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Peru – Cordillera Blanca, un salto en el nube

[Cordillera Blanca, a jump in the cloud]

So here we are volunteering at the foot of the highest, tropical mountain range on the globe. Between preperations and the actual computer classes we got out for a two week solo trip in the remote and rugged northern part of the mesmerizing range. In for some Inca Kola?

The Yurac Yacu education centre (3650m) at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca. Our volunteering grounds of the last month. Nevado Churup (5493m) cliffs the sky.

The dry season seems not to get out of its hibernation this year. It’s cloudy, rainy and it doesn’t cool of in the night. Not even freezing at bivaouc spots at 4500m. With 2 early casualties in early season on Alpamayo, it promises not to be the Peruvian’s best Andean summer.

Flowering lupines at the foot of  Nevado Ulta (5875m). Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Flowering lupines at the foot of Nevado Ulta (5875m). Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

We don’t know what it is up here, but every freakin’ gringo we meet in Huaraz is here for hiking the Santa Cruz trail. While it has it merits, there is so much more to explore, even on short overnight trips. So many empty valleys and forgotten ridges with uninterupted breathtaking views and the lone, friendly Quechua poppin’ up. It’s extreme diverse and easy to go backpacking in the Cordillera Blanca. You’ll be treated with the most incredible alpine scenery, rivaling anything in the Himalayas. Moreover, it’s so accessible, that you’re in the wild and among neck muscle defying peaks within an hour after sipping your coffee at one of the multiple, excellent hangouts in Huaraz. Stretching north along the Callejón de Huaylas you’ll find easy acces into the different west-east carving quebradas (deep carved valleys). Hey ho, let’s go!

I tried to put the trip report into another picture rollercoaster. Enjoy!

There is more picturefun in our flickr set over here.

Sidetracked magazine improved their website and has another article where we contribute. Go have a look!

There is not a single trail build for touristic purposes in the Cordillera Blanca. All of them are Inca or pre-Colombian era and were the only way to cross the range until a couple of decades. Here we are closing in towards Punta Yanayacu pass at 4850m.  Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

There is not a single trail build for touristic purposes in the Cordillera Blanca. All of them are Inca or pre-Colombian era and were the only way to cross the range until a couple of decades. Here we are closing in towards Punta Yanayacu pass at 4850m. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Seccluded biviaouc at 4200m in the Quebrada Matara. Sharp Nevado Ulta (5875m) and ridgy, glaciated Contrahierbas (6036m) rising high above the Quebrada Ulta. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

It is said that if one tears of a leaf of the Tarqoy flower, it will rain. Too much tearing thus, this year. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

It is said that if one tears of a leaf of the Tarqoy flower, it will rain. Too much tearing thus, this year. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

A continuous roar of avalanches spill from the cliffs of Contrahierbas (6036m). Deep down in the valley lies the Andean village of Yanama. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

A continuous roar of avalanches spill from the cliffs of Contrahierbas (6036m). Deep down in the valley lies the Andean village of Yanama. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Leaving the Andean village of Yanama through farming lands towards the Quebrada Huaripampa. The acutal glaciated peaks are hidden in thick clouds, unusual for the time of the year.

Leaving the Andean village of Yanama through farming lands towards the Quebrada Huaripampa. The acutal glaciated peaks are hidden in thick clouds, unusual for the time of the year.

Massive deforestation left the Cordillera Blanca denuded before the range (above 4000m) was put in conservation  through the Huascaran National Park in 1975. Only some patches of the Queñua trees thrive in remote valleys and give the wanderer a feeling on how fairytale it must have been before mr. Human came along. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Massive deforestation left the Cordillera Blanca denuded before the range (above 4000m) was put in conservation through the Huascaran National Park in 1975. Only some patches of the Queñua trees thrive in remote valleys and give the wanderer a feeling on how fairytale it must have been before mr. Human came along. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Conservation, Peruvian style. Gringos pay 65 soles (25US$) National Park fee to the ranger (orange jacket), while locals are allowed to cut vulnerable trees just at the spot. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Conservation, Peruvian style. Gringos pay 65 soles (25US$) National Park fee to the ranger (orange jacket), while locals are allowed to cut vulnerable trees just at the spot. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Snapshot! Chacraraju (6112m) and Piramide (5885m) reveal for a 60-second marvel during breakfast. Quebrada Paria. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Snapshot! Chacraraju (6112m) and Piramide (5885m) reveal for a 60-second marvel during breakfast. Quebrada Paria. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Coming down from Alto de Pucaraju pass (4650m) with the east face of Taulliraju (5830m) touching cloud. Can you spot Katrijn? Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Coming down from Alto de Pucaraju pass (4650m) with the east face of Taulliraju (5830m) touching cloud. Can you spot Katrijn? Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Quechua people roasting a cow's head for supper purposes. Jancapampa. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Quechua people roasting a cow’s head for supper purposes. Jancapampa. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Crossing an unnamed ridge into the remote northern part of the Cordillera Blanca. The multipeak Pucajirca (6046m) absorbs all humidity from the Amazonas. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Crossing an unnamed ridge into the remote northern part of the Cordillera Blanca. The multipeak Pucajirca (6046m) absorbs all humidity from the Amazonas. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Another lonely bivaouc at Laguna Huecracocha, while the Andes awakes. How desolate these wild places are above 4000m, the flora cannot recover, because overgrazing is still a huge ecosystem corrupter, even after almost 40 years of conservation. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Another lonely bivaouc at Laguna Huecracocha, while the Andes awakes. How desolate these wild places are above 4000m, the flora cannot recover, because overgrazing is still a huge ecosystem corrupter, even after almost 40 years of conservation. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Leaving another lonely bivaouc spot at the foot of the north face of Pucajirca (6046m). Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Leaving another lonely bivaouc spot at the foot of the north face of Pucajirca (6046m). Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Alpine splendisism. Azure Laguna Jancarurish is fed by the massive glaciers of Alpamayo (5947m) and Quitaraju (6036m), both out of sight. Santa Cruz Grande (6241m) appears at the right. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Alpine splendisism. Azure Laguna Jancarurish is fed by the massive glaciers of Alpamayo (5947m) and Quitaraju (6036m), both out of sight. Santa Cruz Grande (6241m) appears at the right. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Alpenglow on the perfect pyramid north face of Alpamayo (5947m). The mountain was named “The Most Beautiful Mountain in the World” in 1966 after an international survey among climbers, mountaineers, exploreres and photographers. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Laguna Cullicocha reflects the complete Santa Cruz (6241m) massif. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Laguna Cullicocha reflects the complete Santa Cruz (6241m) massif. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Bivaouc high above the Callejón de Huaylas. Sun sets over the Cordillera Negra, the Blanca's icefree parallel range to the west. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Bivaouc high above the Callejón de Huaylas. Sun sets over the Cordillera Negra, the Blanca’s icefree parallel range to the west. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Dropping down the Callejón de Huaylas towards the village of Hualcayan after spending a week above 4000m. The Cordillera Negra stretching out west. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Dropping down the Callejón de Huaylas towards the village of Hualcayan after spending a week above 4000m. The Cordillera Negra stretching out west. Huascaran National Park. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

Anyone who traveled in Peru surely tried the Inca Kola. The gummy ball flavored soft drink. Yummie! Caraz. Ancash, Peru.

Anyone who traveled in Peru surely tried the Inca Kola. The gummy ball flavored soft drink. Yummie! Caraz. Ancash, Peru.

Colourful Quechua women come down to the valley to sell their crops. Caraz. Ancash, Peru.

Colourful Quechua women come down to the valley to sell their crops. Caraz. Ancash, Peru.

8 responses

  1. debbekes

    Ja lap, daar is Steve weer met zijn fantastische foto’s. :-)

    June 27, 2013 at 17:34

  2. Amai Steve zoals gewoonlijk weeral prachtige foto’s ;)

    June 27, 2013 at 21:02

  3. Beautiful! Shared a link to this on our facebook page.

    June 28, 2013 at 10:12

  4. Peter

    amazing!

    June 28, 2013 at 14:31

  5. Koen

    Just fantastic photographs? I think either Steve’s photographic skills are more improving or the scene is getting better? I think the first! Nicely variated between landscapes and people!

    June 29, 2013 at 02:09

  6. marbelfriend

    jaaaa vint toch… :-) schone wi. We zien jullie int korte terug zekers??

    July 22, 2013 at 14:20

  7. Ik volg jullie al een tijdje, altijd origineel, leerzaam en schitterende fotos. Er valt nog veel te ontdekken in Huascaran. De foto van de vrouwen met de koeie kop vind ik geweldig. Vaya con Dios

    July 26, 2013 at 11:47

  8. Stunning!!!

    September 11, 2013 at 15:16

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