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Huayhuash : Day 7 The San Antonio pass and the ¨Killer Cattle¨! July 3, 2007

Posted by Jason in climbing, culture, mountaineering, Peru, South America, Travel, trekking.
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 View over to the massife of Siula Grande from the San Antonio Pass

The sun hit our tent early this morning greatfully warming our tent and our bones as we cooked breakfast.

The view in the morning of the enormous mountain Cuyoc 5,550m at the head of the valley was superb as the sun rose.

We left the camp site at 4,500m to climb steeply over a little used pass for more spectacular views.  The trail is not suitable for donkeys so we will meet the arreiro later in the day in the next valley.

We gradually climbed up the scree slopes until a plateau was reached with grass lands and a lake.

We noticed that there were cattle higher up the slopes but as usual took no notice as Peruvian cattle are usually so docile.

Then one of the bulls started taking notice of us, staring at us.

Then he started running down the hill towards us.  Then his mates followed earnestly after him.

This started to get slightly worrying!

Cheryl was fidling with her bag on the floor and I asked her to get up as the cattle began running down the hill towards us!

Beautiful Laguna

One of the bulls got within 15 metres or so and stopped with his mates behind him.  Then he put his head down and began to charge! He stopped again at about 5 metres away, he again put his head down and began to charge! His mates close behind.

Surely this is bullying if ever I saw it!

We picked up stones and began throwing them at the bull and the other cattle.  He came to a hault and shyed away before charging again.  This was getting beyond a joke!

We threw more stones as they charged several times and Cheryl began making loud noises and after throwing several stones started running towards the bull (I always thought she was mad!).

The Bull thankfully backed off, but Chez wasn´t finished yet and continued to run towards the bull brandishing her treki lecki sticks in the air making loud noises and throwing stones.  This was too much for the head bull and his mates and they backed off being content with a staring contest instead!

We briskly walked up the rest of the valley to safety.  We could see the cattle huddled together in a group as if discussing their tactics!  Obviously the ring leader bull was not impressed with the support he got from his fellow conspirators!  

After this excitement we trudged up the final leg of the pass to above 5,050m and managed to see the next valley.

The view was simply amazing.  The snow capped mountains and tumbling glaciers were amazing with the glacial lakes in the valley.  Wow what a view! So worth the steep climb(and being attacked by bulls!)

The peaks of Carnicero 5,960; Sarapo 6,127; Huaraca 5,537m; and Quesillo 5,600m.  So beautiful.

View from San Antonio Pass

We continued down the other side of the pass and finally had lunch above the laguna Jurau below the snow capped peaks.

We chilled out for over an hour and chatted to a local woman hearding her cattle and then we continued down the valley to the campsite where our arreiro Alfonso had just arrived.

We helped put up the tent and chilled out in the sunshine enjoying the warmth before the sun would dissappear.

Only one other tent shared the valley with us that night.

For once as the sun went down and we watched the sky turn its familiar pink, we were able to stay out in the dark as the temperature was just about bearable! 

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