In the Wilderness of the Cordillera Blanca

The bursting clamor of a morning alarm.The race to get to work on time. The honking and screeching of cars. The strain to keep my eyes open. The confining walls of a room or cubical. The endless drone of unwanted frequency within civilization.

It was all gone. Gone in another world behind me. I was surrounded by something else: glacial mirror lakes at the feet of icy granite towers. All I could hear were gentle yet thunderous rivers and the occasional howling wind in a mostly silent wilderness. The surrounding was so overwhelming it was easy to forget my own transient existence.

I managed to reach this state by going on a 4 day trek into the Cordillera Blanca,  a 180km range with the highest number of peaks over 6000m outside of the Himalayas.  It’s also the highest mountain range within a tropical climate. The journey began in the picturesque town of Huaraz situated at 3000m. It was a group of six that went on the expedition: Juha from Finland studying in Buenos Aires, Martine & Pierre from France, Roozvel the guide, Arias the small but barbaric Andean, and myself.

Overall, the trek climbed over 1800m beginning with lush jungle-like foothills. On Day 2, we had an interesting encounter with the river. Juha, Martine, Pierre, and myself found ourselves on the wrong side of the ravine (Quebrada Santa Cruz). Juha and I searched all along the river to find some sort of pass or bridge. All we found were small pebble-stone islands with carcases of donkeys and bulls. Eventually, we decided to try the same and cross the freezing river in our bare feet. Luckily, as a team, we had no problems.

Eventually, on Day 3 we climbed to the Punta Union pass at 4750m. Juha andI climbed a little further to see a full panorama of iconic mountains. Among them were the Taulliraju (pictured above), the Alpamayo (what some consider the most beautiful mountain in the world), and the Artesonraju (pictured to the right). You may or may not recognize it, but it’s believed that the Artesonraju is what the Paramount pictures logo is based on.

Overall, the Cordillera Blanca was an entirely elevating experience (no pun intended). I would recommend Huaraz and the neighboring mountain range as a mandatory stop when visiting Peru, even if only for a day hike. Ciao.

12 thoughts on “In the Wilderness of the Cordillera Blanca

    • Haha, thanks. Altitude sickness was minimal (some dizziness) since I slept at around 10-12k ft for a few nights before and drank tons of water & coca tea.

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