Friday, October 15, 2010

Laguna de Llaca

We had an awesome day in the Cordillera Blanca today. Part of acclimatization means we go to high places, do some hiking and then come back down. Today,we got a drive along the local backcountry roads all the way into Parque Nacional de Huascaran with Theo, a lovely, knowledgeable driver. The distance is barely 30 km, but it is uphill for most of it and the roads are adventurous (rutted, narrow, rock covered, you get the drift), so it took about 2 hours to get there.
Inga looking kind of small in this
great landscape

What we found when we arrived were amazing vistas of two glacial lagunas and two of the high mountains, called Ranrapalca (6,162 m) and Ocshapalca (5,838 m). Much of the flora, fauna as well as mountains get their names from Quechua, which is the language of the Inca Empire of Peru.

Ocshapalca to the left and Ranrapalca
to the right. It served up the avalanche.
We hiked just over 2 hours up to 4,470 m (14,665 feet) (really, most of that was done by car), and enjoyed an amazingly active glacier, got treated to an avalanche high up on the mountain and watched a few ice climbers practice their skills on the glacier wall. All in all, we saw 9 other people while hiking at the Laguna.

Tomorrow we go camping. We will be at about 3,700 m and have access to high valleys, beautiful lagunas and amazing mountain views (oh, and no car assistance).
(Click on images to view them larger.)

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