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Saturday, August 3

Dispatches From Peru: Ishinca Valley and Vallunaraju

Que tal amigos!! (what's up friends)

There is much to share since the last update! I'm going to try my best for brevity with this post because a: we're going to be back in the states in a day and b: I'm writing this whilst sitting on the side of a street in Lima looking rather homeless (it's quite amusing the looks one gets huddling on a sidewalk wrapped in technical gear and surrounded by 300 pounds of luggage).

Our trek back into the Ishinca valley was rather pleasant due in part to the fact that it boasts stunning scenery and also because we had three Burros (donkeys) hauling a large majority of our gear in. At the conclusion of our four hour hike in to base camp we began wondering what our next move was going to be. As was the case several times before, we thought we had an itinerary fleshed out, yet it was once again dashed. The weather was not cooperating as we would have liked, and neither were Jenna's lungs. As a result we decided that Nick and I would climb Nevado Urus while Justin stayed back with Jenna and hopefully gave her some time for her to heal up. 
Base camp in the Ishinca Valley. Tocllaraju is gracing the background of this image.

Our attempt at Urus started at 4:40 in the morning - about the time that my stomach said uh-uh. The beginning part of the climb was very steep and a large portion of my concentration went to keeping my dinner not on the ground in front of me. My stomach eventually cleared up allowing me to enjoy the grandeur around me. We busted onto snow slopes about two thirds of the way up and sailed from there to the summit cone. And by sailed I mean took ten steps then stopped to suck air. At 18,000 feet, Urus is shorter than it's nearby peers but is still by far the largest peak we have ever attempted, and by the time we pushed through the last rock band for the summit, it certainly felt like it.

From below the summit of Urus
A mild headache, one upset stomach and 4 hours later Nick and I were officially the highest we have ever been and on the summit of Urus. We spun around 360 degrees on the tiny summit cone and basked in the majesty around us. We spared little time as we descended (making full use of the glissade where it was possible - glissading is basically a controlled slide on your butt down a snow slope) as we were eager to check on the status of our sick friend. A knee breaking pace down brought us to base camp in a hurry where we found Jenna not much better of than when we departed. After much deliberation we decided that Justin would attempt Urus solo the next day while Nick, Jenna, and I rested.

Beautiful horses we encountered on the way up to the Refugio on Ishinca
After Justin's successful bid at Urus we all discussed our options as a team over a hot meal. With Jenna's lungs not getting any better, the conclusion was drawn that her and Justin would go out the next day with a burro and nick and I would stay another two days and attempt either Ishinca or Tocllaraju. The latter was not coming out of the clouds for us so we settled for the former. As the better looking half of the team departed Ishinca valley for Huaraz, Nick and I headed up in elevation to a refugio (refuge/hut) to get closer to Ishinca mountain. The refugio itself was very nice, yet it was lonely as it was just the two of us staying there. Where was our other half when ya need 'em  to play some cards! We passed the time until eventually it was our shot to bring down Ishinca. The route we chose came at the recommendation of a few Italians we met at base camp a few days before - that being a direct line up the face of the mountain rather than the walk up the Northwest ridge. This climb started much like the last, with an unhappy stomach. Except Nick's was in the same boat. We blamed the powdered soy milk we put in our oatmeal and continued the slog up the moraine to the steep snow that was awaiting us.

Once at the snow/glacier line we stopped, threw on crampons, drew our ice axes brandishing them like swords (ok, perhaps that was a bit dramatic), and roped up. Nick led the first few pitches of steep snow, placing snow pickets where necessary. I led The next couple and after plenty of huffing and puffing (going up this 60 degree snow is tough work!) we found ourselves sitting on yet another summit in the Cordillera Blanca. Around us the giants Tocllaraju and Ranrapalca dominated the skyline. We spent some time on the summit taking pictures and made quick work of the descent (I was in a hurry... I felt another one of those dreaded altitude headaches coming on). We only saw two people the entire day and they were a few scientists working for the American Climber Science program taking readings on the glacier. If you have some time you should check it out, seems like a really cool idea, you can learn more about it here: http://climberscience.wordpress.com/

Nick following up one of the steep snow slopes on the flank of Ishinca
Once back at the refugio we ate lunch, packed and headed for base camp, where we ate once again (our appetites were insatiable!) and crashed for the night. In the morning we loaded up our absurdly large packs and busted our humps back to Pashpa. Before we knew it we were bouncing in a van headed for Huaraz.
The next few days were spent in town and at several rock climbing areas around the Huaraz area. It was during this time that the four of us decided that we would make one final attempt at another mountain - Vallunaraju - and hopefully Jenna would be healthy enough to participate. The route was an audacious one up the North ridge and is seldom traveled. The night before rolled around and the decision was made that Jenna would stay in town, her lungs had not gotten significantly better which was an incredible bummer. The three of us packed up, gorged on some burritos and hit the sack early, our planned 2am wake-up was going to come quick.
A hitchhike out of Antacocha after a day of rock climbing.

The next morning arrived and we found a taxi waiting outside for us. This was one of the closest mountains to Huaraz but the taxi ride still took two hours due to the absolute horrid state of the road. There was a section where we were in first gear for almost an hour! At most times this road appeared (and felt) more akin to a dried river bed than an actual road. Regardless, our taxi driver faithfully got us to the trail and asked what time we would be back to the road so he could meet us there. It was here that the greatest mistake of the trip was made. We unwittingly told him to meet us at 4pm (it was 5am right now, that was plenty of time right?) Oh how we were wrong, oh so wrong.

We left the road and were immediately barraged with a very steep trail that was unrelenting for the greater part of the morning. This part was slow going and intermittently broken up by bathroom stops for Nick and Justin (their bowels were untimely stricken with a certain something that made matters even more interesting - as to what that something was, I'll leave it to the readers imagination : ). Our "trail" to get around to the North ridge was more or less non existent so we made our own and traversed across the rocky mountainside to a notch which required snow and ice gear to surmount. This was followed by a small descent and another traverse across a large talus field. We grossly underestimated how long the journey up to this point would take; altitude simply exacerbated things and made the going even slower. The crux of the climb was now before us, we roped up and once again equipped ourselves with snow and ice gear and began climbing a very steep snow/ice ramp that is used to gain the ridge. We congregate at the base of the steepest section and Justin prepares to fearlessly lead it. As I belay, Nick expertly manages the rope and in a jiffy Justin is calling off belay and belaying Nick and I up the pitch. It was a remarkable climb, incredibly varied (think steep snow, fun ice, and a little bit of rock thrown in there) and over altogether too quickly.

Nick on one of the lower steep snow pitches of the ramp.
From the top of the ramp we picked our way up the ridge carefully avoiding the visible crevasses as best we could. The time was getting late and we were still over an hour from the summit! More steep snow culminated in a small rock wall that was bordered by a sketchy crevasse on one side a a several hundred foot cliff on the other side. Luckily we brought a very small rack of rock protection that we used to aid ourselves through the awkward positions. This short stint burned up a lot of time. At this point it was already past the time we were supposed to meet our taxi driver...oops! One final push put us on the summit of Vallunaraju, the views were nothing short of incredible. We hit it almost perfectly to see the horizon on fire from the setting sun. It was hard to leave this place but the hour was late and we had pressing matters to attend to, namely getting off this mountain alive! Right at the summit we had to do an interesting maneuver which included jumping over a VERY deep crevasse which had a width between three and four feet (don't worry, we were safe about it). We high tailed it down the mountain the whole time wondering if we were going to have a ride. As the sun set, a beautiful blue aura filled the sky and Huaraz could be seen brightly twinkling away below us. It was about this time that Justin was able to send an email from his phone to Jenna to let her know we were still alive and on our way down.
Justy on the summit, preparing to jump the newly opened crevasse!

As we drew to the end of the glacier the path became less discernible, with apparent boot prints scattering in almost every direction. We were rapildly fatiguing and now had no clue where we were supposed to exit the glacier and pick up our trail through the moraine. After more precious time was spent searching Justin found a few cairns below - we were on track again! After resuming the knee-bashing descent we quickly grew suspicious of our trail, it seemed to be taking us away fro the general direction we were supposed to be heading. We stuck with it however because it beat the hell out of the alternative, which was picking our way through the moraine without a clue....in the dark. After what seemed like many spirit crushing hours of descending and traversing away from our endpoint I reached a certain point of desperation and decided to head straight downhill - the road had to be down there somewhere! Sure enough, I came across it not too long after I left the trail. I went ahead on the road (which turned out to be a long, long way) to get our stashed water and see of there was going to be a taxi waiting for us.

Nick leading us down Vallunaraju in the setting sun.
When I got to the refugio where we were supposed to meet our driver I didn't see his car. I met back up with Nick and Justin and shared the news. Together we went back to the refugio and tried to see of we could talk to someone, but alas, it was locked. We sat down in the lot dejected from being on our feet for 17 hours straight (it was now well after 10pm) and not having a ride back to our beds. It was just then that a Peruvian fellow came out of his tent and made small talk with us (all of our Spanish talk was small, incidentally that's what happens when you suck at speaking another language). We told him we missed our taxi and he quickly replied that no, this van right here was waiting for us! He went over to the refugio -apparently the driver was sleeping in there - to fetch him. Our driver didn't look too pleased (it was a different guy than the morning before) but loaded our sorry asses up anyway. He was more than happy when he got double the pay out of us once we were back in town. The only thing that separated us from our beds was that miserable road. The jostling was even worse than before; I was bounced so hard that my entire body left the seat at least 5 times. We got back to Huaraz though, that's all that mattered. Jenna wasn't a happy camper, and for good reason. The proprietor of the place we were staying stayed up and tried contacting us as well. Apparently our original taxi driver was concerned for us and was in contact with both her and Jenna.

While the climb itself was absolutely incredible, our gross underestimate of how long it would take was a huge mistake, one that caused people to worry needlessly for our safety. For that I apologize.

Well, that more or less brings us full circle! So much for brevity eh? Thank you everyone for your support! It was a hell of a trip, one that none of us will ever forget I'm sure. Now that's it's over I'm already anxiously awaiting the next adventure :)

Stay tuned to the blog for a video Nick is currently working on, it's sure to blow my boring blog posts out of the water! Thanks again!

Much love,
The Team

Monday, July 15

Dispatches From Peru: Santa Cruz Trek

As a preface to this next post I would just like to say that I apologize for the mockery to the English language that was my last blog post. A medley of grammatical errors and clumsy sentences was brought to my attention by a certain member of the team, which I must confess was my own fault. A little proof reading can go a long way.

However, I digress. What I really should be writing about is not the lambasting I took from a certain someone (who, I might add, claimed that it sounded as if I wrote that post using English as a second language :) but rather the success of our trek through the Santa Cruz and Hauripampa valleys.

This leg of our journey begins with yet another nauseating encounter with Peruvian public transportation. Our minibus left Huaraz at 7am and didn't roll into Vaqueria (the start of the trek) until a stomach wrenching 4 and a half hours later. I personally enjoyed the ride up insanely switchbacked and steep mountain roads, the decsent, however, certainly tested your stomachs mettle.

A quick baño break and some organizing of gear and we were off. We left Vaqueria behind leaving only our foot prints in the dust. It wouldn't be for another 4 days and 55 kilometers later that we would emerge on the other side.

The first day of the trek was unique compared to the others in the way that we got to see first hand the native peoples that lived deep within the valleys. Their way of life is nothing short of amazing - based almost entirely off the land they tilled and the wares they crafted. It wasn't long, however, until even these settlements were a thing of the past and the only thing on all sides of us was a raw wilderness consisting of rocky, snowy peaks and lush green valleys. And the occasional cow pie. Well, there was kind of a ton poop. Everywhere.

The first night was spent at 3850 meters. One of the main purposes of this trek was to continue the acclimitization process, and that was certainly happening. Almost all of us were suffering to a varying degree from altitude induced headaches, though this wasn't enough to stop Nick from going out for a 40 minute run, even after a full day of bus riding and hiking. Camp was set, dinner was made, and card games were played. This night must be a restful night, for tomorrow is potentially the hardest day of the trek.

They're the cutest 

Day two starts off with some moderate climbing before we take to the switchbacks. Those headaches that we managed to get rid of during the night came back. Justin had a great idea the day before to come up with a scale to rank our headaches, a 1 being barely there and a 10 being a full blown, debilitating migraine. At the point of the steep climbing most of us were sitting around a 1 or 2, some worse, some better. The climb to the high point of the trek brought us to Punta Union. At a whopping 4750 meters (~15,000 feet) it was officially the highest the four of us had ever been on foot. The views at this pass were mind boggling. On either side we could see from whence we came and to where we were headed (the Hauripampa and Santa Cruz valley's respectively). It was at this point that my head felt the worst (duh), but a break for lunch did wonders. Justin whipped up some of the most delicious freeze dried burritos I've ever had, while Nick hauled Moms very nice camera to the top of the pass to capture some stunning photos. The combination of full stomachs and knowing that we were at the top of the trek acted to raise spirits and propel us onward.

Relaxing at Punta Union

We somewhat regrettably left this beautiful place to find the location of our next campsite. A knee-busting descent through a fairly arid region meant we ran short on water supplies for a few miles before our camp.

Camp was erected before the sun disappeared behind the neighboring peaks and thus plunging the valley into darkness. It's amazing how cold it gets once the shadow falls across the valley floor. It goes from comfortable shorts and tee shirt hiking weather to frigid, below freezing temperatures. Dinner is prepped with a surprisingly delicious dessert of cheesecake with Graham cracker crust (though, to be fair, an old boot would taste delicious in the backcountry) and a friendly game of rummy ensues. Nick's come-from-behind win was impressive.

The next morning we are up at 6am, shovelling breakfast into our mouths, breaking down camp, and hitting the trail by 8. The initial objective of the day is to traverse over to a trail that leads up to the Alpamayo base camp. A quick Google search of Alpamayo will shed light on the allure of spending extra time to travel to it. The mountain itself did not fail to please, but the glacially fed lake nearby was also a sight to behold. After some time spent in the area we once again hit the trail, leaving the alpine atmosphere for one that more closely resembled the Gobi desert. The floor of the valley was covered with sand and when combined with the hot sun overhead it made for a unique experience.

The Gobi desert portion of the trek 

A full day of trekking brought us to our last camp site. This one came complete with a concession stand that was run by one of the natives. Jenna, Justin, and I may or may not have splurged some of our soles on junk food... :) After Nick got back from a run (crazy bastard) Justin and I served up dinner and dessert. Another game of Rummy (Justin mopped up) preceded sleepy time.

That was unfortunately the last time we saw our stoves. We left the pots and stoves out right near our tent door every night, unfortunately this time an opportunistic soul absconded with them. The bright side? It was the last day of the trek and we really didn't need them (a very courteous couple we had been leap frogging the entire trek lent us a stove for tea). The down side? They were both expensive stoves that are imperitive to the success of our future endeavors. And stealing really sucks. Don't do it, it's not cool.

That was fast and away the only negative of the entire trek. That day we spent hiking out and traveling back to Huaraz, which was considerably less scary than the ride to the start. All in all the trek was a great success, I personally felt stronger each and every day.

Today was spent as a rest day in Huaraz. A very productive rest day, however! Bus tickets back to Lima were bought, a stove was rented (and one bought), we bought a ton of groceries, and packed our bags for the coming expedition.

Our last dinner before departure

The plan is to leave tomorrow morning around 8. After much deliberation and a flurry of changing plans, we have settled on heading to the Ishinca Valley. The conditions on one of our initial peaks, Chopicalqui, have not been very conducive to climbing, therefore we have decided to axe both it and Pisco (the other mountain initially planned). The Ishinca Valley has a great range of peaks that vary in difficulty. The plan is to pack for 9 days and make attempts at three mountains: Ishinca, Tocllaraju, and Ranrapalca. Each offer a greater challenge than the last. We are praying for good weather-as of right now it isn't looking the greatest, but mountain weather is as predictable as....something that isn't very predictable.

This will be the last update for a while, hopefully the next will be of good news!

Love Always,

The Team

Wednesday, July 10



Huaraz. The "Chamonix of South America". After a jostling 7 hour bus ride from Lima the four of us roll into town, hurrying off to secure our luggage -which has transformed from large,cumbersome, inanimate, objects into what feels like our children. We are constantly lugging, always worrying about their welfare, incessently checking on their status. It's all for good reason, for the well being of that gear is imperitive if we want to accomplish what we've set out to do in Peru.

The gear is secured.....now what? We decided in Lima that we would stay at a hostel called Jo's Place. It appeared to be reputable, and hey, its name was so easy to pronounce! As we walk up to the curb we are immediately assailed by locals trying to vie for our money in exchange for their taxi services. After beating back several we settle on one that can for our luggage and bodies (barely) and head off to Jo's. The driver is paid his 5 soles (the currency in Peru is the Nuevo sol - the exchange rate is roughly 3 to 1) and we walk into a quaint courtyard filled with exotic looking flora.

We crash and burn for the night, the excitement of being in a different country in a different part of the world finally burning off for the time being.

We plan on staying at least  three  nights in Huaraz which is at 10,000 feet to begin the acclimitization process. Our fist day is spent getting to know the city. The bustling nature of Huaraz makes New York seem like a buddhists Zen garden. It turns out that Peruvians are quite fond of their horns, the air is filled with incessant beeping. Add to this the smells of freshly cooked meats from street vendors and the pungent odor of diesel exhaust and you have a unique atmosphere that is called Huaraz.


Day two in Huaraz finds us heading north to Chancos. As it turns out, the aforementioned diesel exhaust can prove to be quite overwhelming so we elect to ditch the city and head for rural Peru. A 3 sole ride in a "combi" (think passanger van crammed to the max with humans and luggage) followed by a quick taxi puts us near a small cliff that is home to a few rock climbs. This little crag proved to be entertaining, we didn't leave until we had more or less climbed everything it had to offer.

Following our rock climbing adventures we embark on another voyage in search of the chsncos hot springs. We were under the impression that there were natural pools, but it turned out to be more of a spa deal. So instead we found a river framed in by pastures, with the white behemoths of the cordillera Blanca in the background.

The walk back to the village through the Peruvian countryside was a refreshing change to the hectic energy of Huaraz. It was a land of farmers and buildings made of mud bricks.

Rock Climbing at 14,000 feet:

Finally, our last day of acclimitization in the greater Huaraz area was spent at Hatun Machay (pronounced huh-toon muh-chay), or "the rock forest". This rock climbing area is an hour and a half drive from town and has almost 300 routes. The drive to this destination tested ones gastrointestinal integrity almost more than the highly featured rock that we climbed - with the mach speed approach to turns and bumps.

After surviving the drive we were immediately stunned by the beauty of the the rock forest and the surrounding highlands. The greens and yellows of the grasses and the browns of the rock coupled with the brilliant snow covered peaks of the cordillera Negra made for a truly enchanting experience...and we were going to be rock climbing i

n this stunning scene! The rock was amazing, and truly unique. All of us climbed about 5 routes - hey, lunch carried on a little longer than anticipated - most of them amazing. Climbing and hiking around at 14,000 feet (think rock climbing at the summit of Mt. Rainier), provided a great opportunity at furthering the acclimitization process.

The next chapter:

As far as the acclimitization process goes, the next step is the 4 day Santa Cruz trek. This will see us through some of the most beautiful scenery Peru has to offer, not to mentioned we'll be sanwhiched in between the massive peaks of the Blancas - the very mountains we hope to be climbing in the coming weeks.

So stay tuned for fuurther updates!

The Team

Monday, July 8

We Are In Peru... Finally!

Hey everyone, Just dropping a quick note to let you all know that the four of us made it safely (although not exactly smoothly) to Peru! After a slight hiccup in our itinerary (read:missed our flight), we managed to get a flight last night.

 We made the best of the situation and spent some time in the Big Apple with Missy (happy birthday!) and Tyler. After going our separate ways the four of us made sure to get to the airport EXTRA early, which was still a struggle considering we are hauling  300 pounds of  gear  along for the ride.

 As of right now we are waiting in Lima for our bus to Huaraz - slated to depart in about 45 minutes - which will put us merrily on our way to the mountains! Stay tuned for more updates to come!

 With love from Peru,
 The Team

 (Note: sent 16 hours after originally written)    

Friday, July 5

Part 3 - The Journey Makes the Destination Possible

It's the eleventh hour.  We will board our plane in less than a day.  The excitement ensues...

As I reflect on the past year and a half it amazes me how quickly it has passed and yet how much ground we have covered from the inchoate skills of prior memories.

In order to incisively execute a honeymoon of this stature, we began by having a team meeting.

First official team meeting (April 21st, 2012):

-begin learning, or in most of our cases relearning, Spanish
-begin physical conditioning no less than 6 months prior
-schedule a team training once a month or every other month in an effort to learn each other's styles and practice rope skills as a team
-determine and acquire the appropriate vaccinations
-create a mountaineering gear list
-as far as the trek(s) goes, we will be taking two tents (Jenna was very grateful for this decision for many reasons).

Now it was time to make it happen...The year and 2 months that followed proved to be very valuable...

Roping up for the climb (July 1st, 2012):

"Climbing is as close as we can come to flying." - Margaret Young, aviator and alpinist

Rock climbing is one of the preferred activities among the group.  As serious as climbing a sheer cliff can be it is more often a session of making fun of the other in a playful way.

Shanty Cliff, Southern Adirondacks
Practicing the proper technique for relaxing
Out for a hike (November 23rd, 2013)

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe." - Robert W. Service

Some of the best training ground (minus the altitude) resides in NY's back yard, the Adirondacks.  We chose to take a Thanksgiving retreat to Big Slide Mountain and surround each other with laughter and talk of what the next 6 months will bring.
Be prepared for anything
Practicing our trail singing Ms. American Pie style
The Trap Dyke, minus 18F (January 25th, 2013)

"When your feet are cold, cover your head." - Inuit saying

Part of what we tried to focus on was enduring the cold while climbing as a team and coordinating our efforts to safely overcome the quandaries of the challenge (in this case Mt. Colden)

We also learned that a harness is a valuable item to include on the ever expanding gear list :)

The approach
Come on fingers!
Our fearless leader
Traveling safely
3500' view
I'll let this picture speak for itself
Frozen smiles
Training that's worth a thousand pictures (March 23rd, 2013)

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

We wouldn't be where we are today, or at least as well trained, if it weren't for a weekend excursion to the white mountains of NH to spend time with a good friend Jim Gagne.  

In mountaineering it is often the case that the little things will perturb the success of many climbing teams; understanding the effects of altitude on the body; properly communicating to your team when you can't see or hear them; the quickest way to melt snow for drinking and cooking thus saving fuel; avoiding sickness and knowing when to take a break.

Understanding the complete picture is what we set out to do...

Mt. Gear
...and here we have...a properly rigged glacial travel system
Look Ma! No hands! :)
Snow anchors stronger than us all!
The sum is greater than its parts...
The love bird test
Crevasse self rescue training
Smile if you learned something!
Fred Becky (left) and our coach (right, Jim Gagne)
Team meeting at headquarters (June 28th-30th, 2013)

"There are big ships and small ships. But the best ship of all is friendship." - Author Unknown

This is it.  Our last time together before we board the bus out of Troy.  Our objective for the weekend is to thoroughly waste as much time as we can while preparing for the honeymoon of a lifetime.
Thanks for the hats Mark!
We love them...no seriously :)
On belay!

A little route guidance from below
Leading away
Thirsty pup
What next?
Grassy yard travel, revisited one last time...
Route marking wands...check.
Marking gear and drinking beer
Through periods of rather intense indecision we have managed to accomplish all but one of the items on our list: Spanish...Nuestro Espanol es pobre...

To Peru we go!

Friday, June 7

Part 2 - Huarez Awaits

The Team: 4 good friends (Justin, Jenna, Ethan, Nick)
The Occasion?                      ^         ^
                                         |         |
                                    Their honeymoon

The Destination: HuarezPeru

The Activity: Mountaineering
The Date: July 5th, 2013

'Viva el Peru...Carajo!' (Long live Peru...Damn it!)

The Republic of Peru (Population 30.5 million, National dish - Cuy or Guinea Pig) is located in western South America with 1,500 miles of Pacific coastline and occupying an area 5/6th the size of Alaska. The geologic force that perturbs the surface of the Earth in Argentina and Columbia, works its magic especially well in Peru

The longest chain of mountains on Earth, the Andes (4,350 miles), bisects Peru creating three distinct climatic zones. The Western region is predominantly arid (Costa or Coast), the central region is graced with a plethora of nature's skyscrapers (Sierras or Highlands), and Eastern Peru marks the most western section of the Amazon and is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth, boasting over 21,000 species with almost 6,000 of them being endemic (only found in Peru). 

Huarez (waˈɾas, population 120,000) is located in the central western region of Peru (approximately 6 hours north of Lima). 

From our flight to Lima we'll head north to Huarez
In 1970, 90% of Huarez was destroyed by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake.  The international support in rebuilding the city and aiding the displaced and injured was staggering.  Due to these acts of worldly generosity the city was named as the international city of friendship.

Huarez attracts many sports enthusiasts due to the geography surrounding the city.  Among these visiting athletes are climbers and mountaineers. 

Huarez and the Cordilleras
Cordillera Blancas
The mountainous region adjacent the city of Huarez is the Cordillera Blancas contained within Huascaran National Park (established in 1975).  All of the larger peaks within the park are glaciated with sixteen peaks over 6000m (19,685') and seventeen over 5500m (18,044').  
Terminus of a mountainside glacier
Glacial runoff is provides clean water for consumption and irrigation for near and distant valleys in Peru.  Scientists have estimated that 15% of the glacial mass has disappeared due to a changing global climate.
Retreating Glacier and runoff lake
Traveling in such an area requires knowledge of weather, physiological reactions of one's body due to altitude, glacial travel (traveling safely on a rope team), ice and snow climbing, alpine navigation, and mountain camping...It's time to get training...

Where the air gets thin...