Sunday, 31 October 2010

Come to Huaraz, It's Fun!

Paz was with me in officers-school in the Israeli army, he decided to make an easy start to his South-American trip, and join a friend already knowing what it's all about. We set to meet in Huaraz because it fit my timetable of a long trip, and Paz could easily arrive from Lima.
Knowing I don't want to be late for Paz's arrival, I got there 6 days early (my count). Paz & I agreed that if I do make it early I'm allowed to do everything except for the famous Huayhuash trek. Knowing I've got 5 days, I went to see some places around the city:
Lake 69:
Huaraz is the first place in South America that staying away from Israelis was just not possible. Every hostel seems like it's over occupied by us. I found a far away hostel thinking it would be better - I was wrong.
Checking out the options (alone or through an agency), I found out it would strangely be cheaper to just take the agency's van. 8 people in the evening turned into 15 the morning after.
We set with the Jaimes (a very Israeli hostel) to leave Huaraz early, we didn't. To complete the delay we also fixed an old spare tire (on our time) on the way - good thing we did, because we also had a flat tire all to our selves.
Arriving late to the trail, we knew we had little time to climb a long and hard way. Even so, we made a very Israeli brunch - Tchina, eggs, salad & Nachle-coffee. We skipped the Nargila due to the height & lack of time.
Some chose not to stop with us, and so we were now 9 on our way up (7 Israelis, one German & one French both amazingly patient to Israelis). Most of the way up I found my self in the same pace of Tal (Israel), Elichay (AKA Dagan, Israel), Julie (France) & Jutta (Germany). The climb was not easy, but we made it to the top in time to make some more coffee & take a bath. The water of this lake/lagoon are somewhere on the top of my list of the coldest waters I've ever bathed in to.
On the way back, I found Jutta as a really nice person to talk to, about everything. Because I'm so good with the ladies, I even had the guts to ask her to spend the next day with me.
A day out with Jutta:
Wilcahuain is an is an archaeological site just 30 minutes away from Huaraz. We took the local transportation, others ride here be bikes. It's a small site, one main building remaining. From there we walked our way down to the ''hot-springs'' of Monterrey. They were not hot at all and I think there was even a part when we both shivered from the cold. At least I picked out very good company.
Ice-Climb to the Vallunaraju:
Dagan said it would be fun! Why not actually?
Waking up, I found out I miscalculated the days with Paz's arrival and he was waiting for me to wake up in the lounge of the hostel. I already payed and couldn't cancel my plans, and so I quickly hugged Paz, told him what there's to do around Huaraz while I'm gone, and was on my way to have some fun.
Tom (AKA Cruz), Dagan (AKA Ha-Katan) & I set off to conquer the summit of that dreadful mountain (5685masl) with Mel, the guide (AKA Gibson). Three days. First for arriving and climbing to the base camp (4700masl) with all our gear. Dagan took the height a bit too personally and started eating backwards. Second day morning, we learned & practiced climbing on the glacier next to the base camp. Using ice gear was new to all of us, and we had our share of fun. We all went to sleep early knowing we have to wake up early (midnight) in order to reach the summit the next day.

Walking on glaciers, all the group has to be tied together, that way, if there's a crack in the glacier covered with snow and someone falls into it - the others get to be pulled in as well. Mel walked first, being an ice-climbing instructor, in Huaraz, he was a lot better acclimatized to the height of the mountain and allowed him self to pull us up to the slops. Frankly, we felt like dogs on a leash.
Asking to stop a lot (because of the fast pace), and because the general pace was too slow, we got to the height of 5600masl at 07:00. Knowing we got less than 100 meters to the top, but we were exhausted and the time was getting late (not good to walk on a warm glacier) - we decided that was that and we had enough.
Descending, as always was easier.

Paz and I reunited. Dagan had an idea (ever since Lake 69) to go to a rock festival in the upcoming weekend. Paz agreed to try the new sport out, and I was excited to try out my abilities on a real wall (after a long time of plastic walls).
Someone once told me perfect depends on the eye of the observer. Well, Hatun-Machay is perfect. For what & for whom? Climbers! Just heaven. Crazy rock-formations, 30-40 meters high, rise up from a grassy area. A brilliant guy from Huaraz had the place arranged with bolts and about 120 courses in all difficulties.
Paz, Dagan & I checked out the easier ones and still had a very good time. I can only imagine what it feels like for a real climber to arrive to such a place.

Still in Huaraz, Paz and I continue to longer and harder tasks. The Santa-Cruz & Huayhuash treks await us.

Tips for Huaraz:
- Lake 69 - most people arrive and make it their first one day trek. The fact is, some don't make it to the top because they are not yet acclimatized. It's an expensive & beautiful place, and I think it's just too bad to miss it. Go there when you know you can.
- Vallunaraju & Ice-Climbing - Hard. Doesn't mean you don't need to try it. It's not for me, but maybe it's your thing.
- Hatun-Machay - Amazing. Go there, if you like climbing or not. If you do plan on climbing, sleep there a night in the camp or in the refugio. The drive is long (2 hours), and that way you get more time for actually climbing.
- Andescamp is an amazing hostel. A good combination between the price, the breakfast and the amazing people running it. Thank you all.

1 comment:

  1. Hostels commonly have self-catering kitchens - helpful for families on a budget as eating out three times a day can be extremely costly.

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