when you spend 8 days camping above 4000 metres.
Huayhaush was made famous by the film Touching the Void, but there is so much more to this trek than seeing the Suila Grande. The hard work is more than rewarding…
By night, the stars shine down on your tents. With no light pollution the only thing that will interrupt your view of the night sky is the view of the glaciers.
We lost count of the number of glaciers that we camped in front of, let alone trekked past during the 10 days.
The ominous sound of avalanches in the distance was a constant reminder that the hills are very much alive.
The few people we did encounter were either sheep or cow herders or farmers. Living at 4000metres means no electricity, little communication with the outside world and a simple but happy life.
The passes reached 5000 metres, where the land was arid, the landscape - almost lunar like - and vicuñas scurried on the distant horizon.. out of view of our lenses.
During the last few days of our trek we descended through vast copper tinged valleys and camped at night under a full moon.
Our wonderful guide Abner with Tipi the horse.
The trek ends in Chiquian, a beautiful mountain village that sees few tourists, sitting at 3500 at the footfills of the Andes.