Peru Treks Newsletter
Welcome to PERUVIAN ANDES ADVENTURES NEWSLETTER - December 2012 Edition
Superior Personal Tours in the Peruvian Andes
Specialists in: Trekking, Climbing, Camping, Tours & Adventure
We hope that you have all had a good year and will enjoy receiving our update with news from your friends at Peruvian Andes Adventures in Huaraz.
As we are preparing this newsletter the USA has just been hit along the Eastern coastline by the superstorm “Sandy”. We know that we have many clients who either live or who have family and friends living in this area. Our thoughts are with you and we hope that you, your family & friends are safe.
We had another rewarding season welcoming into Huaraz 65 groups in size from one to fifteen people who enjoyed trekking and / or climbing in the Cordillera Blanca & Huayhuash. Most of these groups were in the high season period of May to September with June & July again being the busiest months. It was our pleasure to help all of you with your trip plans and all our staff take great satisfaction when our guests return home with great memories from their time in Peru and with us.
Cordillera Huayhuash treks from 12 to 15 days were popular this year as was the Alpamayo Base Camp trek 10 days. Pisco, Yanapaccha, Ishinca & Tocllaraju were popular climbing destinations with several clients taking on and being successful with the tougher Chopicalqui & Alpamayo. Huascaran was not in good condition this season with large hanging seracs over the climbing route causing high risk of icefall and several large crevasses. Some Huascaran groups opted to change to the safer option of Chopicalqui but we did have some small groups moving fast and light successfully make the summit of Huascaran.
We had several clients returning for the second, third and even fourth time & we thank them for their loyalty.
A special welcome back again to Ethel and Charlie from Scotland (fourth trek with us) and Verner from Brazil (third trek) who enjoyed the challenging 13 day Alpamayo Full circuit trek, accompanied by their good friends guides Rodolfo and Marco Chiquito and cook Alfonzo.
Alpamayo Trek – great photos thanks to Charlie Thomson
Bob & Mike from Canada; : I wanted to thank you and the all the staff at PAA for a memorable trip on the Cordillera Huayhuash Mini Trek in May. The views were amazing, the hiking breath taking and the weather superb. Mashua, Marco and Cesar did an outstanding job. Cesar's cooking was excellent as expected. This was my second trip with PAA having done the Santa Cruz trek in 2007. You did a fine job booking the rest of our trip to Cusco, Macchu Pichu and then Puerto Maldonado. We also enjoyed the Morales Guesthouse in Huaraz. Johanna took good care of us. I told my friends that your service is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Thanks again.
Susan’s Ishinca Adventure
We had a rare serious injury accident in July when Susan from the USA had the misfortunate to slip on the trail just above Ishinca Base camp, falling badly fracturing her leg, both tibia and base of fibia. It was very unlucky for Susan as she had already successively climbed to the summit of Maparaju and crossed over the passes from Quillquehunca to Cojup and then over Ishinca mountain only to be ‘knocked over” on the way home. The team of guides, cook & porters did an excellent job of initially stabilizing the leg and making a stretcher to carry Susan down to Ishinca Base Camp & Hisao sent in a full team of porters with mountain stretcher to carry Susan back down the Ishinca Valley & return back to Huaraz where she received treatment at the clinic.
Heading down to Ishinca Base Camp, temporary stretcher
Special thanks to our team of Eli, Rolando, Cesar and all our other trek staff on the scene and to Hisao & the team back in Huaraz who handled the situation professionally & with care. Although we are sorry that Susan suffered an accident we are pleased that all the rescue and first aid training provided to our staff in the past was effective.
Thanks also to the other guides and porters from other groups who were staying at base camp and who came to help.
Susan bundled up for the journey down Ishinca Valley, Cesar directing
The most praise is for Susan who although must have been in immense pain, stayed cheerful & courageous through the whole experience from the initial fall to the long trip carrying down Ishinca Valley, road trip to Huaraz, treatment and then the long journey back to Lima & home to the USA. She is an inspiration for all of us.
You rock Susan!
From Susan: Just a note to let you know that we have all arrived safely at home. We will be providing a detailed testimonial about your wonderful trekking and climbing business once we have recovered from our travels. Thank you very much for all of your kindness and help with my injury. Your evacuation process was very impressive, as was your ability to get me directly to the correct doctor once back in Huraraz. I will be having the surgery on Monday afternoon and look forward to a fairly speedy recovery.
All the best, Susan
Thanks to ALL our wonderful loyal staff who all work so hard to make sure that all our clients have the most positive Peruvian trek & climb experience possible. We could not manage without them!
PAA in Ecuador
Our good friends Edmund & Lissy Graf from Germany who Hisao climbed Ishinca, Tocllaraju & Huascaran with in 2006 asked Hisao to organise an expedition in Ecuador for them with the objective of climbing Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. They arrived in Quito with a large group of 16 people and met up with Hisao there. They had an extensive program including some acclimatisation hikes & climbs of Pondoña, Pasochoa and Sinchulahua hills followed by climbing Illiniza Norte before heading of for Cotopaxi and later Chimborazo. Guide colleague Ekaterina and her team in Quito organised the whole program in conjunction with Hisao and did a great job making all the hotel, transport and lodge bookings for the group, as well as providing local guide and porter support.
Hisao says he considers Cotopaxi (5897m) to be medium difficulty with most of the climbing at 45° degree and some sections of 65° snow climbing. The weather on summit day was very bad but most of the group still managed to make the summit.
Guide Hisao taking a break on summit Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi summit – Edmund and Lissy
Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador at 6310m and is a challenging more technical climb. Only eight members of the group wanted to attempt Chimborazo and the others went back to Quito for activities there. Summit day dawned clear but as they approached the summit it became very cloudy and windy. the last 300m to the summit were in very bad conditions but all the group made the summit and were happy to be on the highest mountain in Ecuador. Hisao thinks Chimborazo may be one of the toughest climbs he has done – due partly to the technical climbing conditions but more the weather which seems to be more unstable & severe than weather in the Cordillera Blanca.
Happy Hisao Chimborazo Summit
Clients on Chimborazo (he is still alive!)
The trip was not all climbing though and the team had plenty of time to enjoy local tourist activities and sample delicious food.
Hisao having fun
After the climbing Hisao returned back to Huaraz while the group went on to enjoy a few days relaxing in the thermal resort of Papallacta and then some has a tour in the Galapagos.
A very successful trip – well done Hisao and Ekaterina and her team in Quito
Cusco & Machu Picchu & Touring
Thanks again to our partners in Cusco who do an exceptional job of organising tours and treks in and around Cusco & to Machu Picchu. We had groups trekking the Lares, Salkantay, Inca Trail and Choquequirao routes to Machu Picchu.
PAA Family News:
As usual Hisao spent the busy part of the season in Huaraz, taking care of clients and managing logistics.
In August as it became less busy he was pleased to be able to get out in the mountains and guide some climbs (and lose some weight!).
First he climbed Pisco with a young Canadian couple. Pisco has not changed very much in the last year with most of the climbing on a steady 40° with some sections up to 55° degrees.
There are some “scary” crevasses near the top, but safely negotiated & they made the summit at 06:00am to witness a fantastic sunrise over the Cordillera Blanca.
New Hike / Laguna 69: Hisao’s Pisco clients had energy to spare, so on the last day instead of returning directly from Base Camp to Cebollapampa they took a traverse past Pisco refugio around the bottom of Pisco to Laguna 69. The route is quite hard, initially crossing moraine rock before coming to a nicer path on the grassy hillside with a 600m ascent to reach Laguna 69, but extremely rewarding with stunning close views of Huandoy Three Peaks, Huascaran & Chopicalqui. We will offer this option to future Pisco clients.
After Pisco Hisao headed off to the Ishinca valley (more weight loss) to climb Urus, Ishinca & Tocllaraju with Colin & Steve from the UK and Rolando as assistant guide.
They were lucky to enjoy good weather for the whole trip. Tocllaraju continues to be a challenge to climb, with many steep sections and crevasses.
Hisao is in training again heading to Aconcagua National Park in February to climb Mt. Bonete and Cerro El Plata with Mary from Tasmania.
Little Edmund is growing like a weed & cannot decide if he wants to be a climber or a race car driver.
Eli recovered from his health problems of last year and was able to return to guiding trekking and some climbing trips – back in the mountains where he loves to be. His twins Tatiana and Analie have started primary school and Eli is kept busy in the evenings helping with homework.
Analie & Tatiana – little princesses
Anne stayed at home in New Zealand this year, working from her office there & working on getting fit again following her little accident & broken bones last year.
She has not been lazy though & has enjoyed some fantastic day hiking around the local hills & National Parks with Berne & Karen (regular adventuring visitors to Huaraz) and has also started kayaking again having previously put this passion on hold for a number of years to concentrate on the Peru adventures.
Her family have welcomed the edition of a new baby, little Leo born in May - Anne’s great nephew (she says that makes her sound really old!)
Yovana had her first season working full time as our secretary and client support “all star” in Huaraz.
She was also often in Morales Guesthouse helping out there. Her friendly smile & delightful nature were appreciated by everyone.
She has commenced studying tourism at the Huaraz Institute and continued night classes studying English.
Rodolfo also had another busy year, guiding the whole season full time with us and also helping out in the office with preparations for the coming season.
Wilder & Miguel (Gatito):
Gatito Wilder Alvarado
After spending the last year working in the jungle, we were pleased that both Wilder & Miguel decided to stay in Huaraz & rejoined our team. Miguel led several trek groups and Wilder did a great job with a large group climbing on Vallunaraju, Alpamayo, Yanapccha & Chopicalqui. Welcome back guys!
Josue continues learning his valuable train of carpentry and furniture making. He is presently in Chavin working making furniture for a new high school. He was able to work with us during the season and went out with several climbing groups as a porter, including one group to Huascaran.
Henry is currently in Lima working as an electrical engineer but he will be back in Huaraz for the 2013 trekking season. He guides Spanish speaking trek clients & also helps out as assistant guide with our English speaking trek groups.
Our Lima colleague Paul who many of you will remember meeting at the airport on arrival in Lima has been in Australia with his wife Danith and daughter Maria. Paul received a scholarship and has been studying advanced English and project management in Sydney. No doubt the next clients to meet Paul in Lima will notice an Australian accent!
Paul & Maria at Sydney Harbour
Pauls sister Patty has been guiding Lima City Tours. In October Patty welcomed the arrival of her son Giacomo. Patty will be back guiding city tours in 2013 season.
Welcome to New Staff This Season
We welcome in 2013 two new lovely ladies to the staff:
Ana was in charge of our store and menus, making sure that all groups had great food with quality ingredients sent along on treks & climbing trips. She is also studying to be a trek guide at the Huaraz Institute
Clients from 2011 will remember Mariela from Morales Guesthouse. She has now finished her training to be a primary school teacher and in 2012 was working part time in our office helping with the paperwork and accounting.
Community Project 2012
Peruvian Andes Adventures is continuing its policy of returning some trek profits back into local communities.
Blankets for Children:
Many children living in the mountain regions along our trek routes live in very basic conditions, in small huts with a dirt floor & no heating. We purchased 50 warm thick wool blankets and in January Eli visited Huaripampa, located along the popular Santa Cruz route, to distribute the blankets to the children from the most needy families.
MORE NEW TRIPS FOR PERUVIAN ANDES ADVENTURES
Quillqueyhuanca to Cojup Traverse
For our more adventurous and fit clients we are now offering a spectacular alpine traverse from Quillqueyhuanca Valley over 5100m Chocu Pass into the Cojup Valley (4 days). There is an option climb the non technical peak Huapi (5421m) for an extra challenge. This trek has incredible close high mountain scenery with the route being surrounded by many of the 6000m peaks in the Cordillera Blanca & passes by many high crystal blue lakes.
Trekking to camp Huapi
And for those with more time & energy , they can continue on with climbing Ishinca from the Cojup Valley and down into Ishinca Valley.
Ishinca – photos courtesy Tom Elliot
Local Huaraz News
Huascaran National Park Fees
In 2012 season the National Park changed the period of validity for the park entrance ticket from the previous one month to only 07 days, forcing clients doing longer treks to buy a new ticket each 07 day at US$25 per ticket. There was great protest from all Huaraz agencies about this, especially as they changed the rules with no notification to anyone. They have now settled that the entrance ticket will be valid for 21 days.
The National Park is now requiring all tourists who enter the park to complete and sign an indemnity form exempting the park from all responsibility for any accident, loss or injury while inside the park. We will prepare the paperwork for this and clients can sign the form during the trek briefing to save wasting time at the park entrance.
Cordillera Huayhuash / Entrance to Calinca Valley (Siula Grande Base Camp)
The local community who own the land in Calinca valley this season permitted access to camp to most groups. Extra fees were charged for the privilege and to compensate for the damage caused by many trekking groups with a lot of donkeys to the scarce grazing that there is in the valley for the community’s animals (cattle, horses and sheep). Unfortunately there are some groups who refuse to pay the reasonable camping fee and who also leave behind their rubbish at campsites and who put at risk the entitlement for the majority of responsible trekkers to camp in the Calinca Valley and enjoy the spectacular surroundings.
House Of Guides News:
The Peruvian Mountain Guides Association is currently running assessments courses for accreditation to become a fully UIAGM Certified mountain guide or Aspirant Guide. Participants spend 45 days in on the mountains being assessed on their climbing and rescue techniques.
Santa Cruz Valley Landslide
Early 2012 a massive landslide and flood washed away much of the Santa Cruz Trek trail on the first day from Cashapampa to Llamacorral. The landslide started at Laguna Artesoncocha, located at the foot of Mount Arteson and washed flood waters and debris all the way down the Santa Cruz Valley to Cashapampa. This section of the Santa Cruz trail is enclosed in a tight canyon next to the river and the tremendous force of the water & debris flooding down the river through the narrow canyon washed away the trail. Fortunately no one was inured but many of the local campesinos cows and donkeys were lost. Luckily the landslide occurred during low season for trekking and there were no tourists on the trail. If it had happened in high season there certainly would have been casualties. No one knows what was the cause of the landslide – it appears that there was either an avalanche into the Laguna causing the moraine walls of the Laguna to break, or maybe it was simply the volume of rain during the rainy season cause the lake level to rise and put pressure on the lake moraine wall.
The National Park refused to contribute to the cost of restoring the trekking trail, even though the Santa Cruz trek is inside the National Park and tourists must pay US$25 park fee to enter, leaving it to the local donkey drivers and villagers with help from some Huaraz agencies to carry out repairs. The trail was reopened in May.
There is now a fee of US$5 per person payable at the entrance of the trek to help recover the costs of repairs.
The Huaraz Telegraph
The Huaraz Telegragh, is a new newspaper written in English now being produced in the city of Huaraz thanks to the initiative of Rex Broekman an English teacher at the UNASAM language school. The innovative media covers educational issues and Ancash region attractions for visitors arriving to the Callejon de Huaylas Valley. The newspaper comes out every two months free of charge and will help with some good information in English to the hundreds of tourists visiting Huaraz and the Callejon de Huaylas Valley. On the other hand Huaraz students will benefit from this newspaper to practice their English.
Carhuaz to Chacas Road
The Regional Government of Ancash is continuing with massive projects in paving local roads to give better and quicker access to some of the valleys of the Cordillera Blanca. Those of you who have traveled over some of these roads will remember the “hair raising” journeys on steep windy dirt roads filled with pot holes. Major reconstruction is taking place on the road connecting the Callejon de Huaylas valley with the Callejon de Conchucos. The first part of the project started last year from Carhuaz to Punta Olimpica pass at 4900m and it includes the construction of the highest Trans-Andean tunnel. The project section Carhuaz – Chacas – San Luis is 65% complete so far.
This is one of the most important road links between the two valleys and the social and economic importance of this new road is significant. It will strengthen trade and tourism benefiting more than 200,000 people who live in the area improving their quality of life and will open new trekking and climbing routes for visitors.
Yungay – Llanganuco Lakes – Portachuelo Pass – Yanama Road
Also works of road improvement between the towns of Yungay and Yanama has started. This road is very well used by Peruvians and visitors from all over the world visiting the very famous and popular trekking and climbing circuits withi the Cordillera Blanca range including the famous Llangnuco Lakes, Lake 69, Pisco, Yanapaccha and Chopicalqui mountains and the popular short trekking circuit of Santa Cruz.
Catac – Tunnel de Cahuish – Chavin – San Marcos – Huari Road
The Regional Government of Ancash has finished with the road rehabilitation work on the road Catac to Tunnel de Cahuish. On the other side of the tunnel the section of Tunnel de Cahuish – Chavin – San Marcos – Huari works has been stopped leaving the road in bad condition and making travel through to Chavin De Huantar and San Marco difficult. Local Regional Councils in each department are responsible for paying roading costs (even on major national tourist routes) and political fighting between different councils around the Chavin area means that no agreement has been reached to improve the road and it may be allowed to continue to deteriorate. From our view this is a sad situation as the complex of Chavin De Huantar is an major tourist attraction known throughout the world and the state of the road may eventually prevent tourist travel to that area.
Two USA climbers killed on Nevado Palcaraju
In July two very experienced USA mountaineers Gil Weiss (29) and Ben Horne (32) were tragically killed while descending following a successful summiting of Palcaraju. No one witnessed the accident, but it is believed they fell some 300m from a ridge. Their bodies were discovered roped together several days later by a search party organised by Ted Alexander of Skyline Adventures. It was a sad time for us as we had a group in the area preparing to climb Palcaraju at the time of the discovery of the bodies. All the group were affected & saddened by the tragedy and returned back to Huaraz.
Taken from an article in Global Post (USA) written August 2012.
We feel that this article published in August in the USA is very appropriate and highlights the issues with lack of controls and unauthorised & unprofessional agencies and guides operating out of Huaraz
LIMA, Peru — By all accounts, Ben Horne and Gil Weiss were experienced mountaineers. They understood perfectly the risks inherent in the sport they loved.
The bodies of the two Americans, still roped together, were discovered over the weekend below Palcaraju West, a remote 20,000-foot summit in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca range. They are thought to have been descending after pioneering a new ascent.
Ted Alexander, of guiding company Skyline Adventures, who coordinated the retrieval of their remains, believes a block of ice collapsed beneath one of the pair. “They were just unlucky,” he told GlobalPost.
The same may not be said for many of the less experienced climbers, including novices, thousands of whom visit the Cordillera Blanca, often unwittingly taking even greater risks than more serious climbers.
Many are backpackers on a round-the-world journey, who seize the convenience of the numerous Peruvian high-altitude peaks within easy reach, as little as two hours from the local town, Huaraz.
Unlike Horne and Weiss, they need guides to attempt even the least difficult summits — and they are at the mercy of unregulated local mountaineering agencies that typically compete on price rather than safety.
No comprehensive accident statistics are available. Accident reports are rarely written up in Peru. But many of the more reputable guides working in the area warn that cowboy operators routinely risk unnecessary injuries, including fatalities.
“I have seen plenty of what I would call grossly inept guides, people I wouldn’t let walk my dog nevermind take me up a mountain,” added Alexander. “I am always surprised by how few accidents there are.”
On one of my own trips to Huaraz (says the author), my agency sent two climbing novices with me up a 19,000-foot mountain without helmets — a must not just to protect from falls but also the much more common danger of falling rocks, ice and gear from climbers higher up.
Mercifully perhaps, neither came close to the summit. Both were bitter that the agency had not suggested a more realistic objective for them.
Ecuadorian mountain guide Ignacio Espinsoa, who spends the May-September high season working in the Cordillera Blanca, believes media portrayals of the range’s supposed dangers are wide of the mark.
“All mountains are dangerous. What is notable about the Cordillera Blanca is not its altitude or technical routes, although they both exist, but how accessible it is, and how many people attempt to climb here,” he told GlobalPost. “To get on a 20,000-foot peak in most other places, you have to trek for days.”
Espinosa, who witnessed various guides without basic skills the previous week on 22,205-foot Huascaran, Peru’s highest peak, added that clients should ensure that their guides have a current credential from the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations, the profession’s gold standard.
Even then, Espinosa stressed, a client should feel comfortable with the guide and trust in his or her experience, judgment and ability to handle a crisis.
But ultimately, whatever their level, all climbers need to be comfortable with the fact that the activity that they love — and in many cases comes to define them — is probably matched in mortality only by base-jumping and spelunking.
Indeed, experiencing the kind of risks that modernity has reduced to a minimum in most other areas of our lives is one of the many reasons that climbers climb.
11 university students get lost in icy heights of Huaraz
Eleven young people, mostly students from Lima who ventured through the Llanganuco Lakes in the Cordillera Blanca region, were rescued by police High Mountain Rescue. The group were lost two days over 4000 meters high with temperatures -2° C during the night.
Because of the poor experience they had on mountaineering they were not able to find the path and took the wrong route to the glacier were they become desperately lost. Lucky that one of the boys was able to communicate by cell phone to his family in Lima and his parents contacted the Huaraz Police who initiated a search & rescue.
PERUVIAN ANDES ADVENTURES QUALITY OF SERVICE INIATIVES
Maintaining quality of group equipment used, we purchased 16 new international brand client tents for 2012 season.
Trek Double Trek Single
Following suggestions from clients, for 2013 season we will be purchasing new client chairs for use on treks – with back support for extra client comfort. Chairs do need to be sturdy to stand up to the rough treatment they receive being carted around the mountains on the backs of donkeys.
From 2013 season we will be including a thermorest (inflatable) sleeping mattress in the trek price
In August 2012 we successfully undertook our second extensive audit for ISO 9001:2008 quality standards assessment and were issued with certification for a further 12 months.
Following feedback & support from our New Zealand colleagues Adventure Consultants (Alpamayo expeditions)
www.adventureconsultants.com we manufactured 50 “poo tubes” which were be issued for use at high mountain camps for human waste removal from the mountains. Although widely used in climbing areas throughout the world, removal of waste from mountains is a new concept in Peru and Peruvian Andes Adventures will be a leader in the area demonstrating commitment to preserving the environment.
In March we contracted the chef from the well known Club Andino Hotel to run a cook training course which was attended by nine of our trek cooks. They concentrated on learning new recipes for delicious vegetarian meals, and also many gluten and diary free options.
We are currently working on developing our website written in German. Sandra Wolf from Peruline in Lima is doing this work for us. Peruline is a travel agency specializing in organising tours throughout all of Peru and Suth America for German clients and Sandra is the manager of the Lima office.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
FROM ALL YOUR FRIENDS AT PERUVIAN ANDES ADVENTURES WE WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2013
Do take care everyone and keep up the adventuring!
The “Team” at Peruvian Andes Adventures