Friday, 12 November 2010

Enjoy Huayhuash?

Back from the Santa Cruz and in Huaraz, Paz & I met Itai, another familiar face on my journeys. I first met Itai in La Paz, at Shaul's place. Dror went with him on the Rio Verde trek parallel to my voyage down the Pirita river. We also witnessed the Chola-Wrestling together. This time, Itai was gathering a group for our next in plans - Huayhuash trek.
There were already enough people in the group, they all seemed nice, and they were perfectly leaving the next day. The only problem was the agency they picked - I heard only bad things about.
10 Israelis, 1 Czech (AKA Martin), 1 guide (AKA Jesus), 1 assistant (AKA Moises), 1 cook/harriero, 2 horses for 8 days in the Cordillera Huayhuash, Oh well, how bad could it be?
Day 1, Thursday, September 9
Ready on time, we found out a delay in Peru (as usual) is constant and sure as loosing in the lottery. Our good luck continued with a dead van (engine got sick and tired of Israelis, who wouldn't?). So there we all were, eating bread with Avocado & waiting for a miracle to happen. The miracle took us all the way to our campsite - for only 150 $oles.
Sunset was great, tents were up in no-time, and I even got a private tent with Paz! Yummy!
Day 2, Friday, September 10
The next morning we got up way to late (for my regular trekking hours - but I got used to it..), than took our time eating and packing. While in the end of the latter, Jesus thought it would be OK for him to start walking without the group (a thought that followed frequently every day). One hour later, the group had a gap of an hour & a half between the first and the last person.
Reaching the pass and seeing I have enough time, I took Gil with me and we climbed a nearby, more impressive, rocky peak. Climbing back down - we were frowned upon - "crazy" is the term I remember most people used.
Mid-way to the 2nd pass of the day, we ate lunch. Near the second pass, I reunited with Itai (who was brave and strong and got to the 1st pass first as well!), we thought again about how much time we would have to wait until all the group arrived, and so decided to see the area around. The detour was amazing. We got better views of valleys and glaciers. Trying to return back to the pass, it was getting late; So we walked a bit faster and found the trail just as it got dark.
Having a head-torch we were not too worried, but a bit curious to why we haven't seen the guide searching for us?
Closer to camp, we saw lights spread around the area. Turning on my torch we found the worried searchers. Jesus, Moises & the cook were not included in the search. Apparently - Jesus thought we're crazy to go alone, and so we were not worth searching for - it's not his problem! The kind Israelis were worried and so searched alone.
Day 3, Saturday, September 11
New morning, new day. It took only 15 minutes before we couldn't find Itai & Gil. Jesus didn't even realize they were missing until I told him so. Turns out there was a junction 100m out of camp Itai & Gil missed easily.
Later on, same day, coffee break. Itai points at a direction and offers me to join his climb. Once the target is reached the only thing we could think of is why, in god's name, didn't Jesus bring us here? We shouted for the others to join us - they did not regret standing in the most beautiful viewpoint of the 8 days. It took us about half an hour more to take all the possible pictures from the spot.

The view from this day's pass wasn't satisfying enough for Itai & I, and so the adventure continues - we searched for better viewpoints on the ridge.
Day 4, Sunday, September 12
The day starts with a long and easy ascent. Jesus said that we will all just meet up in the camp for lunch. Itai & I were the fastest all day (even though we did take our time). We found ourselves climbing small peaks & ridges just for a slightly better view of the surrounding mountains. Later on we passed by the most amazing lagoon (number one of this trek anyways...), it was a warm day and entering was obligatory.
The camp of day 4 was near hot-springs. We all took a long bath with Mr.Rum by our side. Exiting the baths late, it was cold. We all hung our cloths to dry during the night just to find them in the morning raped with ice (a very beautiful sight).
Day 5, Monday, September 13
Waking up, I felt fine, mid-way up the pass I felt as sick as a dead dog. Without any other option - I mounted a horse. 10 minutes up I found Omry feeling even worse and so gave up my horse. Climbing with the help of my tired legs I also passed Shani (did I forget to mention? She was sick as well...).
After falling asleep on the pass, I was woken up by Moises. Descending, I passed sick-Paz. Lunch was "served" at the end of the descent. Right after eating, Jesus asked: "who's climbing to San-Antonio?" Even though all knew it is a hard climb, only Paz & I conceded. Jesus accompanied us both to camp and left Moises to walk with the rest.
Day 6, Tuesday, September 14
Long story short:
Gil & Hilla spent the night on the mountain, in a snowstorm. Israelis (Paz, Omry & I were too sick..) and Moises were looking for them all night. In the morning, Feeling a lot better I volunteered to run to the nearest village to call the Israeli-embassy. Moises found me 2 hours later in the village and told me Gil & Hilla are fine and found their way down by their own.
Where was Jesus? He spent all night in the village with his family and got notice of the crisis only when I got to the Village.
Moises & I stayed at the village and waited for the rest of the group which arrived, tired & late.
Day 7, Wednesday, September 15
Paz, Shani & Hilla (the sickest), drove off with the investigation police that interviewed us right after breakfast. 7 of us, Israelis, remained.
Mid-day, the pass, Itai was shivering cold. I took the liberty of trying to warm him up. Coffee, clothes & rubbing his back helped but he still was feeling bad.
By the end of the day, Eliran & Hagai were not feeling so well. Spending the night besides Itai (thinking I'm already immunized, I was sick just 24 hours before), I woke up sickest of all.
Day 8, Thursday, September 16
The next day and a half passed slowly and with loads of sufferings. All were feeling bad and getting worse. 2 horses were not enough and sick people had to try and climb with unbearable pain and bathroom breaks.
Mesner (the owner of the company Enjoy-Huayhuash), met us an hour before the end. He gave some of us medicine and promised he will arrive to Huaraz on Monday and get everything fixed.
Back in Huaraz, I was too sick to fight, but all the rest did the best they could. Unlucky for us, the receptionist couldn't do anything but give us 20US$ each for that was what Mesner told her to do. We all decided not to take that money & return the next day to try again (with newly charged powers).
Here I would like to state Ishay, the greatest of friends, who tended me with my needs all through my sickness. Thank you very much!
The story continues...
The Agency was closed every day until Monday. By then, only Omry, Gil & I were left in Huaraz. Mesner was pissed (don't ask me why), we couldn't really talk without him shouting at us (weren't we the victims here?), So we returned to the hostel empty-handed.
After all, it's only money. At least all are well and healthy.

Tips for the Huayhuash:
- Choose an agency carefully. There are a lot of tour-operators in Huaraz, gather information and think a bit before putting your life in some one's hand.
- Detours. There are a lot of them. If walking something you like, keep a lookout for more viewpoints near the main trail.
- Do not register a tour through Enjoy-Huayhuash or any guy named Mesner. Re-opening agencies with different names is common in Peru.


  1. Me and 11 more people did the Huayhuash with : ¨enjoy Huayhuash¨ and it was great !!! We enjoyed every moment and we recommend everybody this agency !!!

  2. Well, Anyone can enjoy a good trip in those views and amazing trails.
    The problem starts when some thing goes wrong. Then, The question is - what is the agency going to do about it?
    Too much was wrong in our case, and the "Enjoy Huayhuash" agency made all the wrong choices. Thus, I don't recommend it.
    No one wants to get lost, stay hungry or get sick during a long trek. This is what would happen if you choose Enjoy Huayhuash.

    FYI: I also don't trust a recommendation coming from an anonymous writer.