Friday, March 7, 2014

To the Mountain...Again!

One of our beloved Assistants is heading home on Tuesday.  He has always wanted to visit Huaytapallana, the 18,143-foot snowy peak some 45 kilometers behind Huancayo. I've been there, done that, but they needed a guide.  Wisely, Paula came up with excuses not to go.
This was the happy-go-lucky picture at the start of the expedition... (see below).
When we got to the snow, the snowballs flew. 
 The hike began at the parking area at 14,300 feet and the trail turned upward.
We had some luck, as the clouds intermittently parted to give views of the mountains.
The foot of the glacier at 15,350 feet was gained without much difficulty.
Some fresh snowfall covered it, giving an opportunity for 'angeles de nieve' (snow angels), etc.
The Assistant who impelled the trip was seeing snow for the last time for a while.
OK, that was the good part.  As we started down, three of the group insisted on hiking down to the blue-green glacial lake, the trail to which was obvious.  I stupidly allowed the group to split in two, agreeing to meet on the ridge before descending to the car.
That's when the weather turned ugly, with the clouds closing in again, and sleet and snow began to fall. Visibility plummeted, and the temperature dropped.
After an hour of anxious waiting on the ridge, with the time approaching 3:00 PM, worried about darkness, we started down.  I was greatly relieved to hear yells from the wanderers, who had gone by a separate route to the car, and had started up toward the ridge from the other side.
As a reward, everyone ended up exhausted and with bad headaches from the altitude - except for the old guy, me.  We had a debrief on the way down, and decided how we could have done better.
Oh, and just to add insult to injury, my beloved 10+ year-old boots decided to both delaminate on the same hike.  The group accused me of wearing leather flip-flops; the noise was the same.
I'll have to admit, this was eerily reminiscent of dozens and dozens of Scout trips.  Back in the car, warm and dry, everyone fell asleep, leaving me to drive the two hours back down to Huancayo.
We hope that your hikes to glaciers go smoothly.
Dave & Paula


bestgrandkidsever said...

At least you didn't have to call Search & Rescue like our scoutmaster (who shall remain unnamed, but you're related, and it wasn't Alan) on the 50 miler last summer! Kudos to Paula for coming up with excuses! Just reading the altitude gave me a headache!

Patti said...

Sorry about the boots. So glad everyone reconnected!

Lei Carmona Cortes said...

muy buenos recuerdos tengo y nunca se me olvidaran... gracias presidente y hermana henderson