rainbow mountain peruYou 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!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 45It’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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 14Beautiful morning to start the hike..

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 46The 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.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru 47Pretty 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!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 22Just trekking along with that backdrop. damn. #Thatviewthough.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 25About 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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 21There’s snow up there!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 20Abandoned huts made out of stone. I’m sure the influx of tourism will be very beneficial to the locals from this area that now have a way to make money on the mountain.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru 19Alpaca along the way!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 18 Rainbow Mountain, Peru 17Look at that guy strutting his stuff. Just workin it.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 16Shake it baby!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 15So tempting to just grab a short walk, but as always I’m determined to go as far as possible without the ride.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 24Seriously SO temping..!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 23Awww, look at that cute baby with mom on the horse. It’s almost like a photo shoot.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 48And another baby on the back!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 12A pack of Alpacka, haha.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 13

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 27Okay 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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 28I even was able to muster up the energy to take a few photos.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 29This was the gallant knight and his steed to save me from my woes and get me a little bit farther up towards the peak.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 4Once 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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 34It 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.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru 36Doing a spin around up here!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 38Glacier. Wonder how long it will take for that to melt because of global warming? A sad thought, but a real one.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 39On the other side, you can see the colors in the mountain, deep reds and such. All around a beautiful place.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 41Standing 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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 3How 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.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 30See ya Rainbow Mountain, it’s been real.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 43On 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!

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 42Hey man! I gave him as much candy as I could find in my pack and after a short break, we continued on.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 11

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 10
Rainbow Mountain, Peru 8Finally, after all that hiking we were back near the road where the buses were parked.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 7These guys had just gotten back from the journey as well and were stopping for a snack in the grass.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru 5Just 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.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru 9Once 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!

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.