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Huayhuash : Day 10 Quebrada Huancho to Laguna Jahuacocha July 6, 2007

Posted by Cheryl in climbing, culture, mountaineering, Peru, South America, Travel, trekking, wilderness.
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We woke early this morning, knowing we had a long day ahead and hoping to get away early.  We were up, packed and had the hot water on before the sun hit the tent, which meant it was bitterly cold.  There was an icy wind to make matters worse and our hands were freezing up packing the tent and making sandwiches.

The water was boiled and the eggs were fried, but there was still no sign of Alfonso, which was unusual.  I checked his tent but he wasn´t there.  We´d heard him get up at around 6am to go and fetch the animals which he usually left grazing in the hills high above camp.  Eventually at 8.30am Alfonso appeared over a rise chasing the horse who he´d been looking for for 2 and a half hours!  The horse had done a runner in the night and Alfonso had a difficult job finding him again.  So much for an early start!  Wish I´d stayed in bed for another hour!

We left Alfonso loading up the animals and started the climb to the top of the first pass Punta Tapush.  Once again the scenery was gorgeous.  It was the only time in the entire 11 days that we actually saw any other gringoes on the trail.  They were German and we chatted to them at the top of the pass, but they were heading off into another valley and we didn´t see them again after that.  Leading down from the relatively flat pass were a couple of beautiful turquoise lagoons offset against the reddish brown copper colour of the earth and the Diablo Del Mudo and with its small glaciated peak.

Another beautiful valley with grey slabs of rocks to one side and to the other multi-coloured striations of grass, rock and earth.  The second pass of the day (4,850m) loomed above us and I doubted (incorrectly) that it was only a 300m altitude gain.  At the top of the pass we were once again treated with a beautiful view towards the major peaks of the Central Huayhuash and the views all the way down the valley to Laguna Jahuacocha were beautiful.  We stopped and rested in the last rays of sunshine as the sun dipped below the horizon, but were pleased to find that there was still sunshine over the campsite when we arrived there.  We cracked open the carton of wine we´d picked up in Huayllapa in a small celebration for completing the trek.  The wine must have worked  wonders for our Spanish as we managed to have a quite involved discussion with Alfonso about the changing environment, politics and exploitation of the people of the Huayhuash!

It got very cold again very quickly after the sun had gone down for the last time, so after a quick dinner rounded off with tinned peaches and dulce de leche (yum!) we dived for the tents.  Needless to say, the horse got his front legs tied together tonight so he couldn´t do a disappearing act!

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