June 26th, 2006

We left at 5am to climb Pastoruri (one of the more tiny peaks at a mere 5,240m / 17,187ft). We had to leave so early as there were protests in the town against something or other and all the roads would be blocked off. Such protests are commonplace in the Andes.

On the journey we stopped at the valley of Pachacoto to see the Puya Raimondi plants. These plants are bizarre looking and thought to be the oldest plant species on the planet. It lives for 100 years and flowers once, dieing immediately afterwards. Nearby were some old rock paintings.
The first few photos show the valley, the Puyas Raymondii and the rock paintings.

We then arrived at Pastoruri. The small base camp is usually bustling with stalls selling mate de coca to cope with the altitude of the impending climb. But due to the protests only one woman made the trip. For the same reason, there were no donkeys or horses to help those having trouble with the climb.
We climbed to the top in about an hour. Annett was having difficulty as she wasn’t breathing as forcefully and excessively as I was telling her she had to. Eventually we did make it to the glacier at the top.

It was not a difficult climb and you need no equipment other than cold weather clothing. On the way down Annett was feeling it, and luckily some horses had arrived. She rode down with me jogging alongside on the path. The horse may just have beat me, but at 5,240m I am happy enough to have been able to jog at all.

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