You see this picture right here ^? Well it’s a hell of a place to get to, especially if you just climbed to the top of Machu Picchu Montana a few days before this. Otherwise, this hike would probably have been much easier.
If you are in Cusco and have some time then I would definitely suggest this hike. They advertise it everywhere as it just recently opened up to tourism. If you are staying at a hostel you can most likely sign up there. That’s how I booked my tour at the Pariwana hostel. The price is 120 soles which is about $36.00 and it includes the bus ride there and back, breakfast, lunch, and entry for the climb. A pretty good deal if you ask me!
It’s almost a 4-hour drive from Cusco, and very windy. The hike all together takes about 6 hours, 3 hours to the peak and back. It also happens to be much taller than Machu Picchu (which sits at 2,430 m) while this peak stands at 5,020 m / 16,466 ft. DID YOU KNOW: Mount Everest base camp stands at 5361 meters? On this hike you are almost at that hike. Wow.
The mornings are freezing so make sure wear plenty of warm clothing. You’ll be shedding clothes throughout the day but when we stopped for breakfast IT WAS FREEZING. So be prepared.
Pretty much the moment we arrived at the trailhead, we checked our packs and set out on our way. In the beginning, things weren’t so bad you start climbing up the hill slightly, and then it levels out for awhile. Oh P.S. your morning starts at 3am because you have to drive so far to get there. Are you sensing a theme to this trip. Yeah, I barely slept the whole time!
About an hour into the hike you get to the actual “gate” where they ask for the tickets. Our guide had all of ours. Meanwhile, some of the locals walk along the trek with mules to give you a ride if you need it. I decided to hike the whole way.
Okay fine, about a half hour from the final ascent to the peak I seriously thought I was going to pass out. I couldn’t catch my breath, it was hard to breathe, and my legs were burning. Drama queen right? I paid 15 soles ($4) for a half hour ride on the mule and it was worth every penny! When you are sitting there the thin air isn’t nearly as hard on your lungs. It made a world of difference.
I even was able to muster up the energy to take a few photos.
Once I got to this point I could actually see the top and I had a feeling I might have to crawl a little, haha. Pass this area, take a right, and just follow the slippery icy snow slope to the top.
It was stunning, seriously stunning all the way up there. The wind was chilly and a bit strong but I slowly and steadily worked my way to the top.
Doing a spin around up here!
Standing at the peak up here. After a short video and a few pictures I took a few minutes to sit and look out at the land but the lack of oxygen was really getting to me and so it was time to start heading down.
How are these guys hanging out here and eating snacks? There’s barely any oxygen in this spot! I decided to hike down as far as possible before I sat down and fell asleep, I was so tired at this point.
On the decent, I met a really nice guy from Columbia who had the unfortunate business of having his wallet stolen a couple days ago in Cusco. We hiked down together and he spoke broken English while I tried my meager Spanish skills. We kept a similar pace and I was very sore before we even got all the way down but he helped push me through it. Thanks!
Just over that ridge and we were back to the road, thank the lord! There were still quite a few people from my group hiking back down and so I laid down on the bank and promptly fell asleep. I slept so hard I woke up and was drolling all down my face.haha.
Once everyone else got down we boarded the bus and went back down to the same spot we had breakfast and had lunch. Afterwards, we all piled back onto the bus completely exhausted and slept our way back to Cusco. It was an awesome day hike!
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