Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peru -- The Big City of Huaraz

So I've finished my time in Huayllay and am now hanging in Huaraz in the valley of the Cordillera Blanca. This city is definitely a cool hang and in a beautiful location. The mountains around here are inspiring… I can see why people get so psyched to climb these though for now I think I'll still stick to rock. It's nice to be back in a city with a bit more to offer in terms of internet and food. It was interesting being the only group of gringos in all of Huayllay, but it is also nice to not stand out here as much.

My final days in Huayllay were great and I finished up almost all of the things I wanted to do. I completed a few more cool lines I had cleaned off. The coolest was the pocket project I mentioned in my last post. It clocked in at about V11 and had a really cool sequence. I named it Pickpocket, not because I've had any problem here in Peru yet, but because there are a bunch of bad pockets to choose from and you have to find the sequence that works. I got some good footage. I also did the stand start to another project and called it Wolf under the Sheepskin V11. In some ways, that line was cooler than the Pickpocket. I came agonizingly close to sending this sit start to this line which was really cool and probably would have clocked in around V13. On my last try, I split two tips and fell on the very last hard move. A bit disappointing, but that's how it goes with climbing some times.

The journey from Huayllay to Huaraz was long and enduring, though much worse for Adam because he had a stomach bug the whole way! We started at 7am catching a van from Huayllay to Huaral. This took us from 14,000ft. to almost sea level in the course of 4 1/2 hours. What was amazing was that we pretty much followed a single valley down the whole way: winding dirt roads, big drop offs, cows and sheep in the road, cool old stone walls from many generations past. The river we were following just kept getting bigger and bigger and was beautiful except for the trash along the banks. It seems fairly common here for people and cities to dispose of their trash in the rivers. Bummer. About halfway along the drive, we stopped and picked up a bag from a random guy in the middle of nowhere. About 15 minutes later, we dropped off the bag at a food stand at which point I realized it was filled with fish (troucha). Once in Huaral, we had to wait for about 4 hours to catch another bus to Huaraz. Huaral was a dirty, grimy city with a constant haze of smog, fog, or smoke hanging above. Not really a pleasant stay, but soon enough we were off on the bus to Huaraz. The 6 hour bus ride to Huaraz turned into 7 because we spent an hour parked in the road next to a hairpin turn midway up a windy steep climb. I'm still not exactly sure why we stopped, perhaps we overheated or something else was wrong with the bus. I was thinking we'd just be stranded, but eventually we got going again. We finally arrived in Huaraz around 10:30pm after climbing back up to 10,000ft. Adam and I caught a taxi to the hostel and met up with Sandy and Bayes who had been in Huaraz for a week because Huayllay was too cold and the altitude was making Bayes not sleep well.

We've hooked up with our friend Omar in Huaraz (he lives here), and he's shown us some cool bouldering around here. So far, the best has been repeating a beautiful overhang called the Shining Path V10 that Jason Kehl put up about 7 years ago. To start the problem, you have to stand on bunch of stacked pads so it's a bit arbitrary. I wanted to find a sequence that goes from an obvious crack feature that is right below the problem and you can reach from the ground. Unfortunately, nothing worked out there. However, I did figure out a way to climb in from the left starting on an obvious jug you can reach from the ground. I did the problem from here and it added a few cool moves and made the start a bit less arbitrary. Still, the beauty of this line is the upper section. The full version I climbed still clocks in around V10. Fun line. We've got a few more days in Huaraz so we'll check out a few more areas and then the climbing portion of my trip will be over. I'll head down to Cusco to check out Machu Picchu for a couple days and then it's back to the states. Gonna make the most of my last few days here and will hopefully find some more amazing problems to climb.

Adam on Black Sheep V8

Adam doing the FA of Jump Monkey Jump V11 (I did this one my last day, fun!)

Soft serve on wheels powered by generator.

Me and the shepherd who let us climb near his flock

FA of Pickpocket V11

FA of Counting Sheep V8

Alpaca passing as I get ready to try Thin Air V9

Will I stick the last hard move on the project sit to Wolf under the Sheepskin?

No I will not... Bummer

Rest stop between Huayllay and Huaraz
Gorgeous mountains above Huaraz

Shining Path V10

Omar Rodriguez doing a new problem above Huaraz


  1. visit us in Cusco

  2. Hey Matt its cool to see some people down in Huayally. Its cool to recognize some of the spots in the pictures.
    We tried the pocket problem as well but couldnt do it (pic 68 in the link). But I saw a pic on another blog where sbd. did (cannot find it again).
    Have you been in the bouldefield up the river from your hotspringfield (same side) this was the place we did most stuff.
    Did Axel sent you our topo? If not just conntact me.
    Have a good trip.

  3. Cool that you guys tried the pocket problem. We thought it looked like it had been climbed on. Would be cool to see the other link you mentioned.

    Unfortunately, we didn't get up to the boulders up the river, though they looked great from afar and in the video. Got the guide too and that had tons of good info (though I was already in Huaraz by the time I could download it). Fun trip and would have been nice to have more time there.

  4. Great weather,great boulders looks like you could print your own postcards for this place and i would buy one.
    Great looking area,great climbing.

    Southern Sandstone ,United Kingdom see

  5. Do you have the email of any locals? I will be there Thursday and would love to Boulder all week